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2014 Award Winners

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Dr. Thomas Howard and Dr. Robert Leder Receive WVMA Meritorious Award

The Meritorious Service Award is given to veterinarians in recognition of their service, commitment, and contributions specifically to the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine. Two veterinarians were selected as recipients due their years of commitment and service to the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine.

Howard-Meritorious-for-webHoward-Meritorious-webRemaining exceptionally active within the WVMA, Dr. Thomas Howard, Poynette, has served as the WVMA treasurer for the past 14 years. He had also served on the Residue Task Force, Auditing and Budgeting Committee and has served as chairman of the executive search committee, seeing through the selection of WVMA's new executive director.

Since joining in the WVMA, Dr. Howard has been an active member of the WVMA Drug Residue Task Force, Budgeting and Auditing Committee and serves as treasurer on the WVMA Executive Board.

Dr. Howard received the award in recognition for his years of commitment to the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine. He has a diverse background within the veterinary profession including serving as state veterinarian, private practice, industry and acting as his own herdsman.

"With Dr. Howard's diverse background, he can always be counted on to contribute to any task. He has proven to be an invaluable asset to our entire organization and pr

Dr. Howard is retired from practicing veterinary medicine, but enjoys spending time with his wife, two children and his herd of Angus cattle.ofession," says Dr. Ray Pawlish, past WVMA president.

Meritorious-Leder-for-web

Dr. Robert Leder served on the executive board for four years. In addition, he has served on the Public Health and Food Safety, Personnel, Animal Welfare and Executive Committees. Dr. Leder led a Large Animal Welfare Subcommittee that defined five guiding principles to practice by. He is the chair of the Dairy welfare committee and has created a detailed

 presentation on how to properly and humanely take care of a down cow.

He was recognized for his thoughtful insights, his unwavering commitment to veterinary medicine, and for his steady leadership.Committees. Dr. Leder led a Larg

e Animal Welfare Subcommittee that defined five guiding principles to practice by. He is the chair of the Dairy welfare committee and has created a detailed presentation on how to properly and humanely take care of a down cow.

Dr. Robert Leder is a partner in a nine doctor practice with offices in Bear Creek, and Clintonville, Wis.


Wisconsin Veterinary Practice Managers Association Receives WVMA Friend of Veterinary Medicine Award

The Friend of Veterinary Medicine Award is given to an individual or organization in recognition of their service, commitment, and contributions specifically to veterinary medicine in Wisconsin.

Friend-WVPMA-for-web"The WVPMA continues to set the bar high for practice managers," says Kim Brown Pokorny, WVMA executive director. "Their diligence and hard work to develop dynamic forward thinking CE courses and events has not only helped practice managers, but veterinarians as well by building and maintaining profitable practices."

The WVPMA also continues to support the WVMA through foundation and charitable giving. In 2013, the WVPMA donated $1,000 to the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Foundation (WVMF). Before the inception of a foundation the WVPMA partnered with the WVMA and raised fund for designated WVMA charities. Again this year, they lent their support through Bob Feller to help raise donations for the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Foundation by participating in the Wild West Rib Eating Showdown fundraiser.

Success permeates through the whole organization and their success directly relates to the veterinary practice success seen across Wisconsin.


Midwest Cremation Services of Wisconsin Receives WVMA Corporate Partnership Award

Midwest Cremation Services of Wisconsin was awarded the WVMA Corporate Sponsorship Award in thanks for their continued support of the WVMA and organized veterinary medicine. The Corporate Partnership Award is given to a business in recognition of their service, commitment, and contributions specifically to organized veterinary medicine.

Corporate-MWC-for-webjpg

"Midwest Cremations Services of Wisconsin has been a great supporter of the WVMA for many years," says Kim Brown Pokorny, WVMA executive director. "The Blosser family has been an excellent source for the WVMA whenever there are questions about cremation services from our membership and the public."

The WVMA greatly appreciates Midwest Cremation Services of Wisconsin's continued support and dedication to the WVMA, veterinarians and clinic teams across Wisconsin.

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Presidents Message

The Challenges of Animal Welfare Discussions

Over the past decade I’ve been on the frontline of some interesting animal welfare discussions. I was part of the team that drafted the WVMA’s original five guiding principles for food animal welfare that were adopted in 2008. In December 2013 Mercy for Animals released a video of improper handling of disabled dairy cows from a northeastern Wisconsin dairy farm. In response to that, I made over 20 presentations for the WVMA in 2014 across the Midwest educating producers about humane handling of down and disabled dairy cows. In 2010, the arrival of HSUS at the WVMA’s doorstep inquiring about our support for legislation banning dairy cow tail docking set off a flurry of activity to draft a position on that issue. It was the dairy cow tail docking debate that really opened my eyes to the complexity of engaging in meaningful discussions with farmers and colleagues about animal welfare issues.

