Changing Lives Improving Life
November 17-18, 2012 | University of Guelph

What is a Welfare Judging Contest?

An educational tool for enhancing understanding and awareness of welfare
issues affecting animals used for human purposes (e.g., agriculture, research, companionship). The contest teaches ethical reasoning, encourages objective assessment of animal welfare on the basis of scientific theory and data, promotes critical thinking, and improves communication skills.

Students interested in animal welfare are afforded a structured opportunity to practice their assessment skills and present their findings to an expert panel of scientists and veterinarians in a logical and persuasive manner.

Who may participate?

Three divisions of the contest are offered: undergraduate, veterinary students and graduate students.

What goes on?

Students analyze the welfare of various types of animals as presented in comparative scenarios...

...determine whether the welfare of animals in one scenario is better or worse than in the other...

...and present reasons for their decision orally to the judges.

A live/on-site problem is also assessed.

How do I prepare?

• Solicit a team of interested individuals (3 to 5 students per team). Some previous coursework in animal welfare is helpful.
• Identify a faculty coach. Coaches should meet with students to review relevant background material.*
• Discuss current animal care practices across a variety of animal uses. Allow students to debate potential welfare concerns and benefits of different approaches to housing, husbandry, and transport.
• Evaluate different scenarios using CDs*, video tapes, hypothetical data, and other useful media. Students should be encouraged to integrate a variety of physiologic, health, and behavioral indicators of well-being into their assessment of welfare.
• Practice providing oral reasons.*
• Put skills learned to the test in the next Intercollegiate Contest.

* A suggested reading list, practice scenarios on CD, example oral reasons,
and rule books are available.

Traveling trophies

Awarded to the highest placing team in each Division, the trophies feature original artwork by Lynne Millman.