The first-ever animal welfare judging was held at Michigan State University as part of a pilot educational program.

The students were assigned to a computer to view different approaches to management of hogs, chickens, horses and dairy cattle. They rated the management styles for their impact on animal behavior. Each student then gave oral presentations to a panel of judges explaining their findings and the reasons for their conclusions.

Team livestock judging competitions are proven teaching tools, says Edmond Pajor, Purdue University assistant professor of animal sciences. He says applying this technique to animal welfare scenarios may be formalized as a program to increase awareness of management alternatives.

Competing were Purdue University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.