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Ethical Decision-Making in Innovation for Animal Welfare

An ACC&D Flagship Initiative

ACC&D is currently building several new resources to aid animals and people alike.  These resources help those working in animal welfare navigate ethical dilemmas inherent in this work.

Please sign-up for our e-newsletter for news of the latest progress made. We continue to seek funds for this project. Please contact Joyce@acc-d.org for information on supporting this important area.

In recent years, ACC&D has taken a more active role in advancing promising new tools and technologies to improve the welfare of cats and dogs. The experience of trialing novel interventions—such as an ear marker to identify cats and dogs who have been sterilized without surgery, or vaccinated as part of a rabies vaccination campaign—led ACC&D to navigate ethical dilemmas in the areas of study design, selection of animals, welfare of animals involved, impact of the study on the local community, and more. Experts agreed with us that too few resources existed to aid this type of decision-making.

As a result, ACC&D held a Think Tank on “Ethical Decision-Making in Innovation for Animal Welfare” to address these important yet challenging questions, and need for resources.  

Experts at the Think Tank identified three topics that deserve more attention than they’ve been given to date, and in combination, they have evolved into a full-fledged project for ACC&D!

1. Moral (di)stress workshop – intended for shelter environments (“shelter” to include non-sheltering animal advocacy groups) to address the many ethical dilemmas such organizations and staff face regularly, yet often do not have the tools to aid communication on the topic. Patterned after resources in the human nursing field, this workshop aims to provide staff and volunteers with tools to make better decisions and work more productively together.

2. Veterinary guidance document – to aid ethical decision-making when conducting research or interventions that do not fall within traditional contexts (i.e. those which are not required to undergo review by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB)).

3. Online “tool" to aid ethical decision-making – an easy-to-use, logical, adaptive online process to prompt thinking about animal welfare, community relations, local laws and values/morals, and veterinary standards. The purpose of the tool is to model and facilitate the process of asking ethical questions, not to provide a “how-to” guide.

The three topics above began September 2017 and are in various stages of development. We anticipate having significant updates to share by the time of our 6th International Symposium.


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