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Becoming a Diplomate

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About The American College of Animal Welfare

The American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW) is a fully recognized as a veterinary specialty by the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

The mission of the American College of Animal Welfare is to advance animal welfare through education, certification, and scientific investigation. Diplomates of the American College of Animal Welfare are veterinarians with specialized training and experience. This mission is fulfilled through the application of specific knowledge listed in the Joint Task Analysis (JTA) document.

Ensuring good animal welfare is a crucial goal of veterinary medical practice since its inception. Recently, however, considerations of animal welfare have expanded exponentially and is now recognized as a specialty of veterinary medicine. ACAW has chartered in response to these deeper understandings of impactful nature of good animal welfare upon favorable outcomes in medicine and lifestyle. ACAW offers advanced animal welfare education and board certification to document veterinarians who have exercised focused efforts to ensure good animal welfare while the profession continues to lead in advancing animal welfare knowledge for the benefit of the public and the profession.

Veterinarians educated to an advanced level of animal welfare science and ethics are uniquely positioned to provide the public, veterinary professionals, and other stakeholders with evidence-based information and expertise. ACAW recognizes that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important for all professional associations and encourages all graduate veterinarians to consider seeking board certification in animal welfare.

As a veterinary specialty organization, the ACAW supports the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) and American Association of Veterinary Medical College's (AAVMC) efforts to promote these important values across veterinary medicine.

Important Information

ACAW Short Course: In-person and Virtual 
May 16-18, 2024, North Carolina State University 
Register here!

ACAW Webinars:  
Visit this YouTube link for the webinar about ACAW and how to become board-certified. For other information click here.
ACAW Credentials Applications Due November 1, 2023

Gaggle: ACAW hosts a monthly webinar on animal welfare topics. Designed for ACAW residents; any veterinarian is welcome to attend. Contact the ACAW secretary if you would like to receive notices. Topics include: Ethical Animal Welfare Dilemmas, Poultry Welfare, Housing Strategies for Rodents, How Fish Feel Pain

Recent ACAW Diplomate Awards

Dr. Andrew Knight
Murdoch University Distinguished Alumnus Award (December 2023)

Dr. Deb Hickman
AVMA Animal Welfare Award (June 2024)