2013 Annual Report

Pet Care International Animal Welfare Advisory Board Annual Report 2013

(This report was issued prior to the 8/1/14 Mars acquisition of The IAMS Company/P&G Pet Care.)
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Composition:

During this reporting period, the members of the Board were:
Mr. Michael Arms, President of the Helen Woodward Animal Center (a leading California-based shelter and adoption facility);
Dr. Kathryn Bayne (Chair), Global Director, Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International);
Dr. Candace Croney, Associate Professor, Animal Behavior and Well-Being, Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University;
Dr. Rebecca Ledger, Owner, Animal Behaviour & Welfare Consulting, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada1;
Dr. Patricia Olson, Chief Veterinary Advisor, American Humane Association;
Dr. James Serpell, Marie A. Moore Professor of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
 

Purpose:

The International Animal Welfare Advisory Board continued to function as an independent body in providing advice and serving as a “sounding board” for the Management within P&G Pet Care, the Pet Health & Nutrition division of Procter and Gamble, on the care and welfare of animals used in Pet Care study programs. This year, much of the advice and guidance focused on environmental enrichment, animal accommodations, expanding continuing education opportunities for staff, and ensuring continuing expert animal behavior input to the program.
Responsibility for consideration of the recommendations derived from the Board, assuring animal welfare and ensuring compliance with national legislation, rests with P&G Pet Care.
 

Activities and Recommendations:

The Advisory Board held one conference call as well as one convened meeting, and conducted an unannounced site visit of the PHNC during this period.
The following commendations were noted from the unannounced on-site review:
    Cats:
  • A well-designed socialization program was in place for cats of all ages.
  • The environmental enrichment program provided was excellent.
  • Caretaker interactions with the felines were very positive and gentle.
  • An Animal Welfare Specialist was observed encouraging feline play behavior.
  • The cats appeared calm and were very sociable.
    Dogs:
  • The housing area is very supportive of the dogs’ behavioral needs.
  • The dogs were well socialized to people.
  • A strong socialization program was in place, with robust monitoring of the canines’ behavior.
  • The caretakers were very engaged with the animals and very knowledgeable about each dog.
The following recommendation resulted from the on-site assessment:
The Board strongly supports the planned renovations of the remaining portion of kennels that have not yet been updated.
In addition to the recommendation resulting from the on-site assessment, the Board made several recommendations throughout the year, as follows:
  • The Board recommended that the enrichment (toys) provided to each dog be tailored to the specific animal, rather than relying on a more generic toy rotation schedule. Related to this, the toys identified for the animals should be rotated more frequently.
  • The Board encouraged intensifying continuing education for the staff, through both internal training opportunities as well as attendance at external courses/conferences.
  • The Board recommended review of the periodicity of behaviorist consultations for dogs and cats.
  • Because some of the dogs have access to a pond on the campus, it was recommended that the water be tested to ensure it does not pose any potential risk to the animals.
  • Several suggestions were made regarding the management of performance breed dogs (e.g., sled dogs and high energy breeds).
  • The Board wishes to be informed promptly when a public relations issue involving Pet Care occurs.
 

Highlights of Program Changes Based on Advisory Board Recommendations:

A very diverse and well-designed canine enrichment program has been implemented, expanding on a solid foundation of an enrichment program.
Staff continuing education has been enhanced; in particular the inclusion of clicker training has been noteworthy.
Interactions with the research staff resulted in synergistic discussions that informed the Board and provided useful feedback to the researchers.
 

Future Action Plan:

The Board will continue to encourage the planned kennel renovations to proceed expeditiously.
The Board will continue to evaluate integration of the Winton Hill Discovery Center, for in-home animal feeding trials, into the Pet Care program, and will conduct on-site assessments of these programs.
The Board will continue to strongly support efforts to promote the behavioral management program.
The Board will continue to encourage Pet Care to educate the public on the implicit linkage between P&G’s pet food products and animal welfare.
1 Term on the Advisory Board concluded June 30, 2013.