A team of students from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) won First Place Overall in the Veterinary Division at the recent 15th Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest (AWJAC). The event, held this year at Ohio State, tests undergraduate, graduate and veterinary students on their ability to assess the welfare of animals and present findings to a panel of judges.
When the contest first started in 2002, the focus was on livestock species. Since then, the AWJAC has expanded to include livestock, companion, laboratory, production and exotic animals.
The AWJAC relies on hypothetical, realistic computer-viewed scenarios containing performance, health, physiologic and behavioral data. These are evaluated by students individually to determine which facility has a higher level of welfare, according to the AWJAC. Each student then presents their rationale orally to the judges. Students also participate in a team assessment exercise.
The Ohio State CVM had two teams in the competition this year. The winning team included Sarah Wahlstrom (Class of 2018), Kacey Smith (Class of 2017), Shawn Wharrey (2017) and Kristin Zabrecky (2018). The team also brought home a trophy for the top team-assessment score.
The second team comprised Erika Helgeson (2017), Emma Bratton (2019) and Natalia Jurcak (2019).
Wahlstrom placed third individually in the veterinary division.
Overall, about 105 students in 28 teams across all divisions participated in the contest this year.