Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Top tips for pets during festive season

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has teamed up with its ambassador, Paul O'Grady, to share top tips to keep pets happy this Christmas. Paul explained: “Everyone goes a bit crazy at Christmas, chucking up tinsel, knocking back mince pies and having everyone you’ve ever met round for a party. Then it’s straight into New Year, with all the fireworks, and even more food and drink.....and while it’s all great fun for us, it can be a bit much for our four-legged friends, so I’ve teamed up with Battersea to share my top tips for ensuring your animals have a brilliant time as well.”

His tips are as follows:

  • Make sure your pets have their own space. When the house is heaving it can be easy for the poor pooch or moggy to feel a bit overwhelmed, so create a comfy den for them away from the action where they can retire if things get too much. Choose an area they are familiar with and give them a tasty treat to make it more enjoyable, but don’t lock them in. If you have excitable pets make sure you tidy up any loose Christmas tree light cables.

  • Ensure they don’t escape. When everyone arrives, remind them to always shut the external doors behind them. You can even put a sign up, otherwise it’s all too easy for pets to wander outside and take themselves for a festive stroll.

  • Stick to your normal routine. Try not to upset your dog’s usual routine as it could make him restless and stressed. If he’s used to three walks a day, or any other regular activity, try not to deviate from it too much.

  • Brief visitors on the pet house rules. If you have rules about where your pets go and which furniture they can go on make sure all your visitors are aware, so Uncle Jim doesn’t start encouraging the dog onto your brand new sofa and getting him into bad habits.

  • Keep an eye on the calories. We might all be eating like it’s our last day on earth, but there’s no need for the dog or cat to pork out. Tell visitors not to give them titbits so you can monitor how much they get. There’s no harm in a few cheeky morsels, but if everyone gives the dog a sausage it’s not going to be long before you get a pooch with a very upset stomach.

  • Avoid certain foods. With all the goodies floating around it can be easy for pets to snatch a treat, but make sure your dog avoids chocolate, grapes, raisins and onions as they can be poisonous. Turkey bones can be dangerous for pets, so make sure they can’t get any out of the bin.

  • Don’t let fireworks ruin New Year’s Eve. The flashing lights, sudden loud bangs, and unusual noises can spook even the calmest pet, and it’s not surprising, as they have no idea what’s going on. There’s lots you can do to keep dogs and cats calm, and Battersea have heaps of advice you can follow here.

Season’s Greetings from Scotland!

Merry Christmas from all at the University of Edinburgh's Jeanne Marchig Centre for International Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) and our Animal Welfare team.

We have been delighted to have achieved so much in 2012 including:
1.  Extending the BVM&S curriculum to incorporate more animal welfare, animal ethics and animal behaviour education for our undergraduates
2.  Implementing the new online Masters in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law (MSc IAWEL)
3.  Working with our partners including WSPA, IFAW, UFAW, Animals Asia and RSPCA International to continue to support animal welfare education internationally.
4.  Further develop the Masters in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare (MSc AABAW) with SRuC.
5.  Organise Animal Health & Welfare workshops in India
6.  Organise Animal Welfare training for vets in China

Many thanks for all your support in 2012 and we look forward to working with you towards improving animal welfare education in 2013.

Best wishes

Nat, Heather, Jane, Hayley, Fritha, Susan, Willie and everybody involved in our animal welfare education team.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


News Release - Thursday 6 December 2012


The Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare is warning people in Scotland not to impulse buy pets as Christmas presents.  The situation is particularly urgent at this time of year as 'gifted' animals are more likely to be abandoned or need re-homing come January, when the novelty wears off.

The Group stresses that people should especially beware of buying a pet online.  Many unscrupulous breeders take advantage of the Christmas season to make money and what people see on a website is not always what they get in real life - if they receive anything at all.  Hundreds of cases have been documented of puppies and kittens being sold online that turned out to be underage, sick or not properly socialised.  There have also been cases of illegal dog breeds, such as pitbulls, being advertised online, or breeds of cats with inherent welfare problems.
Christine Grahame MSP, Convener of the Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare said:
“Christmas is the worst possible time to introduce a young, vulnerable animal to a busy household.  Once the holidays are over, reality kicks in and the responsibilities of caring for a pet can be too much for some people, with tragic consequences.
“The Group has received information about the severe animal welfare problems related to buying pets online, and we will continue to highlight this trade in the New Year.  Many puppies and kittens are bred for the Christmas market and advertised online. Buying on the internet, without doing proper research and seeing the new pet with its mother, can be buying into needless suffering.”
The Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Animal Welfare brings together MSPs from all parties and almost fifty associate members and groups with a shared interest in animal welfare including Professor Nat Waran from JMICAWE.  The Group’s office bearers are: Convener – Christine Grahame MSP; Vice-Conveners – Claudia Beamish MSP and Alison Johnstone MSP; Secretary – Libby Anderson, OneKind.

