Effects of participating in the annual Animal Welfare Assessment Contest on veterinary students' self-perceived knowledge of and attitudes toward animal welfare science and their career choices

Cia L. Johnson 1Animal Welfare Division, AVMA, 1931 N Meacham Rd, Ste 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173.

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 DVM, MS, MSC
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Lindsey J. McKinney 1Animal Welfare Division, AVMA, 1931 N Meacham Rd, Ste 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173.

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Emily G. Patterson-Kane 1Animal Welfare Division, AVMA, 1931 N Meacham Rd, Ste 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173.

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 PhD

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the impact of participating in the annual Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (AWJAC) on veterinary students' self-perceived knowledge of and attitudes toward animal welfare science and on participants' career choices.

SAMPLE

46 veterinary students who participated in the AWJAC from 2014 through 2017.

PROCEDURES

The study consisted of 2 parts. In part 1, a survey regarding participation in the AWJAC was emailed to all 138 veterinary students who participated in the contest from 2014 through 2017. In part 2, a self-selected subset of 4 survey respondents were interviewed by telephone regarding their AWJAC experience.

RESULTS

Forty-six of 138 (33%) AWJAC participants responded to the online survey. When respondents were asked to rate the attitudes they held before and after participating in the AWJAC, significant increases were identified for engaging with animal welfare topics in their professional decision-making, making career choices based on their interest in animal welfare, and having their interest in animal welfare shape their professional career choices. Analysis of telephone interview transcripts revealed 3 major themes regarding AWJAC participation: defining animal welfare, the value of networking, and professional preparedness.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that participation in the AWJAC heightened veterinary students' self-perceived awareness of animal welfare science, provided participants an opportunity to expand their professional networks, and prepared participants for entrance into the veterinary profession by enhancing communication and critical thinking skills.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the impact of participating in the annual Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (AWJAC) on veterinary students' self-perceived knowledge of and attitudes toward animal welfare science and on participants' career choices.

SAMPLE

46 veterinary students who participated in the AWJAC from 2014 through 2017.

PROCEDURES

The study consisted of 2 parts. In part 1, a survey regarding participation in the AWJAC was emailed to all 138 veterinary students who participated in the contest from 2014 through 2017. In part 2, a self-selected subset of 4 survey respondents were interviewed by telephone regarding their AWJAC experience.

RESULTS

Forty-six of 138 (33%) AWJAC participants responded to the online survey. When respondents were asked to rate the attitudes they held before and after participating in the AWJAC, significant increases were identified for engaging with animal welfare topics in their professional decision-making, making career choices based on their interest in animal welfare, and having their interest in animal welfare shape their professional career choices. Analysis of telephone interview transcripts revealed 3 major themes regarding AWJAC participation: defining animal welfare, the value of networking, and professional preparedness.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that participation in the AWJAC heightened veterinary students' self-perceived awareness of animal welfare science, provided participants an opportunity to expand their professional networks, and prepared participants for entrance into the veterinary profession by enhancing communication and critical thinking skills.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix s1 (PDF 173 kb)
    • Supplementary Appendix s2 (PDF 136 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Johnson (cjohnson@avma.org).
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