(Subject to Change)
After a brief introduction, this opening session will highlight the groundbreaking work of World Animal Protection to expose the illegal trade in African grey parrots. Despite international protections through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), parrots remain some of the most threatened birds. The wild population of African grey parrots in Ghana has declined by an estimated 90 to 99 percent since the 1990s. Social media plays an increasingly prominent role in the exploitation of wild animals, and the trade in African grey parrots is no exception. This presentation will take attendees through the investigation into the capture and trafficking of these beautiful birds through the key air transit hub in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo on Turkish Airlines’ airplanes. This investigation revealed the lengths to which traffickers will go, including how they capture the birds, methods to smuggle birds and the deaths of many of these birds in transit. It will also explore the evidence uncovered as a result of a four-year study of social media posts and public databases to develop new insights into the scope and scale of trade, trade routes, modes of transport and the extent of compliance with national laws and international agreements. Finally, it will explore why African grey parrots do not make good pets from the animal welfare and conservation perspective.
Wildlife? Companion animal? Some Minnesota animals, such as wolf-dogs, Bengal cats and parrots, are caught between their drives to behave as they are genetically programmed to be – wild – and the expectations of owners purchasing them as “pets,” sometimes paying thousands to acquire them. These animals also fall outside normal categories when it comes to funding and the focus of animal welfare organizations, with some targeting solely wildlife, companion animals or captive wildlife. Wolf-dogs, Bengal cats and captive “pet” parrots don’t fit neatly in any of those boxes, as usually defined. Attendees will hear about some of the issues facing these Minnesota animals who occupy the unique space “in between.”
The historic paradigms of public animal control agencies are shifting as leaders and officers are developing a new community service-minded approach. Using data to allocate limited resources in areas of high need, animal control units are focusing on community outreach and assisting people in solving their problems. Using examples from animal control departments across the country, this session will discuss both how traditional animal control is changing, as well as how society is adapting in how they view animals and animal control. Emphasis is placed on analyzing community data to develop targeted outreach services which arm officers with resources and supplies to help citizens successfully care for their pets. Similar to the Community Policing Model used in law enforcement, animal control agencies are taking a holistic approach to improving the lives of animals in their communities, both inside and outside of the sheltering system.
No matter where they’re working or what they’re working on, most non-profit animal welfare organizations need more funding to achieve their goals. But they also can benefit from different types of support—some, but not all, involving money—that offer greater flexibility, strengthen their internal capacity and resilience, and create more opportunities for leverage and impact. You’ll learn from speakers, the broader philanthropic sector and each other about ways to make your grants more flexible and effective when possible, and to support your partners beyond the grant dollars by using your voice, brand, networks and other assets.
Framed through the lens of historical oppression and present-day experiences of Native Americans, this session will deepen your understanding of how systemic inequity and institutional bias impacts indigenous communities and perpetuates a lack of access to pet resources. You will hear how to break through individual and organizational barriers to build meaningful relationships that center on Native-led strategies supported by animal welfare allies. Finally, you will listen to what activities are currently being done to produce inclusive, sustainable outcomes in partnership with Native communities.
An estimated 500,000 animals or more are brought to wildlife rehabilitators each year in the United States. Care centers range from large operations with medical staff and equipment to solo rehabilitators working out of their homes. This session will provide an overview of the sector, its challenges and current efforts to advance practices in order to improve animal welfare and outcomes for injured, sick and displaced wildlife.
How many cats and dogs enter our nation’s animal shelters? For the first time, we are close to having an accurate answer to that question. We will take a lunchtime look at data collected by Shelter Animals Count (SAC) along with background on how the National Shelter Database came to life.
SAC collects standardized intake and outcome data of cats and dogs at animal shelters and rescue organizations across the United States. By the end of 2018, more than half (54%) of U.S. counties were represented in the Shelter Animals Count National Database. Almost every participating shelter (99%) chose to make their data transparent. Animal shelters and rescue organizations are demonstrating a growing commitment to collect, use and share their data.
SAC publishes the dataset quarterly into interactive data visualization dashboards available to the public. SAC also makes the data available to support efforts by researchers and educators to clarify the state of animal welfare, and to create a substantial body of knowledge in the field.
SAC is an independent, collaborative, first-of-its-kind organization that is home to the National Database of Sheltered Animal Statistics. The National Database has data from 2011 – 2019, self-reported by thousands of organizations across the country.
Grantmakers across program areas have long struggled with the inherent tension between ensuring that donor dollars are directed toward relatively safe investments in the name of responsible stewardship on one hand, and potentially achieving extraordinary impact in the face of unusually formidable challenges on the other. Often, the pendulum swings toward tried-and-true approaches and risk-avoidance in order to maximize the predictability of desired outcomes and minimize potential failures, resulting in missed opportunities to advance change that can be truly transformative.
This session will feature real-world case studies from two experienced and courageous Animal Grantmakers members who each took a significant calculated risk with a funding decision that proved to be well worth the gamble. Learn about the circumstances that compelled these practitioners to take a leap of faith, their approaches to managing the risks involved, the obstacles they contended with along the way, the end results of their efforts and what they learned from their experiences.
