Alumni support animal welfare
In an Australian first, UQ’s Centre for Companion Animal Health will join forces with two major animal shelters to address the global issue of homeless and unwanted pets.
A shelter rotation collaboration with RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League Queensland has been established to educate UQ veterinary students about the unique issues experienced in shelters and pounds.
Made possible with the support of alumnus David Perel and his wife Margaret, the project will be complemented by a four-year RSPCA shelter research program that will provide evidence-based strategies to reduce the numbers of unwanted pets and rates of euthanasia.
“Despite efforts in Australia to reduce the euthanasia rates of animals entering shelters, the influx of unwanted companion animals into shelters has not decreased over the past seven years,” Centre Director Professor Jacquie Rand said.
“Hundreds of thousands of animals end up in shelters for different reasons and many, unfortunately, are euthanased.”
Professor Rand said the costs of managing unwanted pets were significant and increasing, with approximately $250 million spent annually in Australia alone.
“We urgently need to understand both the human and animal factors that are contributing to the problem,” she said.
All final-year UQ veterinary students will now spend several days at the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League to better understand the daily issues faced by shelters.
There they will learn about infectious disease control, population management procedures and providing efficient and effective veterinary care in a shelter context.
“Veterinarians are at the front line in helping to prevent many pet problems which lead to them being surrendered in the first place,” Professor Rand said.
“As an example, early-age desexing is instrumental in preventing unwanted litters of kittens being born and an essential practice for veterinary students to learn.”
The collaboration brings together shelter workers, students, staff and veterinarians whose combined expertise will help develop strategies to reduce or prevent the influx of unwanted pets.
Master of Philosophy student Sarah Zito, who is leading the program’s teaching activities and conducting further research in shelter practice, said the collaboration provided a fantastic opportunity to have a positive impact on a global animal welfare problem.
“It recognises the need for evidence-based solutions, and the key role that university veterinary schools have in partnership with animal welfare organisations in developing effective strategies through high quality research and teaching,” Ms Zito said.
“It is vital that final-year veterinary students graduate with an understanding of the unwanted pet problem as it kills more companion animals than any disease. We hope that this understanding will motivate our graduates to be involved with improving outcomes for unwanted pets.”
Mr and Mrs Perel contributed $40,000 over two years towards the Shelter Rotation Teaching Program. The RSPCA have generously committed a four-year financial pledge towards the shelter research program – a partnership that will have far-reaching benefits for unwanted pets around the country.
By Julia Keith
In This Section
IN THIS EDITION
- marie hayes: loved her loved the discussion and considering she was in her mid eighties her intelligence was still...
- Thomas Anderson: RIP Chris.
- John Brannock: I recently wrote the following email which is self explanatory: “Dear Professor Høj, I would...
- Dr Mary Tan: Hi Prof Peter Hoj I’m Mary from S’pore, graduated from UniSA. Was glad to read updates...
- Dane: Hello. magnificent job. I did not expect this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!