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Department of Animal Sciences


2016 Animal Welfare Judging Team Competes at The Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest

Nov. 18, 2016

The 2016 Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest was held November 12 and 13 at The Ohio State University Fawcett Center. The competition hosted over 10 universities from North America to compete in undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary student divisions. Allison Pullin, a graduate student in OSU's Department of Animal Sciences, coached two teams of undergraduate Animal Sciences students for 10 weeks on how to scientifically assess the welfare of four diverse animal species. Students prepared by collecting and presenting scientific resources, touring industry farms, and practicing oral reasoning skills. At the competition, students performed a live assessment of Ohio State's laying hen facility and conducted virtual assessments of meat sheep, laboratory guinea pigs, and purebred dogs.

Undergraduate Animal Sciences students competing on Team A included, Zach England (sophomore from Osgood, IN); Shannon Kelley (sophomore from Pittsburgh, PA); Marissa Mulligan (senior from Flourtown, PA); and Julia Rose (junior from Coldwater, OH).

Undergraduate Animal Sciences students competing on Team B included, Anna Garrett (sophomore from Cincinnati, OH); Taylor Klass (junior from Worthington, OH); Rachel Park (senior from Rootstown, OH); Heather Pechtl (sophomore from Mundelein, IL); and Abby Simon (sophomore from Oak Forest, IL).

In a field of 13 undergraduate teams, Team A placed 3rd overall and Team B placed 4th overall. Individual student awards are also presented, and in a field of 49 students, Julia Rose (Team A) received 2nd place overall and Heather Pechtl (Team B) received 3rd place overall.

Mission of the contest: "The Animal Welfare Judging and Assessment Contest (AWJAC) aims to provide a unique educational experience while strengthening student vocabulary and reasoning skills. The AWJAC teaches students to assess the welfare of animals in a variety of settings using science-based methods and reasoning. Students are given the opportunity to weigh evidence and present sound evaluations. This contest ensures that tomorrow's leaders in the animal industries develop strong communication skills and acquire enhanced knowledge of animal welfare."

The contest was sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Student AVMA, and Ohio Poultry Association. Dr. Monique Pairis-Garcia of OSU Department of Animal Sciences and Dr. Katy Proudfoot of OSU College of Veterinary Medicine were integral in coordinating the 2016 event.