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Stookey receives bovine welfare award

WCVM professor Dr. Joe Stookey has received the 2014 MetacamĀ® 20 Bovine Welfare Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts to advance the welfare of cattle in Canada and the U.S.

The annual award is presented by the Canadian Association of Bovine Veterinarians-Association Canadienne des Vétérinaires Bovins (CABV-ACVB) in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim.

Stookey is an expert in livestock behaviour, animal welfare and animal well being who has spent more than 25 years promoting cattle welfare through his teaching, research and involvement in professional associations and producer committees.

Stookey was honoured to receive the award, noting that it's encouraging to reflect on the changes in attitude toward animal welfare that he has witnessed in the beef industry during his career.

"There is no doubt that producers have always cared for their animals, but we now have better tools and more science to help direct us towards better care," said Stookey.

For example, today's accepted practice of administering long-acting pain medication after a caesarean delivery just wasn't the norm 25 years ago. "We were just beginning discussions on whether pain medication should accompany castration and dehorning, and today, we have a new Beef Code in Canada that recommends its use," says Stookey.

"All these changes are not a break from tradition, but an embrace of newer and better technologies."

Stookey joined the WCVM faculty soon after completing his PhD degree in applied animal ethology at the University of Illinois in 1991. He has taught animal behaviour and welfare to many veterinary students and has a contagious enthusiasm for his subject.

He was a key member of Canada's Beef Welfare Code Development committee and has been part of many other national and international groups involved in animal welfare. He has published multiple book chapters and numerous peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and has contributed to conference proceedings and abstracts.

In particular, his work on alternative weaning strategies for beef cattle has led to the development of a two-stage weaning process that greatly reduces the stress of weaning in beef calves.

"Dr. Joe Stookey's entire career has been devoted to animal applied ethology and animal welfare," said Dr. Jean Baril, bovine/equine technical service veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.

"He is the perfect example of a scientist who has contributed to advancing the welfare of cattle in Canada."

For more information, visit the CABV/ACVB web site. 
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