For more information, contact Christine Grahame MSP – or 0131 348 6084

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

MSc AABAW Graduation - Congratulations

Congratulations to the 15 MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare students of 2011-12 who managed to make a trip back to Edinburgh to enjoy their graduation ceremony on Friday 30th November.  

It was a lovely ceremony in the beautiful McEwan Hall of the University of Edinburgh.  This was followed by a short walk to Old College to have lunch in the Playfair library. 

We all had a super day celebrating the achievements of the students and it was lovely to catch up with some of the 2011-2012 students!! 

5 others graduated 'virtually' by Second Life or in absentia.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Perspectives in Laboratory Animal Science (PiLAS)

The Launch of PiLAS

FRAME was founded in 1969, to promote the development and application of sound scientific principles and methodology which could lead to the progressive reduction and replacement of laboratory animal procedures in biomedical research, testing and education. We are not uncritically for or against science, we do not favour humans in competition with animals, and we never put animal welfare above the welfare of humans. Rather, our aim is to avoid the conflicts that can arise between these kinds of competing interests, by encouraging positive scientific developments which are genuinely in the interests of all concerned.

While animal procedures continue to be considered necessary in some circumstances, they should be conducted in ways which ensure the highest possible standards of welfare and care for the animals concerned. As members of the Triple Alliance (the BUAV, CRAE and FRAME), which advised the British Government during the passage through Parliament of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA), we were totally supportive of the inclusion of requirements for a named day-to-day-care person and a named veterinary surgeon for each animal breeder, supplier or user establishment.

Now, 25 years on, we are pleased that similar requirements are spelled out in Article 24 and Article 25 of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which applies to all the Member States of the European Union, and which comes into force in January 2013. Like the ASPA and the Directive which preceded it (Directive 86/609/EEC), the new Directive is firmly based on the Three Rs of Russell and Burch, and the principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement are clearly spelled out in Article 4.

The proper application of the Three Rs involves a wide complexity of ethical, scientific and practical considerations in relation to benefit (to humans) and suffering (of animals). These include: justification of the need for performing the specific procedures; how they should be performed in order to maximise benefit and minimise suffering; the likelihood that worthwhile benefit will be achieved and how that should be weighed against likely animal suffering; the detection, measurement and relief of suffering; the nature and uses of models; the planning of experiments and the analysis of data; the breeding, supply, transport and re-use of animals; species differences among animals and between animals and humans; and conflicts between responsibilities to animals, colleagues, science and medicine, and employers.

The aim of PiLAS is to improve the quality of discussion about animal experimentation and alternative approaches, by offering bio-scientists in all relevant fields an opportunity to share their expertise, knowledge and ideas concerning these and other issues raised by laboratory animal use.

As well as being circulated along with FRAME’s peer-review, scientific journal, Alternatives to Laboratory Animals (ATLA), articles within PiLAS will be freely available, via open access, on the accompanying website —

Thursday, 29 November 2012

21st International Conference on Bear Research and Management, India

The 21st International Conference on Bear Research and Management (IBA 2012), was held for the first time in India this week, which was jointly hosted by the ministry of environment and forests, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the Central Zoo Authority, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Delegates heard that recent research on animal welfare showed that more than 85% Indians believe that animals have as many rights as people. According to surveys conducted by the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), 87% people in India think that animals have as many rights as people and 83% Indians believe protecting animals from the effect of natural disasters is important. Besides, 73% believe the treatment of animals is a serious challenge and that they should be protected from the effect of natural disasters.
"Animals matter to the planet. Protecting them is vital to any successful response to the biggest issues of our time, from disasters and climate change, to stable food supplies and good health. The welfare of animals affects us all, and protecting them cannot wait," Mike Baker, CEO of WSPA, said while launching its campaign for animal welfare in India Monday. Underlining the reason for WSPA launching its campaign in India, he said: "India is a global power today and a unique country with a passion for animals that is embedded in its culture. It can give a perspective to the link between human and animal welfare." In his presentation, Baker gave three different examples - one from the island of Bali in Indonesia and two from India. In all three cases, the WSPA had helped protect animals from being culled at the same time rehabilitating humans dependent on them.
Other speakers who spoke on the occasion included R.M. Kharb, chairman of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), Chinny Krishna, vice president of the AWBI and Emily Reeves, director of programmes, WSPA (Asia Pacific). "This campaign is necessary as human-animal conflicts are increasing and animals usually lose in these. Also, enforcement of animal protection laws in India is a big grey area," said Kharb.
Krishna echoed Kharb. "India has the finest animal protection laws in the world. But their implementation is woefully poor." "Indians believe that every life is sacred. And yet, what we do to animals should shame us," he added.
Reeves said: "Collaboration is essential for success. Wide-scale change that is sustainable can only be brought about by collaboration."
Sadly due to unforeseen circumstances, Heather Bacon could not fly out to India to give her presentation, which was very frustrating. However, JMICAWE were delighted that the launch of WSPA's campaign came on the same day when union minister of Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan launched the National Bear Action Plan in the capital.

