Jeannine M. Berger, DVM, DACVB
Veterinarian & Behavior Specialist
San Francisco SPCA
Dr. Berger first obtained her veterinary degree in 1991 in Zurich, Switzerland. After graduation she worked at the University of Zurich and in private practice before moving to Davis, California in 1998. She completed her residency in veterinary behavior and attained board certification with the American College for Veterinary Behaviorists from UC Davis in 2007.
Dr. Berger is the only veterinarian in the country who has completed a veterinary specialty training program in animal behavior with an emphasis on small animal and horse behavior. She is an internationally renowned speaker, a well-published writer, and a seasoned educator on behavior sciences. Her professional interests include anxiety and aggression problems in dogs and cats, as well as addressing both repetitive behaviors and unruly behavior problems such as jumping, barking, chewing, digging, and many others.
Dr. Berger focuses on strengthening the human-animal bond by helping owners understand and manage their animal’s unwanted behavior. Outside of treating her own patients, she encourages people to turn to their veterinarian for behavioral advice. When miscommunication and problems are addressed early-on, the likelihood for a “happily ever after” relationship increases.
Richard E. Breitmeyer, DVM, MPVM
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Dr. Breitmeyer is the formerly California state veterinarian, and is now the director of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory system headquartered at the University of California, Davis. The laboratory system is a partnership between the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, providing veterinarians and livestock and poultry producers throughout the state with rapid, reliable diagnoses of animal diseases. The system operates labs in Tulare, Turlock and San Bernardino, as well as at UC Davis.
The lab has played a prominent role during recent years in conducting surveillance for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease), West Nile virus, H1N1 influenza and exotic Newcastle disease, and in testing seafood from the gulf oil spill and pet food for chemical contamination. Issues of disease management and animal welfare have been a focus of Dr. Breitmeyer.
Ria de Grassi, BS, MS
California Farm Bureau Federation
Ria de Grassi is the Director of Livestock, Animal Health and Welfare for the California Farm Bureau Federation, a non-governmental, non-profit, voluntary membership organization whose purpose is to protect and promote agricultural interests throughout California and to find solutions to the problems of the farm and rural community. She joined the staff in 1987. Ms. de Grassi grew up on a small sheep farm and later lived and worked on a Romney sheep and mixed-crop farm in New Zealand. She speaks on animal welfare topics to a variety of audiences at the local to international level and is involved in a number of committee activities and special projects designed to protect or advance the care and well-being of farm animals. She chaired the National Institute for Animal Agriculture's Task Force on the Emergency Euthanasia of Livestock and Poultry, a national effort in the 1990's to develop educational materials on the appropriate and legal methods of euthanizing farm animals. She recently finished serving seven years as the vice chair of the U.S. Animal Health Association's Committee on Animal Welfare. Ms. de Grassi earned her BS, with honors, in agricultural science and management in 1983 and her MS in animal science in 1987, both from UC Davis. She is a recipient of the 1993 Award of Distinction from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Joy Mench, PhD
Center for Animal Welfare
UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Joy Mench is a professor in the Department of Animal Science and director of the Center for Animal Welfare at UC Davis. Dr. Mench conducts research on the welfare of animals. She has served on numerous committees and boards related to farm and laboratory animal welfare, including the animal welfare advisory committees of the Maple Leaf Farms, the United Egg Producers, McDonald's, Safeway, Humane Certified, and the Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants; National Research Council Committees on Animal Biotechnology and the Use of Mammals in Neuroscience and Behavioral Research; the Livestock Welfare Working Group of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE); the UN Food and Agricultural Organization Expert Committee on Capacity Building to Implement Good Animal Welfare Practices; and the Council on Accreditation of the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. She also chaired the revision of the First Revised Edition of the Federation of Animal Science Societies' Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching, and has served as a section editor for the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science and Animal Welfare. She was president of the International Society for Applied Ethology from 1998-2000, and is currently a scientific advisor to the European Union's Welfare Quality Assurance project and a member of the Broiler Welfare Guidelines Working Group for the OIE. She is the recipient of the Humane Society of the United States Animals and Society Teaching Award (2001), the Poultry Science Association's Poultry Welfare Research Award (2004), and the University of California, Davis Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award (2007).
