Dr. Erin Zamzow attended Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in the 1980s.  The experience served not only to train her as a veterinarian, but once she learned the realities of how many animals are treated in teaching, animal agriculture and research, she became an impassioned advocate for a more humane system.   During her junior year, Erin and a classmate petitioned the school to co-create an alternative to the terminal surgery program that was the standard at the time. After several meetings, most of which involved them being told they could not change the program, a fair amount of pushback from classmates and a lot of stress, they were able to create a surgical training pilot program that did not require them to kill healthy dogs.   Erin and her classmate graduated a few months after the rest of their class in a small, private ceremony with the (eventual) support of many veterinary school staff and administrators and a handful of veterinary students.   

After graduation, Dr. Zamzow worked in private small animal, and then mixed animal practice and had a mobile equine dentistry practice for over 20 years.  Erin currently has a part-time house call practice that offers laser and acupuncture therapy and focuses on comfort, pain control, wellness and end-of-life care.   Erin officially joined the staff of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest ( as their veterinarian in 2017 after helping with veterinary care on a volunteer basis for a few years.  “I went to Central Washington University in the mid-80s when Washoe and her family were there and I wasn’t even aware of them!   Then 20-something years later I find myself helping with the remaining chimps at Central’s Chimpanzee Human Communication Institute which in turn led me to helping out at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest!  I absolutely love working with the chimpanzees and the incredible staff at CSNW; it’s taken my life in a direction I’d never imagined!” 

Dr. Zamzow has been involved in activism for the humane and just treatment of all beings for most of her adult life, has served as an expert witness in animal neglect and abuse cases, and has been involved in several rescue missions involving various species.   She lives in Ellensburg, Washington and shares her home with a horse, two cats, 2 small dogs (for now), 3 potbellied pigs, a 3-legged “farm” pig, and one husband.  Erin has two beautiful sons who frequently join her (or her, them) in activism for both human and non-human animals.  “It’s hard to know what to focus on when it comes to justice and ending cruel practices. I tend to focus on animal agriculture/large-scale farming and I am particularly tuned into pigs, but there are so many ways that the system we live in causes suffering. Changes that occur under the mantle of capitalism often cause damage elsewhere, so I feel it’s imperative to look at all aspects of an issue to ensure that our actions don’t create unintended suffering in another species, ecosystem or population.”

To contact an HSVMA State Representative, please email [email protected].