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Published:June 27th, 2007 07:48 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Stephen L. Zawistowski, Ph.D, ASPCA

Judyth Piazza chats with Stephen L. Zawistowski, Ph.D, ASPCA

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

Educating Americans About Animal Abuse 

ASPCA Encourages Humane Education and Celebrates Animals at 2007 Bergh Book Awards With the recent increase in high-profile accounts of animal cruelty addressed in the media, we are consequently motivated to teach our children the edicts of Humane Education.  For over the past 15 to 20 years, a new element has been added to the organized world of dog fighting. More frequently, dogfights are informal, street corner and playground activities. Stripped of the rules and formality of the traditional pit fight, these are spontaneous events triggered by insults, turf invasions or the simple taunt, "My dog can kill yours." Many of the dogs are bred to be a threat not only to other dogs but to people as well, with tragic consequences.

One of the most powerful tools we have for preventing cruelty to animals is education. It is important to plant the seeds of kindness in children early, and to nurture their development as the child grows. Children not only need to learn what they shouldn't do, but also what they can and should do. When children see that their pets are happy and loving, it will make the child feel good, too. This in turn will help the children care for their pets' feelings. Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, executive vice president of the ASPCA and spokesperson for the Henry Bergh Book Awards, can address how one of the most powerful tools we have for preventing cruelty to animals is education.

The ASPCA’s vision for a humane community, in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness, is highlighted each year during the 2006 Henry Bergh Children’s Book Awards, which honors nine accomplished authors based on their exemplary handling animals as subject matter.

Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D., CAAB

Dr. Zawistowski, a certified applied animal behaviorist, chairs the Animal Behavior Society’s Board of Professional Certification. He was a founding board member and past president of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, serves on the Harmony Institute Community Advisory Board, the Scientific Advisory Committee of Humane Farm Animal Care, and the Scientific Advisory Panel of the World Society for the Protection of Animals. In 2003-04, Zawistowski served on the National Academy of Sciences—National Research Council Committee on a review of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park; in 2006, he will serve on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Recognition and Alleviation of Stress in Laboratory Animals. Zawistowski is also an adjunct professor at the University Of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine.

While at the ASPCA, he has authored, edited and consulted on more than 20 books on animals and pet care. Animal Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff, which he co-edited with Dr. Lila Miller, was published by Blackwell Publishing in 2004.  In early 2000, he appeared as the host of ASPCA Pet Check segments on PBS.  He has been published in a number of scientific journals, and is also the founding co-editor of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

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