Animal programs

Congratulations to the winners of the Animal Welfare and Human-Animal Bond Awards

Please join the AVMA community in congratulating and honoring the three recipients of the AVMA Awards of Excellence related to animal welfare and the human-animal bond.

  • Dr. Dani McVety-Leinen: Bustad Companion Animal Vet of the Year Award
  • Dr. Patricia Turner: AVMA Animal Welfare Award
  • Suzanne Millman, Ph.D.: AVMA Humane Award

The awards were announced as part of the AVMA’s celebration of National Pet Week®, which takes place the first full week of May each year. They are supported by educational funding from Merck Animal Health.

Dr. Dani McVety-Leinen, Founder and CEO, Lap of Love

Dr. McVety-Leinen, a pioneer in end-of-life care, founded Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice in Florida in 2009 and grew it into a national network that has served nearly 500,000 families.

With her Lap of Love team, she has revolutionized the care of geriatric pets, the terminal management of terminal illnesses, and the management of veterinary euthanasia. Lap of Love recently created a new Pet Loss Assistance Team to support and assist those grieving the loss of a pet.

Learn more about Dr. McVety-Leinen’s work and the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year award.

Dr. Patricia Turner, Vice President of Global Animal Welfare, Charles River Laboratories

Dr. Turner was nominated to receive the Animal Welfare Award for her decades of work dedicated to improving the welfare of farmed and laboratory animals through teaching, training, service, research , advocacy and policy development.

Dr. Turner’s passion for animal welfare education and training runs deep, and she has dedicated countless volunteer hours to promoting the ethical treatment of animals in science. As an educator, she has trained hundreds of veterinary peers and students and developed three renowned graduate programs for veterinarians specializing in laboratory animal science.

In addition to her work with Charles River, she is Professor Emeritus and Applied Scientist in Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph and the Campbell Center for the Study of Animal Welfare.

Learn more about Dr. Turner and the AVMA Animal Welfare Award.

Suzanne Millman, PhD, Professor of Animal Welfare, Iowa State University

Millman’s work has been hugely influential in shaping scientific understanding of how farm animals express pain and distress, how we recognize them, and the importance of finding practical, affordable and effective ways to alleviate them.

Among her accomplishments, she has helped shape agricultural animal producers’ considerations of sick and injured animals, and the opportunities to manage, mitigate, and avoid suffering in their animal care practices. His published work includes over 80 peer-reviewed articles on animal welfare, including ethical and scientific issues, and various aspects of animal behavior under environmental conditions.

Learn more about his work and the AVMA Humane Award.

The AVMA Excellence Awards program recognizes achievement in all aspects of veterinary medicine. The program honors the breadth of veterinary medicine, the diversity of veterinary careers, and the many ways in which veterinary professionals protect animal and human health.