Monday, 26 November 2012

After Dolly - the ethical dilemma of animal biotechnology

After Dolly - the ethical dilemma of animal biotechnology is an EU-funded public engagement project where students are invited to discuss how far researchers should go in their manipulation of domestic animals in order to produce food and medicine.

At The Roslin Institute Bruce Whitelaw performs research in the development and application of transgenic animals to enhance our understanding of cellular and tissue differentiation in vivo.

Peter Sand√łe is Professor in bioethics at the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen working with bioethics to focus in particular on ethical issues related to agriculture, animals and biotechnology. The team at Animal Welfare Team, here at the Universtiy of Edinburgh, were delighted that Peter had time to speak with our MSc AABAW students the next day.

This workshop held at The Roslin Institute on the 15th of November can be watched by following the JMICAWE weblink -

3 scholarships are available in relation to animal welfare & health projects

The Moredun Foundation Scholarship – applications open for 2013

The Moredun Foundation is delighted to announce that their scholarship scheme will run again for 2013 after a hugely success first year.

Whether you want to gain experience in the UK or abroad, wish to learn a new skill or conduct a short research project, three scholarships of up to £1000 each are available from Moredun in 2013
The Moredun Foundation Scholarship provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to broaden their education and experience in areas relating to livestock health and welfare and the agricultural industry. 

Projects may involve work experience, travel, collaborations with science, or the arts and are open to individuals over the age of 18 living in the UK with the condition that the applicant is a member of the Moredun Foundation at the time of applying.

Lee Innes, Communications Director at Moredun is delighted that this scheme is running for its second year. She commented, “These scholarships are a fantastic way for individuals to pursue a short term project or further develop their own knowledge of livestock health. The 2012 scheme saw the completion of three excellent projects and we are looking forward to some exciting and innovative applications coming through for 2013”

The Moredun Foundation is a registered charity and governs the work of the internationally recognized Moredun Research Institute. It is hoped that these scholarships will support and encourage innovative and diverse projects and contribute to Moredun’s mission to improve the health and welfare of livestock.

The closing date for applications for a 2013 Moredun Foundation Scholarship is Monday 31 December 2012.

Successful applicants will be notified in writing by the end of February 2013 and projects need to be completed by Friday 30 August 2013.

Further information, details of the 2012 projects and application forms are available to download from the Moredun website


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Dick Vet Masters students visit a pig unit - to discuss animal behaviour and welfare

The on-campus MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare (AABAW) students were given the opportunity to see a working pig unit, allowing them to observe and discuss:

  • the behaviour of growing pigs and recording relevant behaviours such as postures, feeding, fighting and mounting
  • the issue of hunger in these animals
  • the issue of accommodation, especially for pregnant sows

Students also looked at farrowing environments including the PigSAFE alternative free farrowing accommodation and learnt about suckling and teat orders in pigs.

