The past years have brought about many changes for conferences and professional development in the animal welfare sector, as online learning and meetings have now become the norm. With many in-person conferences being cancelled or going virtual since March 2020, the annual Dr. Carol Morgan Memorial Award (CMMA) also pivoted to enable veterinarians to attend professional development through virtual gatherings. The award has been given out since 2018 and was established by the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada (AWFC) in honour of former BC SPCA board member Dr. Carol Morgan, a tireless advocate for animal welfare and ethical veterinary practice, who died in 2015.
In 2018 and 2019, two B.C. veterinarians Dr. Cienciala and Dr. Tillotson were CMMA recipients. The legacy of former BC SPCA board member, Dr. Carol Morgan continues to be exemplified in the work of these outstanding veterinarians working to increase the knowledge of the veterinary community in areas of animal welfare and ethics.
The 2022 CMMA was recently awarded to Dr. Shelby Kimura, who practices in her hometown of Calgary. She will use the funds to complete the last course required for a Master of Science degree with a concentration in Veterinary Forensic Science.
“Veterinarians are responsible for preventing animal suffering. Yet, veterinarians lack adequate training in recognizing animal abuse, the link between animal abuse and human violence, and how to proceed when abuse is suspected,” says Dr. Kimura. She hopes to use her training in veterinary forensics to help change this – for the animals and the people who care about their welfare.
The 2021 CMMA was awarded to P.E.I. veterinarian Dr. Laurie McDuffee to complete online courses in the human-animal bond, offered in partnership by the North American Veterinary Community Learning Academy and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute. Upon completion of the course, she will have earned a certification in the human-animal bond.
“The human-animal bond is increasing in importance in our daily lives and is a fundamental aspect of One Health,” she said. “With this award, I will improve my understanding of the science behind the human-animal bond and how to maximize the mutually beneficial relationship between animals and people. I will use this knowledge in my teaching and research at the Atlantic Veterinary College.”
Ontario shelter veterinarian Dr. Laurie Gaines was the 2020 CMMA recipient and she used the grant to virtually attend Humane Canada’s National Animal Welfare Conference in April 2021.
Dr. Gaines said she was excited to “use the knowledge obtained in sessions at the conference to train animal shelter staff, improve the lives of shelter animals, and create community outreach programs focused on keeping families and pets together.”
With travel costs no longer a barrier, such virtual conferences can bring together even more animal welfare champions from around the world to learn from.