The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is the leading veterinary organization in the United States. I have had my differences with the AVMA, particularly in the debate over horse slaughter. However, I owe it to the AVMA to acknowledge that they, in the long run, have done an incredible amount of work to advance the causes of animal health and welfare.
The AVMA publishes guidelines for veterinarians on a number of issues relating to animal welfare. Readers may be interested in a brochure that was recently released and targeted to veterinary students. It is a lengthy PDF document, but it gives insight into the guidance that the organization is offering to budding veterinarians.
Here is a link to the brochure (PDF format).
As you read it, remember that the leadership of the AVMA walks a tightrope when they publish such material. The AVMA does not merely represent dog and cat vets–its ranks include large numbers of dairy, swine, beef cattle, horse, and other livestock practitioners. Its membership is diverse and sometimes fractious. However, in my opinion the brochure does a good job of skirting controversy.