At the root of the difficulty engaging in these discussions is the delicacy at which we handle exchanges of our moral consciousness. The Judo-Christian teaching in Genesis that god has given man dominion over all the creatures of the earth establishes a firm ethos for kind care and oversight of animals. In our daily lives the care, management, and treatment of animals fulfills that moral obligation subconsciously. Good animal care becomes one of our core moral bearings.

This dimension of animal welfare dialogue came to light to me as I was engaging in various conversations in the spring of 2010 with dairy farmer clients about tail docking. In private, one on one conversation, I could sense a bit of unease with farmers when we spoke about the tail docking issue. That March, I was asked to give an update on animal welfare concerns for the local Technical College Farm Class awards dinner which gave me a chance to test the idea of the connection between moral consciousness and animal welfare. I knew at least eighty percent of the farmers in the audience that evening. I had enough experience with the audience that they trusted me, and I was considered part of their “tribe”. We had shared experiences and values. I started my presentation with two questions. First: How many here believe they have a moral/ethical responsibility to provide good, kind, humane care to their animals? Everyone’s hand went up. Second question: How many here believe they fulfill that responsibility? Again, everyone raised his or her hand. This clearly demonstrated the connection of animal care practices to core moral beliefs.

Rarely, if ever, do we discuss core religious beliefs. We respect each other’s decisions, realizing that while we might have slight differences, we are all of good moral character. However, when someone, especially those we don’t have much in common with, questions our management or treatment of animals, it is easy to be insulted. It is not a superficial insult either, rather a deep cutting one because it calls into question our moral under-pinning. Animal welfare discussions can easily pierce the shell of our inner moral core, often eliciting a deep visceral emotional response. As this emotional defense response kicks in, logical thought processes evaporate. Effective listening frequently shuts down.

Therefore, great care needs to be taken when engaging in animal welfare discussions not to offend the other in the conversation. It is very helpful to try to find some areas of agreement before getting into the specifics of the topic at hand.

When morality issues are challenged, it is common to seek affirmation and support from our “tribe”. A common response to criticism of animal care is: “we’ve always done it this way”. Citing precedent is not justification for our questioned care or procedures, rather it is the reason the discussion is occurring. By acknowledging that the questioned practice was once considered an acceptable standard practice, one can gain credibility in the “tribe” and we can open the door to more logical conversations. Making this connection is crucial to moving the conversation forward in a constructive way.

Interestingly, three years later, in 2013, when I repeated the fore mentioned question sequence at an Extension sponsored animal well-being meeting, very few people raised their hands in response to the questions, which initially surprised me. After reflecting on the situation, I realized that very few in the audience knew me. I was a stranger. Rarely do we expose our core beliefs to strangers. It is easy to intimidate others when engaging, especially if they are strangers.

Here are some tips when having discussions about animal welfare. First familiarity is critical; try to establish a “tribal” connection. Sharing experiences and values goes a long way to keep communication going. Be very tactful, and recognize the non-verbal signals you receive and send. Be careful not to elicit an emotional response. Encourage the other person to share their experiences, thoughts and perspective. Listen, listen, and listen. Conversations about animal welfare are best done one on one. Opening minds to new ideas one by one will slowly move the animal welfare needle. Those new ideas and perspectives will slowly spread through the “tribe” in other one on one conversation.

As veterinarians, we have much to offer the conversation. The best opportunity to move animal welfare issues forward is to engage and make a difference.

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Past Presidents Messages

The Challenges of Animal Welfare Discussions
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Never Say Never
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Hard Choices for the 2018 AVMA President-Elect Election
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Solving Problems
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Planting Seeds - Growing Tomorrow's Veterinarians
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Show Lamb Tail Docking - An Animal Welfare Issue
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'Tis the Season to Give!
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Coming Soon! Professional Assistance Program for Wisconsin Veterinary Professionals
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Work-life Balance?
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Essential Opportunity, Essential Lessons
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Animal Welfare; What’s Your Role?
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The Need is Great!
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Politics, Politics, Politics!
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Professional Wellness: Break the Dam!
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One Bite at a Time!
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Be Relevant!
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Conference Board LEI
2016 AVMA Economic Summit
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