UW-River Falls hosts farm animal welfare workshop for humane officers

June 4, 2018 - The University of Wisconsin-River Falls, in conjunction with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), hosted a two-day training workshop for humane officers, law enforcement and regulatory personnel May 23-24.

The training program focused on:

  • investigating farm animal cruelty cases and evidence collection
  • addressing farm animal cruelty complaints
  • humane euthanasia of sick and injured farm animals
  • safe and humane handling of farm animals. 

Nearly 35 attendees participated in the workshop held at UWRF’s Mann Valley Farm. UW-River Falls agricultural education graduate student Sara Odegard coordinated the event with funding provided by the ASPCA and a grant from Kraft Foods Group.

Day one of the workshop included classroom instruction by Bekah Weitz, Kyle Held and Nicole Eller of the ASPCA and Kurt Vogel, associate professor of animal and food science at UW-River Falls. The second day provided hands-on demonstrations of humane and safe handling of farm animals. 

“There is a definite need for training that appropriately addresses farm animals for humane enforcement personnel, Vogel said. “The purpose of the training was to provide guidance and tools that humane enforcement personnel could utilize to aid them as they approach farm animal complaints. Our goal was to provide guidance and material that would facilitate meaningful and appropriate outcomes for animals, owners and enforcement personnel.”

“The ASPCA is pleased to have collaborated with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on an invaluable training that helped empower local animal welfare professionals with the tools they need to further protect animal cruelty victims,” said Kyle Held, regional director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “This training was a crucial step toward enhancing response capabilities and saving the lives of even more animals in Wisconsin.”

Vogel was named the Kraft/Oscar Mayer Faculty Scholar of Livestock Welfare and Behavior at UW-River Falls in 2014. With generous funding from Oscar Mayer (part of The Kraft Heinz Company), Vogel has been able to develop new animal welfare courses at UWRF, support the UWRF Animal Welfare Judging Team and establish the UWRF Animal Welfare Lab in order to advance the development of animal welfare education and research.

For more information about the animal welfare program at UW-River Falls, visit

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