Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Animal welfare education – can MOOCs contribute?

Please see the link below to an article published by our MOOC team here in the JMICAWE.

Jill MacKay, Fritha Langford and Natalie Waran were three of the lecturers on the University of Edinburgh's massive open online course (MOOC) on animal behaviour and welfare that began in July. Here, they assess its global appeal and judge its success.

TO effectively improve animal welfare worldwide, we believe there is a need to use a range of educational tools, including free online courses, to provide credible and accessible education resources to present the case for an evidence-based approach to improving welfare standards. The ‘Animal behaviour and welfare’ MOOC ( was developed through the University of Edinburgh's Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education in partnership with animal welfare researchers at Scotland's Rural College.


Introduction to Animal Welfare textbook now launched in China

The JMICAWE has been involved with the CVMA and working with WAP colleagues towards the development of teaching materials including professional development to ensure that veterinary schools in China are equipped to be able to deliver quality animal welfare education to their veterinary undergraduates. To this end, we are extremely pleased with the news of the release of the Introduction to Animal Welfare textbook by the CVMA during the recent Chinese veterinary Conference.

Heather Bacon- the Centre's Veterinary Animal Welfare Education Manager, who was invited to speak at the book launch said  'Its extremely pleasing to see the progress that has been made with introducing animal welfare science into the new Chinese veterinary curriculum, along with the veterinary profession's growing commitment to ensuring that there are qualified people to teach the subject, as well as provide invaluable comment and information to aid in the improvement of the welfare of animals in China'.

Heather Bacon and Hayley Walters, are now returning from successfully collaborating with the CVMAs animal health and welfare subdivision, in co-organising the animal welfare session that forms part of the annual Chinese veterinary conference. Whilst there they provided the Chinese veterinarians with a translated version of the Animal Welfare MOOC ( Massive Open Online Course) produced and run for the first time earlier this year, attracting more than 33,000 people worldwide.

 Read more about the textbook here:

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Read  about the latest animal welfare news and activities by our dedicated team

Our Autumn newsletter is now available to download.

Stories include:




download your copy here- and please  forward to friends and colleagues!/fileManager/JMICAWE-Newsletter-issue6.pdf

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Animal welfare and ethics education to zoo experts

The use of animals in zoos around the world is a source of concern in some areas. The modern zoo is committed to education, conservation and research, activities which must be underpinned by robust animal welfare standards.

Recently Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE has contributed to delivering animal welfare and ethics education to zoo experts from around Europe at the annual conference of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, attended by approximately 700 zoo professionals from around Europe. This is the first time the animal welfare session at the conference has been led by an independent academic. In addition Heather presented her ongoing research examining the gaps in knowledge of zoo animal welfare within the zoo community, and regional variations in attitudes.

Heather has worked with EAZA on a number of collaborations including training of Chinese zoo vets to improve welfare standards, a project funded by Animals Asia. She has also been working with the European Commission and FVE since 2011 on delivering regional animal welfare workshops to veterinary practitioners around Europe.


'Zoo animal welfare science is increasingly important for good zoo animal welfare, the research into this area at JMICAWE is supporting the development of improved zoo animal welfare educational initiatives'  Heather Bacon


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The other side of Equine Welfare: Can too much misplaced love lead to obesity and health problems?

When thinking about equine welfare issues, the usual image of neglect or poor condition is  that of the underweight and overworked horse or donkey.  However there is another side to equine health and welfare that may not be so obvious. Studies show that horses are facing disability and life-threatening illnesses in an equine obesity epidemic mirroring the expanding waistlines of humans in ­affluent nations. Are we killing them with kindness?  

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has organised a series of equine obesity workshops after studies found that up to half the horses and ponies in Scotland are overweight.  Excessive weight can lead to a range of serious diseases that can be disabling and potentially fatal, including crippling hoof disease, hormonal dysfunction and weight-linked Type 2 diabetes. Horse owners are being warned to slim down their animals following growing evidence of an obesity epidemic that is threatening their health.

Professor Nat Waran, of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal WelfareEducation at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, said: “There is no doubt the majority of owners want to provide the best for their animals, but sometimes too much misplaced love can lead to welfare problems because it may not be what their horse needs.

