Ethical Treatment Of Prisoners Essay Contest

“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

There have been three major violent attacks in the United States in the past six weeks. A shooter in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured 546 others attending a music festival. In another attack, in New York City, a man murdered eight people and injured 12 using a rented truck from Home Depot to plow into them. Last Sunday, a man killed 26 and injured 20 people attending Sunday services at a church in a small town in Texas. As humans sharing the world, it is hard to believe how commonplace violence is, whether in the form of a “lone shooter” or as an “act of terrorism.” Instead of feeling the shock and horror we should, we have almost become numb in reaction to these outrageous and revolting events.

As a 17-year-old, I have never known a time in America where there wasn’t violence. I was just 1 year old when the 9/11 attacks happened. I have lived through many acts of violence, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012. That same year, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African- American from Florida, was fatally shot, ironically, by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Whether it’s a mass attack, mass shooting or the killing of one person, the action is violence and the result is the same—death. And we are left asking ourselves, “Why?” What can we do about it?

As teens, we don’t have to feel powerless. There are things we can do. One thing we can do is to raise awareness about religion and racism. Interfaith programs at our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples can help promote goodwill and understanding through diversity. By seeing that we share faith in a higher power and working together for the greater good, we promote understanding. Programs like Harvard University’s The Pluralism Project runs the Interfaith Youth Leadership Coalition in the St. Paul, Minn., area, where “teens work together to nurture interfaith understanding, reduce prejudice and misunderstanding, and act together on common values through service and justice to transform their worlds. In the process, these young people are empowered to be capable interfaith leaders, both within their own communities and beyond.” This program includes many community-based events like a gardening service as well as leadership workshops for the teens. Having more programs like this one, throughout the United States and the world, will help cultivate more understanding leadership and promote greater understanding among different religions.

Teens can also raise awareness of gun violence. Events such as Seattle, Washington’s “Teens Against Guns Youth Summit,” hosted by the Atlantic Street Center, are a way to bring teens together to actively support the anti-gun movement at a grassroots level. Programs like these can help empower teens to help them realize they can be proactive in ending the cycle of violence.

Another way teens can use their voice to denounce violence and terror is through social media. When she was challenged by another student to prove there were Muslims who condemned violence in the name of Islam, Heraa Hashmi, a 19-year-old college student at the University of Colorado Boulder, decided to make a list of all the Muslim groups that did. According to a November 2016 Teen Vogue article, “ The result was Worldwide Muslims Condemn List — a spreadsheet with 5,720 instances of Muslim groups and leaders denouncing various acts of terrorism.” Her Twitter account generated 12,000 re-tweets and the list has been made into an interactive website called Her idea led to a resource for anyone to access the information.

Whether coming together in an interfaith group, rallying at an anti-gun youth summit or using social media to create awareness against violence, teens have a voice. Gun violence and terror attacks need to end in my generation. Maybe Mr. Rogers (Fred Rogers), said it best: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ” We, as teens, need to be those helpers.


Student Essay Contest  

Founded in 1994, The Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics (SVME) seeks to promote thoughtful and respectful public discussion on ethical issues arising in, and relevant to, the practice of veterinary medicine. In that effort, the SVME has long recognized the importance of student participation and development in the field of veterinary ethics, and so, it has been pleased to host an annual student essay contest.

The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, a division of Mars Petcare, has graciously sponsored the SVME essay contest since 2006. That tradition continues this year. Waltham will be offering for the GRAND PRIZE (Alice Villalobos Student Essay Award) a $1,000.00 cash award and another $1,000.00 for travel expenses for the GRAND PRIZE winner to attend the 2018 VMX Convention, February 3-7, 2018, in Orlando, Florida  to present the winning essay in the SVME Plenary Session. The winning essay will also be posted on the SVME website.  We at SVME take this opportunity to thank Waltham and, in particular, Dr. Karyl J. Hurley, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA of Mars Petcare Global Scientific Affairs for their continued support of the student essay contest.


