The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently recognized the American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW) as a veterinary specialty organization. As posted on its website, ACAW's mission is to advance animal welfare through education, certification and scientific investigation and to ensure that the veterinary profession leads advances in animal welfare knowledge. Veterinarians who pursue advanced training and experience in animal welfare science and ethics are recognized as diplomates of the college. According to the AVMA, there are 22 other veterinary specialty organizations, and more than 10,600 veterinarians have been awarded diplomate status in one or more of these organizations.
Patricia Olson, DVM, one of the 23 new charter diplomate members of ACAW and a Leadership Council member with the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, worked closely with other members to develop the requirements and standards for the new specialty organization. "The veterinary profession can and should be at the forefront of efforts to advance animal health and welfare," Olson says. "This new specialty helps the profession move into that role as well as open up opportunities for those in the profession who want to expand their individual efforts and professional status when it comes to improving animal welfare."
Veterinarians interested in becoming board-certified in animal welfare can find application materials and forms at www.acaw.org. The deadline for submitting materials for the 2013 examination is November 1, 2012.