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Animals & Society Short Course: Current Issues in Human-Animal Relationships
June 25-29, 2018
presented by The Office of Continuing Education at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine with Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy

Course Director: Allen Rutberg, Ph.D., Director, Center for Animals and Public Policy

Photos from the event:


For nearly 25 years, the M.S. program in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) has provided 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 discussed how language frames and directs policy controversies, explored how science informs policy, and weighed different approaches to creating change that will improve the lives of animals and people.
For the first time, the faculty of the Center for Animals and Public Policy conducted a one-week summer course to examine some of the high-profile animal issues that we explore in depth in the MAPP program.
The course was held on the campus of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, North Grafton, Massachusetts. We mixed lectures, short field trips, and group discussions that enabled class participants to sift through the material covered and apply it to their own experience.

Comments from attendees:

“It was a marvelous blend of lecture and interaction. It was all fabulous. All of it. I was thrilled to hear the emphasis from the very first session on “reality-based advocacy.” It really helped to set the tone and expectations of the week.”

“Excellent program! I like that the course covered a variety of topics and species, and allowed ample time for discussion. Also, I like that the tone of the course was not ‘we have the solutions to these problems’, but rather, ‘these are complicated scientific, social, ethical and legal problems’. This course provided a wonderful introduction to the MAPP program for those who do not (currently) have the time or the financial resource to pursue the master’s degree.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the content and hearing from people who actually have experience doing research and working in the fields discussed.”

“I loved the exposure to relevant, important topics in the animals and public policy field and having the ‘field trips’ made it all very real. It was because of the direction of the curriculum (combined with the knowledgeable, friendly faculty) that I realized I was in the right place and looking in the right direction, and most importantly, with the right kind of people!”

“Framing, framing, and framing. I knew about the concept but learned so much of the word and what it means and how valuable it is as a tool. The generous amount of time afforded to the students by all Tufts personnel. The general amount of time offered and given specifically by Dr. Rutberg to topics that hold special interest. The expertise of all participating instructors. The exciting new research at Tufts expanding beyond companion animals.”

“I left the course more knowledgeable, excited and hopeful.”

Topics Schedule:

Monday, June 25
Historical perspective on animal policy; the importance of language in policy advocacy
Managing outdoor cats
Transporting dogs for adoption

Tuesday, June 26
Access to veterinary care for under-served populations
Benefits of assistance animals: an evaluation of the research
Assistance and service animals in the public space: treatment and regulation

Wednesday, June 27
Clashing visions of nature in wildlife policy conflicts
Must wildlife pay for itself? Game ranching, trophy hunting, and the wildlife trade
Case studies in local, state, and federal wildlife management: Urban deer and wild horses

Thursday, June 28
Maintaining animal welfare in food production: Perspectives from producers
Policy tools for improving the health and welfare of animals, people, and the environment: science, consumer behavior, and regulation

Friday, June 29
Student and faculty research at the Center for Animals and Public Policy
Closing discussion (ending at noon)


Allen Rutberg, PhD
Director, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Research Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Emily McCobb, DVM, MS, 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 E. King, DVM
Clinical Instructor, Dairy Production Medicine and Farm Animal Welfare, Department of Environmental and Population Health

Megan Kiely Mueller, PhD
Assistant Professor, Human-Animal Interactions, Department of Clinical Sciences

Lindsay Philips, DVM
Lecturer, Lameness in Food and Animal Medicine and Farm Animal Welfare, Department of Environmental and Population Health


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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.