NEW YORK—Recognizing the need for continued education in the field of veterinary forensic sciences, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and the University of Florida’s Maples Center for Forensic Medicine today announced a new graduate program that will give students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science degree in Veterinary Forensic Sciences from the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, Fla.
The two-year program, which will begin in May 2014, will include courses that focus on pathology, osteology, animal law, and the intersection of farm animal welfare and the forensic sciences. Applications are currently being accepted.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for individuals who are looking to pursue careers in veterinary forensic science,” said forensic entomologist Dr. Jason Byrd, associate director of the University of Florida’s William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine. “The partnership between the University of Florida and the ASPCA has resulted in unparalleled access to the latest developments in this burgeoning field, including new technologies and improved methods of analysis and investigation.”
Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA senior vice president of forensic sciences and anti-cruelty projects, also praised the launch of the new program. “We’re seeing a stronger emphasis placed on forensics when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases, so these skills are becoming increasingly important for veterinarians, law enforcement personnel and other professionals,” said Lockwood. “We’re excited to be working with the University of Florida to offer this graduate-level education program, and continue to foster the application of forensic sciences to veterinary medicine.”
Members of the ASPCA’s forensic sciences team have provided invaluable assistance in numerous animal cruelty cases, including most recently overseeing evidence collection in a multi-state dog fighting investigation. Other notable cases include the rescuing of 175 dogs from a puppy mill in Hot Springs, Ark. and the removal of hundreds of fighting roosters in Fort Myers, Fla.
The ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program is the nation’s first such curriculum within an educational institution, and is dedicated to meeting the veterinary forensic science needs of individuals and agencies worldwide, including education, research and applied casework. In 2012, an online graduate certificate program in veterinary forensics was created to complement the traditional curriculum. Since the Program’s launch in 2009, the ASPCA has provided more than $1.6 million in grant funding to develop these initiatives.