Four Diversity Initiatives in Animal Behaviour, Dog Training, & Veterinary Medicine

Four current initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion that you might like to know about.

Diversity initiatives in animal behavior & dog training. Photo shows young black woman with happy Golden Retriever
Photo: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

By Zazie Todd, PhD

There are some encouraging moves to promote diversity at the moment. Here are four current or upcoming initiatives from the fields of dog training, veterinary medicine, and animal behaviour.

Black in Animal Behavior Week

Black in Animal Behavior Week started 23rd July as a prelude to the Animal Behavior Society’s 2020 virtual meeting. Follow the hashtag #BlackinAnimalBehavior on Twitter (note the American spelling) and get to know Black animal behavior scientists and what they do, complete with photos and videos of the species they study in the wild or in the lab. 

Black in Animal Behavior poster

Petition to the AVMA to address systemic racism in veterinary medicine

Ten groups have come together to create this petition which lists a set of specific demands to address racism in veterinary medicine. The organizations are the Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals, BlackDVM Network, Latinx Veterinary Medical Association, Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association, National Association for Black Veterinarians, Native American Veterinary Association, Pride Veterinary Medical Community, Veterinarians as One for an Inclusive Community for Empowerment, Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative.

At time of writing, over 2,000 people have signed.

BIPOC Scholarships from the Academy for Dog Trainers

The Academy for Dog Trainers is offering scholarships to aspiring dog trainers of colour. The deadline is 7th August and you can find out more here

Courageous Conversations Virtual Diversity Conference

The Virtual Diversity Conference takes place on the 14th and 15th August and is organized by the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society and the University of Surrey. Other participating groups include British Veterinary LGBT+, British Veterinary Chronic Illness Support, and Animal Aspirations. This is the first time a conference dedicated to diversity and equality in veterinary medicine is being held in the UK. 

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the best-selling author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband and two cats.

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