VHS to present research at the National Animal Welfare Conference

We are excited to announce that we are a part of this year’s virtual National Animal Welfare Conference (NAWC) hosted by Humane Canada!

On April 8th, 2021, VHS’s Lead Researcher Celeste Morales will present alongside our research partner from Thompson Rivers University Dr. Rochelle Stevenson. The interactive session is titled Program Design and Staff Training for Decolonized &  Trauma-Informed Service Delivery

Celeste and Dr. Stevenson will discuss our current research project. This project explores how animal seizure, surrender, and outreach practices can be updated to reflect a One Welfare, decolonized, and trauma-informed approach. 

Unfortunately, under current service structures structurally vulnerable persons may be re-traumatized by common service delivery practices. Animal welfare is at risk when new animals are acquired with the same neglect issues occurring as the ones experienced by the surrendered or seized animals. The aim of this project is to establish a knowledge base for avoiding the re-traumatization of structurally vulnerable persons, and provide tools to support animal service agencies in combatting this cycle

This presentation will discuss the results of our research and offer  four key takeaways for animal service providers:

 1) How to implement a trauma-informed approach when assisting structurally vulnerable folks (e.g. focusing on pet retention through intake diversion rather than rehoming);

2) How to build an outreach-first and prevention-based model (e.g. through community engagement/collaboration);

3) How to update the practices and processes of addressing animal neglect to ensure cultural awareness, sensitivity, and safety  (e.g. best practices and suggested policies);

 4) How to better address staff experiences of compassion fatigue and burnout, which in the absence of a trauma-informed approach to service provision, can contribute to the re-traumatization of clients (e.g. by updating mental health policies and resources available to staff). 

The presentation will also allow participants to jump start the process of an organization transformation plan by engaging in active exercises. Workshop participants will also gain early access to the pilot training program for their organizations. 

We hope to see you there!