HSUS Animal Care Expo puts access to care on the agenda

Animal Care Expo 2019 has kicked off in New Orleans and one
major focus this year is access to care — improving access to
veterinary medical treatment for all animals in need, and providing
better support for those who love and care for them. Photo by
Shannon Jax Productions

Our Animal Care
Expo 2019
in New Orleans has attracted a record 2800
participants from the United States and around the world, with some
226 attendees from 53 different countries in attendance. We’re so
proud of what this event has become; the premier educational
conference and trade show serving the animal care and services
community worldwide. We’re especially grateful to Maddie’s Fund and the
Petco Foundation for
their generous support this year, which has made it possible to
expand our base of individual scholarships.

Our international participation is at an all-time high too, with
some 226 attendees from 53 different countries in attendance.
Expo’s International track saw the debut of Humane Society
International’s state-of-the-art suite of apps, a product of four
years of field research. The apps facilitate cloud-based data
collection and storage for spay/neuter and rabies vaccination
programs, ensuring high-animal welfare and program impact. These
apps are now globally available free of cost to the public.

One of the unifying themes of this year’s event involves
access to care—improving access to veterinary medical treatment
for all animals in need, and providing better support for those who
love and care for them. This focus is vital to the future success
of companion animal welfare. Ensuring greater and more affordable
access to care has emerged as a key component of programs to reduce
animal homelessness, improve animal well-being and health,
eliminate euthanasia of healthy animals and engage a broader and
more diverse public with animal welfare and humane work.

One initiative featured this year is the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition,
which is working with the University of Tennessee College of Social
Work and the Veterinary Social Work program at the University of
Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. In late 2018, AVCC
released a
report
, Access to Veterinary Care: Barriers, Current Practice,
and Public Policy. A survey of petkeeping nationwide that included
populations with poor or inadequate access to veterinary care and
to veterinary service providers, the report seeks to lay the
foundation for better informed public, corporate, institutional and
individual action in this area. Representatives of the initiative
spoke at a special daylong Monday session of the Humane Society
Veterinary Medical Association and in a plenary talk.

Our own Pets for Life program is at the heart of an advanced
study now underway at the University of Denver’s Institute for
Human-Animal Connection (IHAC). The project’s researchers have
developed a quantitative survey instrument to track the One Health
impacts of Pets for Life. One Health encompasses the notion that
the health of humans, nonhuman animals and their shared ecosystems
are deeply interdependent. For its part, Pets for Life was designed
precisely with such sensitivity in mind. It focuses on the removal
of barriers to access for companion animal care services
(spay/neuter, vaccination, wellness exams or behavioral training,
for example) in underserved communities. IHAC has already published

one innovative study
reviewing and analyzing PFL data around
race and ethnicity not being primary determinants in the decision
of people to spay/neuter, an important discussion in the effort to
make our movement more inclusive.

A second HSUS initiative, Spayathon™ for Puerto Rico, is also the subject of a research study,
this one undertaken by the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter
Medicine Program, which is conducting the largest ever prospective
study of MASH style spay neuter/vaccination programs with the goal
of demonstrating the efficacy and safety of such programs
particularly for underserved populations.

Maddies has supported the AVCC’s work, that of the Shelter
Medicine program at the University of Florida School of Veterinary
Medicine and Spayathon™ and, along with the Watershed Animal Foundation, the success
of Pets for Life over the years.

The commitment of foundations and other stakeholders to such
research is fundamental to establishing a stronger baseline
understanding of the scope of animal overpopulation in the United
States, and to a deeper integration of humane work with public
policy and philanthropic initiatives designed to improve the
landscape of animal welfare.

Access to care for animals is truly a front-line focus now, and
I’m pleased to report that HSUS personnel are so deeply involved
with these and other initiatives that benefit humans and animals
alike. Through our Rural
Area Veterinary Services
and HSVMA clinics in underserved areas,
and through the programs described above, we’re taking a big bite
out of the challenge of ensuring that all animals in need get the
care that they need, that all those who care about animals can gain
access to the services and support that they require, and that
every community can enjoy the many benefits of an enhanced animal
care infrastructure. It’s wonderful to see these and related
programs getting their due at Expo this year.

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HSUS Animal Care Expo puts access to care on the agenda

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Source: FS – Pets – A Humane Nation
HSUS Animal Care Expo puts access to care on the agenda