Following these studies, two articles in the news have highlighted these issues:


Welfare and health issues of the working equine are often highlighted

But studies show that equines can face  severe health issues if they are overweight  (Photo by Sannse)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Animal Welfare MOOC: Second Running Coming Soon!

The JMICAWE team have been humbled by the overwhelming positive feedback received about our MOOC course that we ran in July  this year.   The level of engagement was superb and we would like to thank all our hardworking students for making it such a positive and fantastic experience.

We will be running the course again in early February 2015.  If you would like to be part of this you can sign up here for future alerts:


Don't forget we will also soon have options in Mandarin and Spanish

Here are just a few out of the hundreds of positive comments and feedback we received:

Fabulous course, I learned so much and find my discussions about animals are so much more balanced, the scientific approach is a great balance for the ethical and emotional response we have with our animals. It has made me better appreciate the welfare and best practises with my animals.

This course was absolutely fantastic! I have a PhD in Psychology so have spent a lot of time within the University environment, and can honestly say that the calibre of teaching and production in this course is the best I've ever encountered.

Easy and intuitive navigation through course-info. Video's + accompanying notes (with complete text of the video), helped me to better understand the lecture (I'm not a native English speaker), the interactive presentations helped me to put newly gained insights and learning into practice. The enthusiasm displayed by almost all lecturers kept me zoomed in and focussed during the video’s. I especially enjoyed the lecturers that included your own pets/horses in the video. The video of nesting behaviour of a female pig, sometime before giving birth, had a huge impact on my view on pigs and the meat-industry.

As a result of the course, I feel I am better equipped to undertake my animal welfare work. I now have an understanding of the need for evidence-based application and acknowledging the limitation of my knowledge, for further enquiry into research by acknowledged institutions like yours. I hope that some of my colleagues will take advantage of your 2015 course and be similarly enlightened.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

MSc in Applied Animal Welfare and Animal Behaviour: A brilliant start to the new term

Our on-campus MSc programme has got off to a brilliant start this term, and we are delighted to welcome our new and returning students to the new academic year.  We now have 35 students enrolled from all corners of the world. Teaching officially started two weeks ago, following a very successful induction and welcome session.   We are now looking forward to an exciting year ahead.
'We are delighted to welcome our new students to the programme and look forward to helping them learn about Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare over the coming year. 
We’ve already had a great overnight trip to the North of Scotland to visit the Highland Wildlife Park.  It allowed us to all get to know each other a bit better, and also to learn about welfare implications of keeping animals in captivity.  The Highland Wildlife Park arranged for the students to do a Welfare Assessment of certain enclosures and to discuss their recommendations with the keepers – really great experience!

The students have already started their Zoo Research Project at Edinburgh Zoo.  They are working in groups and learning about carrying out behavioural observations of, for example, Gelada Baboons, Gentoo Penguins, Otters and Darwin’s Rhea.'                       Dr Susan Jarvis, Programme Director

The MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare is an on-campus, research-based programme run in collaboration with SRUC. Teaching is mainly based at the Easter Bush campus, a state-of-the-art facility.

For more information about the programme please go to this link:






Monday, 29 September 2014

Take part in Sentience Mosaic online discussion with JMICAWE team members, 6th October


Considering animal sentience in developing countries: Where are we?

Join us on the 6th October 2014 at 11am (UK time)

Heather Bacon, Veterinary Welfare Education and Outreach Manager and Hayley Walters, Anaesthesia and Welfare Veterinary Nurse, The University of Edinburgh will share their views on animal welfare in developing countries. They will also discuss their work with the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE). 
For further information  and to sign up please go to this link:
Animal welfare and animal welfare education varies considerably across the globe. In many instances animal welfare and the importance of animal sentience is rarely included in veterinary education. Quite often animals are used inhumanely during veterinary training, and as a result experience pain and compromised welfare. Furthermore, the needs and welfare of animals are sometimes lost in communities that experience high levels of poverty. Amongst such communities, what is currently being done to make animal welfare and the consideration of animal sentience a priority? And what needs to be done in the future? 










Wednesday, 24 September 2014

MSc International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law: An exciting start to the academic year

We are delighted that we have 38 new students from 13 different countries (spread across all 6 habitable continents) who have enrolled on our MSc IAWEL this year. This brings us to over 100 students currently studying with IAWEL.

