LMU vet students recognized by OIE for research on COVID-19 in animals

the summer research students led by Dr. Gary Vroegindewey, “catalogued over 1100 animal welfare-related reports and provided 48 report analysis and narratives for the working group."
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 8:12 PM EDT
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HARROGATE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recognized Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine students for their research on the effect of COVID-19 on animals.

According to a release from LMU, the summer research students led by Dr. Gary Vroegindewey “cataloged over 1100 animal welfare-related reports and provided 48 report analysis and narratives for the working group.”

The students under the supervision of faculty were able to successfully collect, analyze, and provide narratives on “a wide range of COVID-19 related issues across a range of animal groups.” The research topics included production, companion, wildlife, research and zoo animals.

“It is not often a student can say they conducted research ... in the midst of a global pandemic that could have a lasting impact on their field of study,” said LMU-CVM Dean Stacy Anderson. “We are grateful for the opportunity that OIE has given our students to be a part of this important project, and we are proud of the work they are doing to impact animal welfare in the future.”

LMU says researchers and scientists have been trying to better understand how the virus effects animals since the beginning of the pandemic- whether they can be infected and/or spread the disease. Researcher have found no evidence at this time that proves animals of any kind play a role in the transmission of the coronavirus, “However, misunderstanding has resulted in threats to animal welfare,” LMU reports.

“In addition, the measures taken to contain the disease have caused disruptions in many animal-related activities, such as shelters, zoos, riding schools, and institutes using laboratory animals. The food supply chain has been impacted by disrupted trade and changed consumption patterns, all having an impact on the food producing animals being farmed,” the release states.

LMU officials also say they believe the pandemic will effect animal care and ownership in the future, which is why EmVetNet, LMU, and many worldwide partners set up a Global Thematic Platform “to map the impact of COVID-19 on animal welfare, to observe trends, to identify lessons and share solutions found and best practices; in order to aid research, policies and future events.”

“The work of Lincoln Memorial University contributes greatly to our understanding of the impacts of animal welfare during emergencies. This informs our working group and our affiliated intergovernmental groups to issues involving legislation, policy, operations, best practices and economics to better address these issues for the benefit of the animal and society. The results of their contributions and the working group will go beyond the current pandemic and provide a framework to integrate animal welfare into future initiatives,” said Dr. Paolo Dalla Villa of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale,” a public health institute performing analytical work for the public veterinary services in the Abruzzo and Molise provinces of Italy.

According to LMU, the OIE represents 182 countries that focus on animal health, animal welfare, and veterinary public health.

LMU spokesperson, Summer Martin issued a correction to the release, which originally stated the school was recognized by the World Health Organization. It was updated to say LMU was recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

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