Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 22, 2004

Animal cruelty, domestic violence links to be examined at U of G conference

Is cruelty to animals a reliable warning sign of potential domestic violence? This is one of several topics slated for the University of Guelph’s fifth annual Animal Welfare Forum Oct. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Lifetime Learning Centre.

Randy Lockwood, vice-president of research and educational outreach with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in Washington, D.C., plans to discuss the connections between animal cruelty and human abuse during his talk on the growing use of “CSI-type” forensic tools to investigate cases of animal cruelty.

Among people entering the 50 largest shelters for battered women in the United States in 1997, 85 per cent of women and 63 per cent of children mentioned incidents of pet abuse in the family, according to a survey quoted by the HSUS.

“Animal cruelty is a growing concern because people nowadays are more concerned about animal welfare,” said forum co-organizer Jeff Rau, a U of G veterinary medicine student and president of the Ontario Veterinary College Animal Welfare Club. “A big impetus is the link between animal cruelty and human physical abuse and violence.”

The Animal Welfare Forum at Guelph is intended to raise awareness of the welfare of animals, including companion animals, lab and zoo animals, and livestock. Organizers also hope to raise money to help pay for an annual $1,000 graduate scholarship for research in animal welfare at U of G.

The event will include workshops, a student poster competition and the following speakers:
• David Barney, Toronto Zoo: “Enrichment and Training at the Toronto Zoo: Tools to Improve the Welfare of Captive Wildlife Within a Zoological Institution.”

• U of G animal and poultry science professor Georgia Mason, Canada Research Chair in Animal Welfare: “Lab Animal Welfare: Behaviour, Motivation and Stress Biology.”

• Randy Lockwood, Humane Society of the United States: “Veterinary Forensics in the Investigation of Animal Cruelty: An Emerging Discipline.”

• John Wade, canine behaviourist: “Canine Behaviour: Principles and Practice.”

• Denna Benn, director of U of G’s Animal Care Services and chair of the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association Animal Welfare Committee: “The CVMA Animal Welfare Committee’s Role in Veterinary Medicine.”

The forum is organized by student members of the OVC Animal Welfare Club. For information, visit

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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