Recognizing and Understanding Bias for the Animal Welfare Professional

Recognizing and Understanding Bias for the Animal Welfare Professional
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-06-27
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Recognizing and Understanding Bias for the Animal Welfare Professional
Unit 2 Transcript: Recognizing and Understanding Bias for the Animal Welfare Professional
Unit 3 Workbook: Recognizing and Understanding Bias for the Animal Welfare Professional
Unit 4 Recording: Recognizing and Understanding Bias for the Animal Welfare Professional

Biases based on our upbringing, beliefs, and worldview influence how we interact with others. For those in the public service profession who deal with people across different walks of life, these biases shape how the job is carried out. This webinar explores biases and cynicism – how they develop and their unconscious influence on our decisions and actions, and how to overcome or work around them with awareness of these variables.

Leading the conversation is Jace Huggins, he has been an enforcement officer and animal care professional for more than 15 years, serving in a diverse set of roles with agencies throughout California. He is currently the Vice President and Chief of Humane Law Enforcement at the San Diego Humane Society and is a board member of the National Animal Care and Control Association.

Points covered in this webinar include:

  • A case example of two welfare calls and how implicit bias shaped the officer’s decisions and actions on each one.
  • The complex functions of the brain and how its tendency to create shortcuts to maximize efficiency account for the creation of our biases.
  • Differentiating between conscious and unconscious bias and dealing with unconscious bias better by understanding what it is and what it is not.
  • How idealistic motivations at the start of one’s career in public service can get lost due to stress and changes which can ultimately result in biases and negative feelings such as distrust and feeling disrespected which leads to demotivation, burnout, and PTSD, among others.
  • Procedural justice: Its four tenets, the importance of acting according to these tenets, how it results in legitimacy and voluntary compliance, and how it can combat the negativity that is created through time.
  • Unpacking each of the tenets of procedural justice – what they look like, how to practice them, and how it benefits your agency, the community, and the animals.
  • How trust is built, and the elements of character and competence required to be deemed trustworthy.
  • Solutions to work around biases and uphold procedural justice in the animal welfare profession through reduced time pressure, initiatives that decrease stress and fatigue, emphasizing the value of training, encouraging accountability and purpose, and striving for diversity.
  • The Good Samaritan study that highlights how the perception of time can affect our decisions and actions.
  • Cynicism: What it is, how it develops and creates a vicious cycle, and how it manifests in animal welfare.
  • Cynicism as a trauma coping mechanism and how training can help circumvent and combat this tendency.
  • The pros and cons of biases and the different types of biases – what they are, how they look like, and how they may manifest in the animal services setting.
  • Case examples that illustrate how unconscious bias shapes animal control officers’ decision-making on the job.
  • Combating biases through awareness, practicing the tenets of procedural justice, and approaching the topic from a place of curiosity and a desire to create engagement.
  • Starting the conversation surrounding bias in the workplace.


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Animal Welfare webinars on the JCH Platform



Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Excellent webinar. Most impactful to me was the trauma > cynicism > bias flow.”
  • “Well-spoken and a very good topic for ACO’s to learn about!”
  • “This webinar had great information in it. … I learned a lot. Thank you.”
  • “I learned that there are many different types of bias and I have displayed more bias than I realized.”




This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.


This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit in Core Area 5 (Implict Human Bias) for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.




Additional Resources
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After the Webinar: Recognizing and Understanding Bias for the Animal Welfare Professional. Q&A with Jace Huggins
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