We are back! Animal Care Expo celebrates 30th anniversary in person A Humane World

Animal Care Expo covers both general topics and the more common details of daily animal welfare work, offering something for everyone on a wide range of issues. Nataba/iStock.com

After more than two years of a pandemic testing our patience and resolve, forcing us to find new ways to work and socialize, and making us yearn for a normal life, there are finally signs of spring, among which our return to hosting Animal Care Expo in person this year.

We are thrilled to be able to bring people together again, especially those working on the front lines of animal welfare, who have certainly felt the pain of the pandemic as well as its ongoing fallout. Whether it’s animal protection and control officers responding to complaints from the public, rescue group volunteers trapping community cats so they can be spayed or neutered, or a shelter that matches adoptable animals with potential new families, they have all faced unique challenges over the past two years. COVID protocols. The pandemic has forced the field to adapt: ​​vet consultations, behavioral trainings and humane education sessions have gone virtual, shelters have devised ways for volunteers to help from home, foster families have mobilized to help empty the shelter kennels, and so on.

Now, with nearly 70% of the US population fully immunized and the number of cases falling, we are ready to take our own step forward in returning to normal. After being held virtually for the past two years, our Animal Care Expo will make its triumphant return at an in-person conference to celebrate its 30e anniversary. The event is scheduled for April 19-22 in Orlando, Florida.

Animal Care Expo is the largest international educational conference and trade show for animal welfare professionals and volunteers. Over 1,500 attendees are expected to join us in Orlando. Participants from all aspects of animal welfare will come together from around the world to learn about the latest programs, share best practices, find inspiration and make lasting connections. As always, the conference features an international trade show promoting the latest pet care products and services from a wide range of exhibitors.

I will join in the festivities and look forward to the chance to meet and chat with people who do the often underappreciated but crucial field work in animal welfare. Expo attendees include shelter staff, veterinarians and veterinary technicians, animal care and control officers, dog trainers, rescue group volunteers, human educators, animal rehabilitators, wildlife and emergency responders. Together, these largely unsung heroes form the backbone of our movement, all working to keep animals and communities safe, healthy and happy.

I am especially delighted to welcome our keynote speaker, the “mother of shelter medicine”, Dr. Lila Miller. Veterinarian and expert in shelter medicine, Dr. Miller will share her insights on the diversity in the field and the value of embracing change to improve animal and human well-being.

Animal Care Expo is successful in large part because it addresses both general topics and the more common details of day-to-day animal welfare work, offering something for everyone on a wide range of issues. Looking for advice on gathering evidence in an animal cruelty case? Keeping people and their pets together during a housing crisis? Developing a treatment protocol for canine distemper? Stay positive in the face of negative social networks? Fighting Puppy Mills? Write better grant applications? All of these topics, and many more, are on the program for our 30e Anniversary Expo.

Like many other organizations, HSUS places greater emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion as we work to make our estate larger and more welcoming. I am pleased that the lineup for Animal Care Expo’s 2022 sessions reflects these concerns. Two members of our HSUS family will present on creating a more inclusive animal welfare movement, and other sessions will bring participants together to explore how we can better serve all of the people who make up our communities and learn from those doing incredible work in places where we don’t always hear about. Amplifying voices that may have been dismissed in the past and understanding the impact of differential access to care, resources and information on our movement will help us do better for animals and the people who love them. .

Beyond all the educational opportunities, our first in-person exposure in three years offers something just as important: the opportunity for personal contact and face-to-face (or at least mask to mask) interactions. I look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones at this year’s event. But if you find you can’t attend in person, know that Animal Care Expo 2022 is a hybrid event, with select sessions and the general sessions (main stage) broadcast live to a virtual audience. Our entire Humane Society International Track focused on global issues will be virtual.

Working on behalf of animals can be a lonely, even painful undertaking. You see families separated from their pets because they can’t find animal-friendly housing or access veterinary care, deal with budgets that could always be bigger, and deal with audiences that sometimes don’t does not understand or appreciate your work. The pandemic may have left you feeling even more isolated, but meeting and chatting with your peers at Animal Care Expo can help you remember that you are not alone.


Animal Care & Rescue, Pets

Boyd S. Abbott