For further information on the MSc AABAW - please visit

Monday, 5 November 2012

Teaching at Nanjing Agricultural University

The JMICAWE was delighted to spend a week at Nanjing Agricultural University in China last week teaching clinical skills and animal welfare training to 4th year veterinary students.
Vet Heather Bacon and vet nurse Hayley Walters flew out to Nanjing with suitcases full of models and mannequins to demonstrate alternatives to live animals when teaching clinical skills. Currently in China, live animals are used for the students to practise their suturing, blood sampling and catheter placement techniques. The workshop demonstrated to the students the necessity or honing clinical skills and perfecting techniques, that can be painful, on models and mannequins before having to do it in a real life situation on a live animal.
“We took dog head models that allow students to practise blood sampling the jugular vein, suture boards that are like a fake skin that the students can practise different suture patters on, fake dog legs for perfecting IV catheter placement, heads for intubation practise and ligature boards so that the students could understand the necessity of tying ligatures at depth”, said Hayley.
Videos filmed in The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies of real life procedures were also used during the workshop and they provided relevant teaching material to compliment the practical tasks the students would then undertake during the workshop. Hand-outs and time for questions and discussions ensured that all the students had time to digest what they had learned. “The response from the students has been so positive,” commented Hayley, “They have all enjoyed this way of learning and feel happier practising on the models and mannequins than the live animals. The concept of animal welfare is still quite new here and we are trying to demonstrate that just because something has gone on for decades or seems normal, that doesn’t make it acceptable”.
“I was initially very upset when I saw the locally anaesthetised but conscious cows and sheep being used for the students to practise surgical skills on but appreciate that this was the way of vet schools in the UK until a few years ago. The Chinese Veterinary Medical Association is striving towards improvements in their curriculum and this is very encouraging to hear indeed”.
Heather and Hayley hope to return to Nanjing Agricultural University next year to teach the teachers who will hopefully go on to be a driving force in veterinary education with animal welfare  at the forefront of their teaching.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Partnership with Chinese Veterinary Medical Association

Edinburgh University partners with Chinese Veterinary Medical Association to help strengthen Animal Welfare in China.

This month sees the exciting fruition of many months of work by the staff working in The University of Edinburgh’s Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) and the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) to bring together experts from Mainland China, the UK, Thailand and Hong Kong to discuss the role of the veterinarian in animal welfare in China.

With increasing globalisation, the development of industrialised farming, and a burgeoning pet industry, China’s veterinary profession is under increasing pressure to meet international expectations relating to animal welfare standards, and this is something the CVMA are eager to embrace.  To this end, a three-day session at the CVMA’s 3rd China Veterinary Conference in Suzhou is dedicated to animal welfare.

The meeting will cover animal welfare issues relating to a range of industries and species including companion animals, livestock, laboratory and wildlife species. Topics will include humane use of animals in education, meeting the OIE minimum competencies in Animal Welfare, humane slaughter, production animal welfare, animal welfare in scientific research, and improving welfare in the veterinary clinic.

The Animal Welfare Session at the 3rd annual Chinese Veterinary Conference will build on work initiated by the CVMA, the JMICAWE, and the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Animals (HKSPCA) in 2011 to develop international knowledge transfer partnerships in animal welfare through the first Asian Symposium on Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law, held in Hong Kong. The Session is also supported by the Animals Asia Foundation (AAF) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

Professor Natalie Waran, Director of the JMICAWE says “These collaborative activities are representative of the increasing importance of animal welfare education in international veterinary training. The links between animal welfare and animal health are well recognised, and the ethical responsibility of the veterinary profession to act as ambassadors for animal welfare is increasingly important in today’s society.”

Associated links:

Friday, 26 October 2012

Animal Welfare Workshop at Nanjing Agricultural University, a great success.

Heather Bacon, our outreach veterinarian and Hayley Walters, a veterinary nurse at the R(D)SVS , have enjoyed working with the Nanjing Agricultural University in delivering a week of animal welfare teaching to undergraduate veterinary students.

The training delivers important animal welfare and clinical skills teaching utilising humane education techniques and is supported by Professor Fei Rong Mei an OIE representative and Animal Welfare lecturer at NAU, and Lisa Yang and Xin Pei of Animals Asia’s animal welfare team.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Fireworks and Animal Welfare concerns

This weekend is Halloween and soon it will be Guy Fawkes Night!

Every year thousands of pets are caused unnecessary distress, fear and suffering as a consequence of fireworks and animal welfare charities are striving to raise public awareness of the problems caused to both domestic pets and wildlife.  We urge pet owners to be aware that fire-work displays and the associated unpredictable loud noises and bright lights produced by modern pyrotechnic devices can cause disturbance for many species of domestic and wild animals.

Prof Nat Waran of the University of Edinburgh’s Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education reports that there are many studies showing the extent of welfare problems for animals at this time of year. In a study carried out by our colleagues, with more than 1000 responses to a pet survey carried out in 2005, relating to 3527 dogs and cats, almost 50 per cent of the pets showed negative responses to fireworks. Fear of fireworks resulted in dogs exhibiting active fear behaviours, whereas cats were more likely to exhibit hiding and cowering behaviours. Prof Waran says that the animals’ responses to fireworks ranged from trembling and hiding, to escape and destructive acts, and a number of pets (51) were injured while trying to escape or hide. Even laying hens have been found to a reduce egg production on the day after a nearby fireworks display, and there are numerous reports of disturbance to wildlife, and horses running through their field fences due to panic.

