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Animals & Society Short Course: Current Issues in Human-Animal Relationships
2nd Annual
June 10-14, 2019
presented by Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy
Course Director: Allen Rutberg, Ph.D., Director, Center for Animals and Public Policy

Photos from event:

The M.S. program in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program provides students with the knowledge and skills to improve society’s treatment of animals. Creating a safe space for civil and thoughtful conversations about human-animal relationships, we discuss how language frames and directs policy controversies, explore how science informs policy, and weigh different approaches to creating change that will improve the lives of animals and people.

The faculty of the Center for Animals and Public Policy conducted the 2nd annual one-week summer course to examine some of the high-profile animal issues that we explore in depth in the MAPP program. Topics covered included policy, companion animals, wildlife, farm animals, and research animals. The attendees ranged from undergraduate students to late career stages in life, traveling from Washington, Maine, Vermont, New York, and as close as walking distance to campus. Some of the students returned from last year’s course. Additionally, there were Cummings School employees, current MAPP students, and an incoming MAPP student.

Comments from attendees:
“I thoroughly enjoyed the entire program. It was current, relevant, and thought provoking. I especially liked the discussion of zoos and trophy hunting,
and some of the farm animal discussions since these were areas that I knew less about. The “dog” talks were well done and well presented, but were
more known to me personally.”

“Excellent and very knowledgeable faculty with a passion for the material presented, which was evident throughout the course.”

“I thought the presentations for the Tuesday session were very interesting and informative. I also enjoyed meeting my classmates and learning about
their involvement with animals.”

“It attracts people from all fields of work in the animal world. I also loved that it was interactive with back and forth conversation.”

“I really enjoyed meeting like-minded people. The course content was also very engaging, and the faculty did a really great job presenting the information they had to share. I especially enjoyed Dr. Mueller and Dr. Rutberg’s way of encouraging student discussion during their presentations. Dr. Emily McCobb’s lecture on poverty and pet ownership was one of my favorite lectures in terms of content. I think there’s a lot of work to be done for both humans and animals in this area, and I’ll keep an eye out for any research that they publish on the topic in the future. At a personal level, I’m really
interested in volunteering with mustang contraception efforts in the west. Being able to talk to Dr. Rutberg about the topic motivated me to look into attending the PZP training course in Montana. I won’t make it this year, but it’s on my list of things to do in 2020.”

“Excellent! Everything was great!”


Monday, June 10

  • Perspectives on Animal Policy; Science, Language, and Advocacy, Dr. Allen Rutberg
  • Wicked Problems and Clashing Visions of Nature in Animal Policy:  Horses and Wildlife in the Community, Dr. Emily McCobb & Dr. Allen Rutberg
  • The Ethical Framework, History and Current Status of Animals in Research and Testing, Dr. David Lee-Parritz

Tuesday, June 11

  • The Bond: Human-Animal Interaction and Pet Ownership, Dr. Megan Mueller
  • What Your Pet is Trying to Tell You: Using Animal Behavior to Improve the Human Animal Bond, Seana Dowling-Guyer, MS
  • Career Pathways with animals and public policy, MS in Animals and Public Policy faculty
  • Assistance and Service Animals in the Public Space, Dr. Megan Mueller
  • Pets in Poverty: How Addressing Social Justice Issues Can Help Animals, Erin King, MS and Dr. Emily McCobb
  • Campus Tour

Wednesday, June 12

  • Maintaining Animal Welfare in Food Production: An Overview, Dr. Lindsay Philips
  • Informing the Consumer: What Do All These Labels Mean?  Dr. Lindsay Philips
  • Farm Animal Welfare Assessments, Dr. Lindsay Philips
  • Farm Visit: Tour and Mock Welfare Assessment, Dr. Lindsay Philips

 Thursday, June 13

  • Wildlife in Captivity:  The Role of Zoos, Dr. Allen Rutberg
  • Must Wildlife Pay for Itself?  Game Ranching and Trophy Hunting, Dr. Allen Rutberg
  • Urban Wildlife Conflicts, Dr. Allen Rutberg
  • Deer Contraception, Dr. Allen Rutberg

Friday, June 14

  • The Regulatory Environment and Current Controversies, Dr. David Lee-Parritz 
  • Faculty and current student research at the Center for Animals and Public Policy, Dr. Allen Rutberg, Dr. Emily McCobb, Seana Dowling-Guyer, MS, and Dr. Megan Mueller, Radwa Abdallah, Ariel Lefkovits, Jillian Morrell 
  • Closing discussion (ending at noon)

Participating Faculty:
Allen Rutberg, PhD, Director, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Research Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences
Emily McCobb, DVM, MS (MAPP ’02), DACVAA, Assistant Director, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Section Leader, Animals in the Community, Director, Shelter Medicine Program, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences
Seana Dowling-Guyer, MS, Instructor, Research Methods, Statistics, and Animal Behavior (Applied and Principles of), Department of Clinical Sciences, Associate Director, Center for Shelter Dogs
Erin King, MS (MAPP ‘17), Program Coordinator, Cummings-Tisch Civic Life Coordinator
David Lee-Parritz, DVM, DACLAM, Director, Laboratory Animal Medicine Service, Clinical Professor and Chair, Laboratory Animal Medicine, Department of Environmental and Population Health
Megan Mueller, PhD, Assistant Professor, Human-Animal Interactions, Department of Clinical Sciences
Lindsay Philips, DVM, Clinical Assistant Professor, Lameness in Food and Animal Medicine and Farm Animal Welfare, Department of Environmental and Population Health

About Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy
The mission of the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy is to conduct and encourage the study of complex issues surrounding the changing role and impact of animals in society. The Center supports the development and dissemination of research driven policies, programs and practices that benefit both people and animals.
Work conducted by the Center is based on the tenets that animal well-being matters, that animal and human well-being are linked, and that both are enhanced through improved understanding of human-animal relationships.