Student Essay Contest Topic for 2018


Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and the Future of our Profession:

Burnout is common in all medical professions but their presence has been growing in veterinary medicine.  It no longer is a problem of the senior veterinarian but is occurring in young veterinarians with less than a decade of practice life behind them.  Coupled to burnout is ethics fatigue and compassion fatigue.  These very serious problems and can be linked to burnout. It effects our ability to be able to treat the patients we see each day.


What happens to our profession if we do not recognize and seek treatment for ethical and compassion fatigue?

     Winning essay and other essays of significant merit will be posted on the SVME web site. 

Contest Eligibility

The 2018 SVME WALTHAM Student Essay Contest is open to any student enrolled at an institution of higher learning (post-secondary) at the time of essay submission.

General Essay Requirements

1) Essay must be an original work of the student that addresses the assigned topic.

2) Essay must be composed in Times New Roman font using the #12 font size, double-spaced, and with 1-inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right).

3) Essay must include a title page that includes identifying information (student name, school, degree program, date of submission, and student email address). All other pages must be free of content that might indicate the author’s identity or institutional affiliation.

4) Not including the title page or endnotes, essay will not exceed 3,000 words in length. Beginning with the first page of text, pages should be numbered sequentially with the page number placed at the top right corner.

5) Essay must be composed in English with attention given to proper spelling, grammar and syntax.

6) A quality essay will critically engage the ideas, viewpoints, and investigations of others who have published on the subject. Quotations and unique facts must be documented using endnotes formatted according to the style used in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (see the Journal’s online instruction for authors at the following website address:

7) Essay must be delivered via email attachment as anAdobe ‘pdf’ documentto Ms. Beckie Mossor, RVT, Chair of SVME Student Essay Committee ( later than January 1, 2018. Use the following title in the subject line of the email: “last name, first name: 2018 SVME Essay Contest”

Criteria for Selection

Essays are primarily evaluated using the following criteria:

1) Students should develop a position (pro or con) on the question posed in the Topic (see above) through sound and compelling arguments.

2) Essays should evidence research of the topic and an awareness of opposing views.

3) Length of essay, style, clarity, organization, coherence

4) Formatting, spelling, grammar and punctuation


All entries meeting eligibility requirements stated above compete for the GRAND PRIZE (The “Alice Villalobos Student Essay Award”), which consists of a certificate of recognition, a cash prize of $1000.00 (US), posting of the winning essay on the SVME website, and $1000.00 (US) maximum stipend for travel expenses to attend the 2018 VMX Convention in Orlando, FL Feb 3-7, 2018, to present the winning essay in the SVME Plenary Session.

Honorable Mention Essays: SVME may also recognize and post on its website non-winning essays of notable merit. No cash prize is awarded Honorable Mention essays.

*Either award may bypass if submitted entries are judged to be of insufficient merit.

Contact Information

Direct correspondence to Ms. Beckie Mossor, RVT, SEC Committee Chair via email at


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2018 Award Winner

Alice Villalobos Award:  

Adeyemi Abraham, University of Ilorin; Ilorin, Nigeria

Previous Award Winners

2017 Lisa Uhl, Iowa State University (Villalobos Award)

2015 Emma Svenson, Univ. of Wisconsin (Villalobos Award)
         Christie E. Kershaw, Alfred State College (VTS Award)

2014 Sara K. Shivapour, Iowa State University (Villalobos Award)
 Juliana Marcie, Carrington College (VTS Award)

2013 Kendra L. Bauer, University of Wisconsin
         Marc Taylor, Northern Virginia Community College (VTS Award)               

2012Michael J. White, Kansas State University

2011Kristin Willer, Iowa State University

2010Kristin Tvrdik, Iowa State University

2009Megan (Watland) Schommer, University of Minnesota

2008Danielle Irving, North Carolina State University

2007Christine Ehlers, Iowa State University

2006Gwendolen Reyes-Illg, University of Florida


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