Michael Payne, DVM
Outreach Program Coordinator
Holding doctorates in veterinary medicine and comparative Ppthology, Dr. Payne has served as a private practitioner, an instructor in clinical medicine and a Dairy Specialist in UC Cooperative Extension. Payne is the outreach coordinator for the University of California's Western institute of Food Safety and Security, where his current major areas of outreach and research include livestock mortality disposal, sustainable dairy practices and livestock welfare. He also serves as director of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program an industry, regulatory and academic collaboration for applied research and outreach that has won numerous awards, including Governor Schwarzenegger's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2007.
Cassandra Tucker, PhD
UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Cassandra Tucker , Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis. She earned her B.S. in Animal Science and Management at UC Davis and completed her Ph.D. in Animal Science at the University of British Columbia. Research in Tucker's laboratory focuses on assessment and improvement of animal welfare. She is particularly interested in how the behavior of dairy cattle changes in response to controversial procedures (e.g. tail docking, disbudding); management decisions (e.g. stocking density); and housing design, to include the type and quantity of free-stall bedding, effects of inclement weather and other considerations. Tucker is a member of the graduate groups in Animal Behavior and Animal Biology.
Annette M. Whiteford, DVM
Director - Animal Health and Food Safety Services
Dr. Whiteford graduated with honors from U.C. Davis with a degree in Economics and worked as a business manager for a defense contractor and an engineering firm for the first eight years of her career, after which she returned to U.C. Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, and again graduated at the top of her class. After practicing as a private veterinarian for three years, she joined the California Department of Food and Agriculture in 2001. She participated in California’s foot and mouth disease prevention and preparedness efforts in 2001, avian influenza control and eradication in 2002, and Exotic Newcastle disease eradication in 2002 and 2003. She consistently demonstrated an ability to work cooperatively with other government agencies, the public, and industry as seen during emergency animal disease planning efforts at the local, State, and Federal level. Dr. Whiteford showed her willingness to accept challenge during the response to Exotic Newcastle disease in Southern California, where she was the Incident Commander and Area Commander for the State. The response involved multiple local, State, and Federal agencies with up to 1,500 people on the ground at one time. On July 1, 2004, Dr. Whiteford was appointed Director of the Animal Health and Food Safety Services. In this capacity, she oversees an annual budget of $45.5 million and 222 employees engaged in programs for animal health, milk and dairy food safety, meat and poultry inspection, and livestock identification. She also works closely with the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, which is operated by U.C. Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, under a contract with her Division. In this capacity, she has implemented organizational changes to meet the demands of shrinking budgets yet remain effective in the most critical mission areas; was part of the management team for several disease outbreaks and food and feed contamination events; provided radio and television interviews in support of farmers and ranchers and the work done to maintain a vibrant and safe food supply; collaborated with federal, state and local agencies; and provided testimony at several legislative sessions. In September of 2010, besides continuing to perform as Director, Dr. Whiteford was appointed State Veterinarian, the position ultimately responsible for the State’s veterinary authority on animal health and food safety related to livestock and poultry.
Michael Ziccardi, DVM, MPVM, PhD
Oiled Wildlife Care Network/Wildlife Health Center
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Ziccardi received his DVM, MPVM, and PhD in epidemiology from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, emphasizing wildlife health and the effects of petroleum exposure in wildlife. He has been an oil spill response veterinarian and coordinator since 1996, responding to more than 20 spills in the US and abroad. He has acted as a contract veterinarian for California Department of Fish and Game, as well as program coordinator, assistant director, and senior wildlife veterinarian for California's Oiled Wildlife Care Network at the Wildlife Health Center, UC Davis. Dr. Ziccardi is the director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network and serves as an associate professor of clinical wildlife health at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.