Animal Welfare Resources

The MVMA is committed to promoting animal welfare

The Michigan Veterinary Medical Association is committed to promoting animal welfare and the human/animal bond. Our Animal Welfare Committee has made efforts to address animal welfare issues in a variety of ways to help members, legislators and the public become more aware of these issues.

The Committee coordinates animal welfare education sessions for veterinarians, veterinary students, and others interested in animal welfare issues. They write educational articles in The Michigan Veterinarian, participate in national and local animal welfare groups, create animal welfare and animal cruelty resources, and testify on behalf of veterinarians when animal welfare issues are being legislated. They are currently working to develop a plan to further address these issues and better educate veterinarians and the public.

Did you know that MVMA’s Animal Welfare Conference is one of the best in the country? Visit our YouTube Channel to see videos of speaker presentations.

Did You Dress Your Dog for Dinner? MVMA's Animal Welfare Newsletter

September 2014

  • To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate - There is NO Question
  • The Story of Cody
  • How is a Cow Without a Tail NOT Like a Fish Without a Bicycle?

May 2014

  • Did You Dress Your Dog for Dinner?
  • Rabies Vaccinations . . . Not Just for Dogs and Cats!
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside!

The Sticky Welfare Wicket: Articles by MVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee

Little Yellow Who? by Lana Kaiser, MD, DVM
Originally Appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Doc, My Cow Has a Headache by Lana Kaiser, MD, DVM
Originally Appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Don’t Forget the Small Producers by James Kober, DVM
Originally Appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Did you dress your dog for dinner? By Lana Kaiser MD, DVM
Originally Appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

How is a Cow Without a Tail NOT Like a Fish Without a Bicycle? By Lana Kaiser MD, DVM
Originally Appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Thoughts About Animal Well-Being From a Dairy Practitioner By Dr. Robert Vlietstra
Originally Appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Hope’s Story – A Veterinarian from Michigan Sets an Example By Dr. Maria Iliopoulou
Originally Appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Large-Volume Spay/Neuter Facilities By Dr. Cathy Anderson
Originally Appeared in the December 2011-January 2012 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Dog Fighting, Animal Abuse and Desensitization to Violence By Dr. Maria Iliopoulou
Originally Appeared in the December 2011-January 2012 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Current Topics in Equine Animal Welfare By Dr. Jennifer Trippany
Originally Appeared in the August-September 2011 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Cat Euthanasia in Michigan By Dr. Cathy Anderson
Originally Appeared in the June-July 2011 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Swine Well Being and Pork Safety By Dr. James Kober
Originally appeared in the June-July 2011 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

Farm Animal Welfare: Are we willing to rethink how we do things? By Dr. Keith Sterner
Originally appeared in the February-March 2011 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.

What do we need to know? What should we be thinking about? By Dr. Lana Kaiser
Originally appeared in the December 2010-January 2011 issue of The Michigan Veterinarian.


MVMA’s Animal Welfare Resources & Position Statements

MVMA Animal Welfare Principles
MVMA Position Statement on Animal Abuse
MVMA Position Statement on Animal Fighting
MVMA Position Statement on Animal Sentience
MVMA Position Statement on the Use of Animals in Teaching and Research
MVMA Position Statement on Dangerous Dog Legislation
MVMA Position Statement on Ear Cropping and Tail Docking
MVMA Position Statement on the Euthanasia of Dogs and Cats in Animal Shelters
MVMA Position Statement on Spay and Neuter Age

American Veterinary Medical Association

Definition and Animal Welfare Principles

American Animal Hospital Association

Animal Welfare Position Statement

Animal Cruelty Resource Information

Animal Cruelty Statutes - Michigan
Michigan Humane Society Resources for Veterinarians: Reporting Animal Cruelty
ASPCA Resources for Veterinarians: FAQ and Information on Reporting


MVMA Animal Welfare Principles

Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on December 12, 2012

The MVMA supports the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare modified from those originally described by the Brambell Report. Further, the MVMA believes the Five Freedoms form a framework that allows assessment and continuous improvement of animal welfare.

  1. The MVMA supports the humane use of animals for the benefit of society through companionship, food, fiber, therapy, exhibition, work, recreation, research, and education.
  2. The MVMA recognizes the ethical obligation to strive for optimum animal welfare in all situations where animals are used for the benefit of society.
  3. The MVMA promotes humane care and handling of animals through advocacy and education and believes this is a responsibility of the veterinary profession.
  4. The MVMA supports the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare modified from those originally described by the Brambell Report. Further, the MVMA believes the Five Freedoms form a framework that allows assessment and continuous improvement of animal welfare.
    These freedoms are:
    •  Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
    •  Freedom from Discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
    •  Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
    •  Freedom to Express Normal Behavior - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and for social species, company of the animal's own kind.
    •  Freedom from Fear and Distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental and physical suffering.
  5. The MVMA believes medical and surgical practices, and management and husbandry systems should minimize pain, discomfort and distress. This should be accomplished by using current scientific and evidence-based data and expert opinion.
  6. The MVMA recognizes animal welfare requires responsible ownership, skilled animal handling and stockmanship, and when needed, humane and painless death.

