Center for Animals and Public Policy

Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy logo

The Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine promotes research, education, service, and constructive dialogue in its efforts to enhance human-animal relationships and advance the well-being of animals and people. More than ever, veterinarians and scientists need to respond thoughtfully to the complex issues that arise in our relationships with animals and recognize the ethics, culture, values, and policy impacting those relationships. The mission of the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine 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.

Initiating Thought—Inspiring Action

The center’s research, teaching, and service activities are organized around four inter-related areas of focus:

Companion Animal Welfare and Behavior

Companion animals deserve access to veterinary care and optimal mental and physical well-being. Through scholarly research and training the next generation of leaders, CAPP supports the animal welfare and veterinary professions in meeting these goals for pet owners in diverse communities.

Human-Animal Relationships

We have powerful and complex social bonds with the companion animals that share our homes. At CAPP, we apply a wide range of scientific methods to studying the psychology of human-animal interaction, with the goal of improving the relationships between people and animals through evidence-based programs and policies.

Human-Wildlife Interactions

The sprawling human footprint across the globe is forcing us to choose whether we try to control nature or partner with it. Where people and wildlife meet, CAPP explores how people can live with nature through creating policies and practices that promote mutual accommodation and appreciation.

Animal Use: Policy and Practice

Animals are used by people for food and labor, for education, entertainment, and research. Scientific understanding about the lives and welfare of animals is growing, as is public awareness of the linkages between animal use, human well-being, and the health of the planet.

Educating and Informing

Educating veterinary students about the underlying concept of “One Health” creates opportunities for graduates to make a difference for animals and society whether they work in private practice, the business world, or public service.

veterinarian and resident with a shetland dog

Shelter Medicine Program

The Shelter Medicine Program at Cummings School blends our strengths in patient care, research, and service-learning to care for underserved animals in our community while providing hands-on learning opportunities to veterinary students.

Animal Matters Series

The Center for Animals and Public Policy offers a venue for balanced, informed and respectful discussion of the difficult issues in animal ethics, policy and practice that face the veterinary profession and society. The Center's flagship speaker series is "Animal Matters." Presented by distinguished scientists, animal professionals, ethicists, advocates, and others, these lunchtime talks cover topics like living with urban wildlife, understanding the needs of dogs and horses, and protecting rhinos and elephants from poaching.

Email us at if you'd like to be notified of upcoming seminars. You can also follow us on Facebook here.

Upcoming Events

The Reporting Animal Cruelty: The Role of the Veterinarian manual for Massachusetts is provided here for establishing protocols for identifying and reporting suspected animal cruelty in Massachusetts. The manual is possible due to the collaborative efforts of Animal Folks, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, with funding by these organizations and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Warning – the manual includes some graphic images of abused animals and is not intended to be shared with the general public.

Impacting Care

Service to the community is integral to many of the center’s initiatives in the form of support, education, and care. Service and outreach programs are tied together through the Animals in the Community program at CAPP.

Center for Shelter Dogs logom blue and white

The Center for Shelter Dogs (CSD) is an initiative of the Shelter Medicine Program, also housed within the Center, dedicated to improving the welfare of homeless dogs cared for by humane organizations, animal control facilities, and rescue groups throughout the nation.

Tufts Paws for People logo

Tufts Paws for People is a non-profit organization in New England associated with Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and supported by the Center for Animals and Public Policy.


Many of the activities conducted through the Center for Animals and Public Policy are made possible by the generous support of Elizabeth A. Lawrence Endowed Fund.


For additional information or questions about the Center for Animals and Public Policy program, please contact:

Center for Animals and Public Policy
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
200 Westboro Road
North Grafton, MA 01536
Phone: (508) 839-7991