The University of Florida announces a new program teaching forensic science in the investigation and prosecution of crimes against animals. HealthNewsDigest.com referred to the new program as CSI: Animal Edition.
In partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the University of Florida announced plans to form the first Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program dedicated to forensic study of cruelty to animals. The ASPCA gifted UF $150,000 and promised support for the next three years.
“Over the last few years, the number and stringency of laws relating to animal cruelty has increased. Penalties can include extended prison time, such as in the high-profile dog fighting case involving professional football player Michael Vick. “That means the standards of investigations and of the science used in documenting what has happened to animals are much, much higher than even five years ago,” said Randall Lockwood, Ph.D., ASPCA senior vice president for anti-cruelty field services.”
“The new program at University of Florida will offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses and continuing education for veterinarians, law enforcement personnel, animal control officers and others. Courses include forensic entomology, buried-remains excavation, bloodstain pattern analysis, bite-mark analysis and animal crime scene processing. Trainings will be done in classroom settings, online and through the just-formed International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association.”
“One such course — to be offered next spring through the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine — will include seminars on various forensics topics, as well as a mock trial in which students will play the defendants in animal-cruelty cases. Real prosecutors and media professionals will take part to enhance the learning experience. Often, veterinarians presented with cases of animal abuse or neglect are not sure what to look for to establish cause and manner of death, or to prove that a crime was committed.”
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