We officially started on 15th Sept following a very successful induction week for new starters with 5 live sessions for the new students to start to interact with staff and their fellow students.  This week we have lectures and discussions in our core course of International Animal Welfare Science. Students in their second year with us will be starting an elective course, either in Clinical Animal Behaviour or Animals in Research, Testing and Education, and students in their third you are planning and starting their dissertations. It is a very exciting time.
One of our new students writes:
'For me the excitement has been building for months after I first heard about the MSc program from friends here in the US and then reached out to Dr. Langford to see if this was something that I could handle.  As excited as I was, I had some reservations, least of which I've not had any formal education since 1977. All that said, I can't wait to get started because for me, if you're green (learning), you're growing, and I'm a life long learner.  I know that I'll take away valuable information from the University which I'll use in my job as an animal health and welfare officer,  but what I'm really looking forward to is the interaction with each of you as I believe that is where the real learning comes from.
I've got some great stories to share about my job, my travels and the interactions I have with some people around the world that are making a difference when it comes to animal health and welfare, one day at a time, and I hope that you'll feel comfortable sharing your stories and experiences too.  Good luck to us all!'   Bruce Feinberg, Chicago Illinois

The programme is run by the University of Edinburgh, through JMICAWE in partnership with Scotland's Rural College (SRUC). It is aimed at both UK and international graduate students, who study flexible part-time hours, to achieve a Certificate, Diploma or Masters degree. It is the first and only online programme in International Animal Welfare, Ethics & Law.
'We continue to be impressed by the number and calibre of students applying to International Animal Welfare Ethics and Law from all over the world. The breadth of experience and knowledge our students bring into the programme, make them one another’s key resource to facilitate learning, alongside high quality teaching from the University of Edinburgh, SRUC and our guest experts from around the world of course!' Dr Fritha Langford,  Programme Director  

First live lecture of year for IAWEL students in our virtual classroom (names of students listed on left removed for privacy)






Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Equitation Science and Welfare in Press Release by ISES

You may remember that in August three members of the Royal (Dick) Vet School including JMICAWE Director Prof Nat Waran, Bryony Waggett (Equine Science teaching Fellow) and Gemma Pearson (Senior Clinical Training Scholar in Equine Practice), travelled to Denmark to deliver papers and Chair at the 10th  International Society for Equitation Science annual Conference.

Their presentation 'Embedding Equitation Science into Teaching and Practice of Equestrian Professionals' is now available on the ISES website press releases page.  Go to this link to read all about it:
Embedding Equitation Science into teaching and practice of equestrian professionals

You can read their other Press releases here too:

Details about the 10th  International Society for Equitation Science annual Conference can be seen here:

The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is a not-for-profit learned society that aims to facilitate research into the training of horses to enhance horse welfare and improve the horse-rider relationship. The ISES mission is to promote and encourage the application of objective research and advanced practice, which will ultimately improve the welfare of horses in their associations with humans.

ISES runs international conferences that serve as platforms where latest research findings and their application in practice can be communicated and discussed. ISES also provides a pool of expertise for international bodies and academic institutions that approach ISES with questions related to horse behaviour, training and welfare.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Equine Model Reproductive Tract Arrives

JMICAWE is delighted that a further resource has now arrived for the R(D)SVS  equine simulator.  The reproductive tract will allow students to palpate a normal reproductive tract and ovaries at different stages of the reproductive cycle gaining valuable clinical skills.


The tract includes a palpable soft uterus with cervix, urethra and broad ligaments.  There are also 3 sets of easily interchangeable ovaries.

Already an outstanding success since it arrived over a year ago, the simulator allows students to practice important clinical skills. The equine simulator, developed by Veterinary Simulator Industries in collaboration with the University of Calgary, Canada, is a life-like equine model, complete with internal organs and allows for a variety of simulated scenarios including a variety of colic presentations and an abdominocentesis simulation.

Please also see this link to an earlier news story relating to the horse model:

Friday, 12 September 2014

Working with the Indian Veterinary Profession for improved animal health and welfare


International concern for animal health and welfare continues to grow with increasing demand for measures to protect animals and improve animal quality of life.  

