Global Advocate of the Role of Veterinarians in Animal Welfare Recognized with WSAVA Award

27 March 2019

An American veterinarian, board-certified in both animal welfare and behavior, has been announced as the recipient of this year’s World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Award for Companion Animal Welfare.  Dr Melissa Bain is a professor of Clinical Animal Behavior at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in the US, where her research interests include enrichment for confined cats, owner attachment issues and stress in shelter animals. She is to receive the Award in recognition of the significant contribution she has made to animal welfare through integrating the field of human-animal interactions with veterinary clinical behavior.

Dr Bain received her DVM from the University of Illinois and worked as an associate in a small animal practice in suburban Chicago and a mixed-animal practice in south west Wisconsin before joining UC Davis, initially as a resident.  In addition to her clinical, teaching, and research duties as Professor of Clinical Animal Behavior, she is Director of Professional Student Clinical Education. In this role she mentors veterinary students and residents, ensuring that the next generation of veterinarians is equipped with the expertise to further advance companion animal welfare globally. Her passion for veterinary education led her to lobby successfully for an increase in the range of courses on animal behavior and welfare courses available to veterinary students and to better integrate them within UC Davis’ overall veterinary school curriculum. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Assessment Contest (AWJAC) Advisory Board.  The AWJAC is an annual educational event run by the AVMA for veterinary, undergraduate and graduate students, along with veterinarians, with the goal of increasing understanding and awareness of the welfare issues affecting animals used for human purposes.

Dr Bain is also past president of both the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists and a prolific lecturer and author to veterinarians and other animal health professionals. She regularly gives talks on the role of veterinarians in advancing animal health and welfare to elementary and high school students. She was the recipient of the 2016 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award, given by the AVMA.

The WSAVA Companion Animal Welfare Award, developed by the WSAVA’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee (AWWC), recognizes individual veterinarians who have made a significant contribution to animal welfare and inspired others to play their part in advancing welfare globally.

Commenting, Dr Melinda Merck, Co-Chair of the AWWC, said: “Dr Bain has shown herself to be a visionary veterinary and animal welfare leader, dedicated to service, research and education. Her work has significantly advanced the global veterinary community’s understanding of the important role played by veterinarians in animal welfare and she has made an immeasurable, positive impact on the lives of animals.”

AWWC Co-Chair Dr Tess Kommedal added: “The mentorship that Dr Bain has offered to many veterinary students and residents has encouraged them to follow in her footsteps, carrying a strong emphasis on animal welfare forward into their careers.  She is a worthy recipient of this Award.”

Dr Bain said: “I am so humbled and honored to be selected for this award. In promoting animal welfare, I stand on the shoulders of my amazing colleagues around the world, who are doing incredible research and outreach in this area. Tackling this takes a huge effort, both locally and internationally and, while we have made great progress, it is my priority to continue to promote improving the welfare of our companion animals.”

Dr Bain will receive her Award during this year’s WSAVA World Congress, which takes place in Toronto from 16-19 July.

The WSAVA aims to advance the health and welfare of companion animals worldwide through creating an educated, committed and collaborative global community of veterinary peers.  It represents more than 200,000 veterinarians through 110 member associations.  WSAVA World Congress brings together globally respected experts to offer cutting edge thinking on all aspects of companion animal veterinary care.