MVMA Position Statement on Animal Abuse

Revised by the MVMA Animal Welfare Committee on 8/30/12, Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on 9/27/12

Animal abuse ranges from minor neglect to willful and malicious intent to harm. Animal abuse is often an indicator of other forms of violence and studies have shown that there is a correlation between animal and human abuse. While neglectful acts may be unintentional and related to ignorance or lack of education, intentional forms of animal abuse cannot be tolerated.

Since veterinarians have a responsibility to both animals and the public, and may be the first contact with an abused animal, they should take an active role in detecting, recognizing, preventing, and reporting animal abuse.

The veterinary profession should educate its members to recognize, document and report animal abuse, develop forensic models, discuss legislation concerning reporting by veterinarians, and collaborate with other animal and human welfare groups and professionals within communities to eliminate animal abuse.

MVMA Position Statement on Animal Fighting

Revised by the MVMA Animal Welfare Committee on 8/30/12, Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on 9/27/12

The MVMA condemns animal fighting as defined by Michigan law. MVMA supports strict enforcement of existing law at the felony level. The MVMA encourages veterinarians to recognize the signs of animal fighting and to assist with enforcement and education. When signs of animal fighting exist, MVMA encourages veterinarians to contact the appropriate authorities.

MVMA Position Statement on Animal Sentience

Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on August 4, 2013

The MVMA supports the concept of animals as sentient beings . Animals are conscious and have the ability to feel, perceive and have subjective experiences . The evidence of sentience is supported by biological, medical, behavioral, evolutionary and welfare science. Daily and long term management, husbandry and veterinary care should not only provide for the animals physical needs , but also minimize pain , distress, and suffering. Caretakers should also consider the animal’s social and behavioral needs, and recognize that animals generate responses to external stimuli or triggering situations.

MVMAPosition Statement on the Use of Animals in Teaching and Research

Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on December 12, 2012

The MVMA recognizes that veterinarians have a commitment not only to animal health and welfare, but also to the promotion of public health and advancement of medical knowledge. The MVMA supports the humane and responsible use of animals in education, research, and outreach. Furthermore, the MVMA supports the policies and procedures used by institutional animal use and care committees to assure animals are used judiciously and treated humanely.

The MVMA supports the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare modified from those originally described by the Brambell Report. Further the MVMA believes the Five Freedoms form a framework that allows assessment and continuous improvement of animal welfare. These freedoms are:

  • Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
  • Freedom from Discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom to Express Normal Behavior - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and for social species company of the animal's own kind.
  • Freedom from Fear and Distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental and physical suffering.

The MVMA supports improved identification systems for companion animals designed to prevent their unintentional, unauthorized or illegal use.

The MVMA supports strict enforcement of the regulations addressing the use of animals in education, research and outreach and encourages adequate funding for enforcement of regulations. Furthermore, the MVMA promotes the continued review and modification of these regulations.

MVMA Position Statement on Dangerous Dog Legislation

Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on September 18, 2013

The MVMA supports dangerous dog legislation by state, county, or municipal governments provided that legislation does not refer to specific breeds. The MVMA recognizes that public safety must be a priority and supports dangerous dog legislation. Evidence shows that breed specific legislation does not protect public safety.

MVMA Position Statement on Ear Cropping and Tail Docking

Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on December 12, 2012

The MVMA opposes routine ear cropping or tail docking of dogs for cosmetic reasons. The Michigan Veterinary Medical Association encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards. Veterinarians should counsel and educate dog owners that these procedures are not medically necessary.

MVMA Position Statement on the Euthanasia of Dogs and Cats in Animal Shelters

Unanimously Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on June 5, 2013

The MVMA believes that all animals, including homeless and shelter dogs and cats, should be treated humanely and with dignity and respect and recommends that shelters develop an ongoing relationship with a licensed veterinarian.

Euthanasia should only be performed by trained individuals using commercially manufactured, pre-mixed euthanasia solution. Stress and anxiety should be minimized by the use of pre-euthanasia sedation when necessary and sedatives should be incorporated into the euthanasia protocol.

For adult dogs and cats it is preferred that euthanasia solution should be given intravenously; intraperitoneal injection is acceptable for cats, kittens, and small puppies.

Intra-cardiac injection of euthanasia solution is only acceptable if the animal is unconscious or anesthetized. The use of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide gas for euthanasia of shelter dogs and cats is not acceptable.

MVMA Position Statement on Spay and Neuter Age

Approved by the MVMA Board of Directors on 12/6/06

The MVMA believes that the age for performing ovariohysterectomies or gonadectomies in dogs and cats should be determined by the veterinarian and the pet owner, taking into consideration the health and development of the individual animal, as well as the need to stem the overpopulation problem in these species. Where the number of unwanted animals is the primary concern, the MVMA supports the concept of early (prepubertal, 8 to 16 weeks of age) spay/neuter in dogs and cats.


Michigan Veterinary Medical Association

2144 Commons Parkway
Okemos, MI 48864-3986

517.347.4666

517.347.4710

mvma@michvma.org

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