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veterinarian with a dog


The Animal Welfare, Ethics and Public Policy Program led a recent nationwide study to measure the health of America’s animal shelter system. Other projects of interest include a behavior study of cats with Feline Infectious Virus (FIV), the impact of public policies on spay/neuter licensure, and promoting awareness of the veterinarian’s role in recognizing and responding to animal abuse.

The Mobile Surgery Unit allows CVM faculty and students to help shelters state-wide by spay/ neuter services and providing veterinary care for animals that otherwise would not have access to treatment. The volunteer service also provides students with a valuable primary care educational experience.

The CVM Community-Campus Partnership offers veterinary services to the Wake County Animal Care, Control and Adoption Center while providing opportunities for students to practice routine surgical procedures, and diagnose and treat common diseases of dogs and cats.

Dr. Kelli Ferris is a key contact for the State of North Carolina in cases of suspected animal abuse cases and during natural disasters where animals require immediate veterinary care.

Dr. Barbara Sherman, director of the CVM Behavioral Medicine Service, is president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

The CVM is a major participant in the State Animal Response Team (SART), an interagency state organization dedicated to preparing, planning, and responding to animal emergencies on the local, county, state and federal level. SART is a national model of effective emergency response and numerous other states are developing similar organizations.

Animal Welfare

Animals touch our daily lives from the food we eat, the products we consume, and the health care advances we enjoy to the companionship, entertainment, and services they provide. The health and well being of these animals is at the heart of veterinary medicine.

The effective integration of veterinary medicine, animal science, ethics, and public policy will help dictate how successfully the diverse needs of humans and various animals—wildlife as well as domesticated animals—are met on a local and global scale.

Current animal welfare concerns include the effect of global urbanization; the treatment of animals in food production; the pet over population crisis and the burden it places on overcrowded shelters; biomedical research involving animal models; and the rescue and care of animals in emergencies and disasters.   

At the center of many of these concerns is the growing human-animal bond, a connection further evidenced in the heartfelt response people have had to the trials of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, the plight of Hurricane Katrina animals, and to incidents of animal fighting and abuse.

The College is a community dedicated to animal health and well being and the Animal Welfare, Ethics and Public Policy (AWEPP) Program exists as one formal example of the CVM commitment to being stewards of animal welfare.

The multidisciplinary AWEPP Program brings together the interdependent disciplines of shelter medicine, community practice, veterinary behavior, and animal welfare. Through professional education, public service, research, and public policy development AWEPP seeks to explore and address issues including pet abandonment; animal abuse and fighting; companion animal loss and grief; and the link between animal health and human well being