Monday 30 May 2022

Closure of the blog

Thank you for reading and following us here.

We have decided to close this blog, however we will continue to provide updates and information via our newsletter, website, Facebook, and Twitter. We hope you can join us there!

This blog is now an archive and will no longer be updated.

With best wishes

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, University of Edinburgh

Thursday 16 December 2021

Winter newsletter

newsletter image

Download our winter newsletter!

It includes:

  • Celebrating that the Centre is 10 years old (2011-2021)
  • MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare celebrated their 30 year anniversary
  • Wild Welfare launches in Japanese
  • COP26: considering animal welfare should be essential in climate change plans
  • An extensive list of recent publications from the Team
  • Conferences and achievements
  • Welcome: Dr Rebecca Doyle and Dr Yuki Otani

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Update: animal welfare projects

Dr Rebecca Doyle,
JMICAWE Deputy Director highlights the following projects.


The pig sector in Uganda is among the fastest growing livestock sectors and it is characterized by low productivity due to limited resources and veterinary support. As the welfare status of pigs in the system is unknown, a cross-sectional welfare assessment was carried out in four districts in central Uganda (Masaka, Mukono, Mpigi and Wakiso) to identify issues requiring action. These results will form the basis of future intervention programs and act as a benchmark to improve pig welfare and farmer livelihoods.



Trees - Ethiopia
Image credit: Tsega Berhe
This project demonstrates the benefits of agroforestry–livestock systems in Ethiopia for animal welfare, livelihoods and the environment. We have project sites in both the highlands and pastroral production systems of Ethiopia, and are collaborating with World Agroforestry, Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Suisse and regional partners. The evidence gathered from the project will be used to scale out these results through a future research project starting in 2022.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

New research survey has been launched exploring attitudes towards animal welfare in the UK and Japan

JMICAWE has launched an international survey to explore attitudes towards animal welfare of veterinarians and researchers in the UK and Japan. The work is led by a visiting Post Doctoral researcher, Dr Yuki Otani, supported by our Director, Cathy Dwyer, as a collaborative study between the University of Edinburgh and Hokkaido University in Japan.

The UK and Japan are both island, industrial and developed nations, where people live with animals for various purposes – in particular, pet ownership is an important part of both cultures. In the UK, the principles of animal welfare and animal welfare needs are included in legislation (The Animal Welfare Act, 2006). In Japan, on the other hand, people are likely to interact with animals based on a different Japanese concept rather than animal welfare. Instead of welfare, a word ‘Aigo’, which is composed of 2 characters ( and ) meaning "love" and "protection”, has been widely and historically spread in Japanese society. This word is used in the relevant and the most responsible law for animal management. In this law ‘living being’ is used to represent all animals, whereas animal welfare is relevant to ‘sentient beings’ in the UK.

‘Aigo culture is very beautiful – people love and express empathy with animals. I think, however, this concept is human-based so it could cause conflicts about what is most important to animals among people depending on their own subjectivity. To solve the issue as a society, permeating the animal welfare concept is necessary’ says Yuki, from Hokkaido University.

We are now exploring the fundamental attitude of veterinarians, veterinary researchers, and behaviour/welfare researchers in the UK or Japan via an online survey. We would like to understand the strengths of welfare and Aigo concepts by this survey and develop effective strategies for improving animal welfare in both countries. More information about the survey can be found here:


Take Part

If you are a veterinarian, veterinary researcher, and behaviour/welfare researcher in the UK or Japan and wish to take part you can do so by following this link:




Tuesday 2 November 2021

JMICAWE welcomes new member of staff

JMICAWE is delighted to welcome Dr Rebecca Doyle to the team as our newest member of staff. Rebecca joins us from the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia and has a wealth of experience in teaching and research in animal behaviour and welfare. In addition, Rebecca has spent more than 10 years in supporting and promoting animal welfare practices and education in low- and middle-income countries. She is a contributing scientist to the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, and has worked with small-holder farmers in Pakistan to promote good welfare. Rebecca also chairs the animal welfare group at the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock.   

Rebecca will be sharing her knowledge and experience with our undergraduate and postgraduate students at R(D)SVS and developing educational links to vet schools in Africa and Asia with the rest of the JMICAWE team. Rebecca has also conducted animal welfare research with a wide range of species, from crocodiles to wild dogs, parrots, sheep and goats! In particular, she has a background in the development of cognitive measures of welfare. Our students will be offered an opportunity to work with Rebecca on some of these project areas and we are looking forward to seeing where this work will take her! 

Rebecca says: 

Good animal welfare is good for people’s livelihoods and food security, to climate change and One Health. I believe that through animal welfare research and education we can create meaningful improvements in the lives of animals and people. I’m really looking forward to contributing to the great work of JMICAWE to continue making positive impact in this way.’


Monday 18 October 2021

30 years of the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of Edinburgh/SRUC

On World Animal Day on the 4th Oct 2021 we held an online event to celebrate 30 years of the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare. The MSc turned 30 in 2020 and after a couple of false starts we managed to pull together the event a year late in 2021. The afternoon event consisted of talks, interviews and short videos from staff and graduates of the programme from across the years. In this guest blog, Programme Director, Dr Tamsin Coombs, tells us about the activities she organised for the day:

We started proceedings with Professor Alistair Lawrence who reminisced on the early planning of the MSc with very interesting excerpts from documents taken from his extensive archive (in his garage!)  before taking us all the way through to the present day and looking forward to the next 30 years of animal welfare education. This was then followed by talks by Alick Simmons from the very first cohort in 1990 (Developments in animal welfare policy over the past 30 years), Dr Matt Leach, class of 1995-96 (Recent advances in assessing pain in non-human animals) and Professor Vicky Melfi, class of 1996-97 (Zoo animal welfare since 1997).

We then started the next session with an interview with Professor Nat Waran who took us back to the early days of both the MSc and JMICAWE. She shared fascinating insights from her time as the first coordinator and then successor to Professor David Wood-Gush as programme director of the MSc and then the first Director of JMICAWE. This was then followed by talks from two graduates from the class of 1999 – 2000, Dr Sam Gaines who now works for the RSPCA (Twenty years of dog welfare- the good, the bad and the ugly) and our own Dr Fritha Langford, programme director for the MSc in International Animal welfare, Ethics and Law (A case study in where AABAW can take you). Next I interviewed Kim Wells who was in the same 2006-07 cohort of students as I was and has worked at Brooke, Action for working horses and donkeys, ever since her graduation in 2007. We then finished up with a talk, on how retailers use science to improve animal welfare on their farms, from Matt Turner (class of 2009-10) and who now works in Animal Health and Welfare at Sainsbury’s supermarkets.
Alistair Lawrence

These main talks were interspersed by short videos, photos and quotes from other graduates of the programme who got back in touch to tell us about what they gained from the MSc and what they are doing now. We have graduates working in research and teaching around the world; undertaking PhD’s; working for NGO’s and animal welfare organisations; and working in zoos to name but a few. We were also able to showcase some of the many scientific papers that have come about because of research undertaken during the dissertation element of the MSc which also highlights the impact on animal welfare science of the programme.

And to quote Professor Alistair Lawrence after the event: 

what a great day – it was a real celebration – quite moving really – I am sure David (Wood-Gush) would be chuffed to bits – I can see him smiling with pleasure at what has been achieved and how much of a difference the course has made”