The vast majority of animals raised for food in the U.S. –and increasingly abroad –live out their days in crowded, unsanitary factory farms, where harm spills over into surrounding rural communities, creating myriad public health, social and economic problems. The movement for animal agriculture reform must be inclusive of stakeholders across sectors and approaches, focused on the roots of the problem, and responsive to shifting cultural and political landscapes. You will hear from members of the Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative about how AARC sets the stage for dynamic collaboration on innovative legal strategies for stronger animal, public health and environmental protections; campaigns to reverse policies that prop up factory farms at the state and national levels; and, organizing and communications strategies that build long-term political power and shift the goal posts in the battle for hearts and minds.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) aims to conserve birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC focuses on halting the extinction of the most threatened species, managing habitat to conserve more widespread but declining species and eliminating or reducing mortality sources that kill large numbers of birds annually. ABC has had much success in these goals by creating a network of protected areas conserving more than one million acres for many of the rarest species, affecting the management of more than six million acres in the United States to conserve habitat for declining species and reducing mortality from pesticides, collisions with communications towers and other threats. This talk will focus on illustrating the success ABC has achieved with partners to prevent the extinction and increase populations of some of the rarest and most beautiful wild parrot species in Latin America. For example, ABC’s Latin American Reserve Network protects habitat supporting 96 species of parrots, including two critically endangered species, 11 endangered species and 16 vulnerable species. Examples of ABC’s work on species, including the Lear’s Macaw, Blue-throated Macaw, Red-fronted Macaw, Gray-breasted Parakeet, El Oro Parakeet, Santa Marta Parakeet, Indigo-winged Parrot and Yellow-eared Parrot, will demonstrate its success in establishing reserves for parrots to protect their habitat, use of artificial nest boxes to boost reproduction, and social outreach to engage local communities in conservation and reduce take of wild birds for feathers and pet trade. ABC and partners are working to continue this success, and next steps for species such as the Lilacine Amazon will also be presented.
Companion animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers can be on the front lines for outbreaks of highly contagious diseases. Some, such as distemper, are more common, are sometimes linked to long-distance transfers between shelters and previously led to automatic euthanasia. Others, such as avian influenza (in both birds and cats), canine brucellosis and West Nile virus, are less common but present enormous risks, including the possibility of being zoonotic (i.e., infecting humans).
This session will cover advancements in treatment for both common and unusual outbreaks in companion animals, including potentially zoonotic cases that have involved extensive quarantine. It will also provide background on certain infections that have presented a potential intersection of risks for wildlife, commercially bred birds and humans, along with lessons learned about developing protocols and plans at wildlife rehabilitation centers in advance of such events.
“We have not been directly exposed to the trauma scene, but we hear the story told with such intensity, or we hear similar stories so often, or we have the gift and curse of extreme empathy and we suffer. We feel the feelings of our clients. We experience their fears. We dream their dreams. Eventually, we lose a certain spark of optimism, humor and hope. We tire. We aren’t sick, but we aren’t ourselves.”–C. Figley, 1995
Compassion fatigue has been described as the cost of caring. It is also known as “secondary-traumatic stress disorder” (STSD). The symptoms of STSD can vary widely, including hostility, extreme burnout, addictions, physical symptoms or PTSD. Commonly in public discourse, compassion fatigue is portrayed as leading to depression and thoughts of suicide, which is certainly one outcome. The first ever mental health survey for veterinarians revealed that one in six of them have contemplated suicide, though causes may vary. A recent study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reveals that animal rescue workers have a suicide rate of 5.3 in 1 million workers. This is the highest suicide rate among American workers; a rate shared only by firefighters and police officers. The national suicide average for American workers is 1.5 per 1 million.
Lindsay Oliver, VP, Investigations, Mercy for Animals, will share how they define compassion fatigue and what has been implemented organizationally to prevent, recognize and treat it. Melanie Goble, DVM, Board Member, Not One More Vet, will discuss compassion fatigue’s role in the rising level of suicides by veterinarians, and other causes, such as moral distress, online bullying and financial pressures; and resources available. Lise Van Susteren, M.D., Board Certified: General and Forensic Psychiatry, will discuss our unique relationships with nature and animals and how we might realize healing and wellbeing through our kinship rather than unendurable pain.
Please check back soon for session details.
Animal Humane Society (AHS) has four shelter locations, one community outreach/veterinary center, and a for-profit boarding business, Now Boarding, in the Twin Cities metro area. AHS touches and impacts the lives of more than 100,000 animals annually. A customer-centric approach to adoptions and surrenders is integral to the work AHS does every day, focusing on extraordinary customer service and interactions.
You’ll get to explore AHS’s lifesaving mission through a guided tour of its Golden Valley location. Each year, AHS cares for more than 23,000 animals in need —all while expanding services, creating innovative new approaches and charting a bold path forward. You’ll see traditional animal housing alongside innovative alternatives such as AHS’s pioneering dog habitat prototype, which allows dogs to exhibit a full range of natural behaviors, including socialization and play. One level below the adoption center, you’ll see how animal care and behavior staff get animals ready for adoption, and how AHS Veterinary Center’s experts help the community with high quality, low cost veterinary services. Finally, you’ll get an inside look at how investing in expanded behavior programs, advanced medical treatments, and partnerships with rescue organizations has led to better outcomes for more animals than ever before.