The University of Edinburgh has a longstanding interest in animal health and welfare education. Integrated within the R(D)SVS the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE), is a venture with ambitious objectives committed to improving the health and welfare of animals through education, training and research and by influencing policy at the highest level. The JMICAWE not only promotes the need for education in animal welfare science and ethics but also emphasizes the important role future veterinarians have in promoting subjects of international concern such as animal welfare along with the job of protecting animal and public health.

India is already the highest milk producing country and with increasing demands for meat, eggs and milk, Indian farming enterprises are rapidly becoming larger and animals more intensively managed, often associated with challenging consequences for animal health and welfare and indirectly increased risks for food safety and, ultimately human health. Understanding the issues and finding new ways of enhancing animal health and welfare is clearly a complex and important area for the veterinary community in India. The most defining characteristic of any profession must be their ability to constantly improve, and most importantly to be able to disseminate new knowledge gained through high quality research.

 Recent projects, initiatives and collaborations with academic partners in India have involved the development and delivery of a number of successful workshops with the support of collaborating Indian Universities, Governmental bodies and Wildlife institutes such as the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University, the Karnataka veterinary, animal science and fisheries University, the National Wildlife Institute in Bangalore, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, as well as influential professional organisations, such as the Veterinary Council of India and the Commonwealth Veterinary Association. The aim of these collaborative workshops and meetings has been to aid in the development of innovative methods for delivery of a future focused veterinary curriculum at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

In November a team from JMICAWE will be going out to Kerala in India to develop further our partnership there with a series of collaborative workshops with themes focusing on Production Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Companion Animal Nursing and Welfare and Wildlife.  

‘The links between animal health, animal welfare and human welfare are becoming increasingly recognised, alongside an awareness of the importance of educating our veterinarians so that they are well equipped to take a leadership role in tackling globally important issues such as the overuse of anti-microbials, animal welfare concerns and understand the concept of ‘One Health’.”  ~ Professor Natalie Waran, Jeanne Marchig Professor of Animal Welfare, University of Edinburgh.

For more information about our academic programmes see:

For further information about the JMICAWE, please visit:




Monday, 8 September 2014

International Conference on Dog Population Management - sign up here!

A Conference...

The 2nd International Conference on Dog Population Management is to be held 3rd-5th March 2015 in Istanbul.

It is being organised by the International Companion Animal Management Coalition (ICAM) and follows the 1st conference that took place in York in 2012 that was organised by fera (the food and environment research agency).

Please visit the conference website for more information and to sign up:

The deadline for submitting an abstract for this conference is November 15th 2014.

...And a Project

JMICAWE is delighted to be one of the collaborating partners working with ICAM on the Indicators Project and  it is hoped that the conference will see the launch of the Indicators Project guidance document.  
Almost every country invests in dog population management in some form; however there is no agreed measure to establish whether an intervention is ‘working’.  The ICAM Indicators project aims to develop guidance on monitoring and evaluation of DPM that supports academics, practitioners and funders to track progress, learn and subsequently improve their DPM impact through the use of measurable indicators.

The Indicators project benefits from the engagement of Collaborating Partners that provide scientific rigour and multi-disciplinary expertise to help build the foundation for this novel and vital research field. Partners were invited to collaborate because they bring academic and practical leadership in several topics essential to success of the project.

You can read more about the project on their website:

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Access online learning courses through Animal Mosaic supported by JMICAWE

JMICAWE is thrilled to be  cooperating with World Animal Protection (WAP) to support the delivery of a Continuing Education Post-Graduate Online course for helping with capacity building veterinarians in Asia with respect to animal welfare science.
This year, World Animal Protection is hosting an online course focused on the understanding of the basic concepts behind animal welfare science, ethics and law, and how these concepts are relevant to veterinarians in Asia. The course also looks at how to assess animal welfare and involves a hands on workshop. 
And the good news – this course will now start in November 2014 and with a reduced fee of USD 500.

Find out more about this exciting new course and how to sign up by visiting

The course is hosted in partnership with the following:
Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the University of Edinburgh
The Federation of Asian Veterinary Associations
The Center for Veterinary Continuing Education, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University
The College of Veterinary Medicine, University of the Philippines Los Banos