Animal welfare is topic for forum

URBANA — Animal welfare will be the focus of a free public forum being held next week.

Part of a series being sponsored by the Center for One Health Illinois at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, it will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. May 21 at VetMed's Basic Sciences Building, 2001 S. Lincoln Ave., U.

An expert panel will discuss the welfare of companion, farm, research and zoo animals, along with regulatory issues and public concerns.

Two of the speakers, Dr. Sheilah Robertson and Dr. Emily Patterson-Kane of the American Veterinary Medical Association, will focus on issues concerning companion animals, in particular dogs and cats, Robertson said.

They will focus on why there are so many unwanted animals in the U.S. and health issues for animals related to breeding, she said.

The bulldog is a classic example of a dog with health issues related to breeding, Robertson said.

Bulldogs can rarely give birth naturally, have breathing problems because they've been bred to have an abnormally-shaped skull and their screw tails embedded into their backs cause infections, she said.

Other speakers will include Dr. Mark Ernst, state veterinarian with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson and Dr. Vickie Jarrell, both with the UI College of ACES, and Dr. Tom Meehan, veterinarian with Brookfield Zoo.

There will be a question-and-answer session included in this session, and registration isn't required to attend.

Other sponsors of the lecture series include the UI College of Medicine, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, Global Health Initiative, Illinois Natural History Survey, UI McKinley Health Center, The News-Gazette and NewsTalk 1400 WDWS-AM.

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