The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is reaching out to veterinarians and veterinary students across the country to request their participation in a symposium, “Can You Hear Me Now? The Conversation,” to be held Nov. 14-15, 2013 in Rosemont, Ill. The symposium offers an opportunity for intraprofessional dialogue about animals’ welfare and veterinarians’ responsibilities to protect it.

Whether their interest is the breeding of pets, the use of animals in biomedical research, or current livestock production practices, Americans have rarely been as focused on animals’ welfare as they are right now—and they are using their passion to shape the future of animal care. Veterinarians, their clients and, especially, their patients have a lot at stake with respect to how and what decisions are made. Accordingly, it’s not surprising that veterinarians also have strong opinions and a lot to say about this topic. The challenge is to find opportunities to share information professionally, while gaining expertise and a broader perspective from colleagues across the profession. The AVMA has created a special event to help AVMA and Student AVMA members do just that.

The AVMA will choose 150 participants from the pool of nominees to attend the two-day symposium. The Conversation will provide an opportunity for veterinarians from across the profession—those working on farms, in laboratories, as government inspectors, in zoos, and providing services for companion animals—to have an honest and informed conversation about animals’ welfare.

The first day will provide foundation lectures on the scientific, social, political and legal aspects of how and why animal welfare decisions are made. Participants will spend the second day of the symposium in roundtable discussions considering welfare-related dilemmas affecting how animals are used and cared for across all sectors of the veterinary profession.

A working group selected from among symposium participants will meet immediately following the two-day event on Nov. 16 (and another date yet to be determined) to translate symposium discussions  into a strategy that facilitates ongoing, productive dialogue within the profession about animal welfare issues.

Invitees will be limited to AVMA and Student AVMA members and will be selected from nominations, including self-nominations, received on or before July 1, 2013. Each invitee will be responsible for the cost of their travel and lodging in Rosemont, Ill. for the two-day symposium. Participants are eligible for 11 hours of continuing education credit.

To nominate yourself or a colleague for participation in The Conversation, please submit the following material on or before July 1, 2013:

Nominations should be emailed to or surface mailed to the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Ste. 100, Schaumburg, Illinois 60173. Nominees will be notified regarding their participation by September 1, 2013.

For more information about the AVMA, please visit