Whilst banning the private sale of fireworks may solve some of the problems, there is still a need for pet owners to take steps to prevent fear of fireworks from developing in their pets from a young age.

Owners should plan ahead by consulting their veterinarian and/or a qualified animal behaviour expert well before Guy Fawkes Night, so that they can prevent their pet from suffering any unnecessary distress. For tips and guidelines, please visit -

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Announcing the 2012/13 International Animal Welfare and Ethics Winter Series of Talks

In collaboration with our animal welfare colleagues in the Scotland’s Rural College (SRuC) and the RDSVS student led Veterinary Ethics Forum, the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education is pleased to be able to welcome a number of high profile animal welfare and ethics speakers to the vet school this winter.
The talks will take place during evening or lunchtime sessions, and started last week with an excellent talk by Dr Dorothy McKeegan of Glasgow University on animal ethics for veterinarians and animal scientists.
Over the course of the next few months, speakers will address issues ranging from bear conservation and captive bear welfare, animal birth control programmes in India, to the role of the vet in animal welfare and a debate on transgenics and ethics.
The sessions are open to all students, staff and colleagues from the wider University of Edinburgh community.  Please email if you have any queries.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Student's Vet Ethics Forum

On behalf of Liv Nathan, the staff and students here at Easter Bush Campus, we would like to thank Dr Dorothy McKeegan for coming to give us an excellent talk last night.


Dr McKeegan spoke about how each day in animal science and veterinary medicine presents a new set of ethical quandaries: whether it's devising an experiment in line with Britain's welfare standards, or whether making the decision to treat (or not) that poor dog that's on its last legs.

She explained that students might not be familiar with the intricacies of the ethics involved in their current situation: and hoped that this talk would assist us. In fact we learnt where our personal views lie compared to common ethical profiles and what defines our attitudes towards animals within and without science. 
This was a fantastic lecture, and we definitely left with much to think about and to discuss.

Please do come along to support the next lecture for the Veterinary Ethics Forum on Tuesday 23 October.

We also hope to have the next one recorded so we can post it on the Jeanne Marching Centre's website for all our global supporters to watch online- check

Veterinary attitudes towards pre-pubertal gonadectomy of cats: A comparison of samples from New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The owned cat population is continuing to increase as are the number of free-living cats and those relinquished at welfare centres. 

Sterilisation is perhaps the most effective and humane population management tool and the sooner it is implemented the less likely accidental pregnancies are. As such, veterinarians (as well as owners) are pivotal in ensuring that pre-pubertal sterilisation (PPS) takes place. Current literature suggests that PPS is more likely to be considered for cats that are in welfare centres and less so for companion cats. However, accidental pregnancies are likely and are not contingent upon ownership status.

This research sought to establish how practitioners view PPS. It demonstrated that veterinarians who provide welfare centre/shelter services perform PPS at an earlier age. Likewise, veterinarians in New Zealand and Australia consider PPS more acceptable and implement it at an earlier age than veterinarians in the UK. We propose that this may have three core causes:
1) That cats are considered more ecologically destructive in NZ and Australia and this is reflected in wider veterinary and public opinion
2) That the cat specific guidelines for sterilsation, endorsed by the Veterinary Associations in these three countries, differ and therefore drive this difference
3) The sampling method may have resulted in the differences observed.

We conclude that the non-acceptance of PPS by practitioners (and owners who are not addressed in this work) leaves a significant window of opportunity for unwanted pregnancies to occur perpetuating the issues surrounding the free-roaming and unwanted cat populations. 

The full article by Mark Farnworth, a PhD student associated with JMICAWE and Unitec NZ Institute of Technology is in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 11 October 2012.

Monday, 15 October 2012


Last week the JMICAWE hosted three of our colleagues from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), who will be supporting the MSc International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law.

Cindy Milburn is IFAW's Director of Outreach and Education, Dr Ian Robinson is Director of the Animal Rescue Programme, and Kate Nattrass Atema is Director of the Companion Animal Programme. All three directors will be contributing real life case materials and expertise to support   the MSc IAWEL in delivering practical, front-line animal welfare teaching with a global focus.

Programme Director Fritha Langford introduced the IFAW staff to our cuttting edge e-learning platform technology, demonstrating the students' uses of discussion boards, wikis, and interactive lectures. After a live lecture by Dr Marie Haskell of Scotland's Rural University College, Cindy and Ian were able to interact directly with students around the globe to discover what they felt about the course so far.

The MSc IAWEL offers a unique opportunity to share experiences amongst students from diverse backgrounds, and deliver world-class education in animal welfare science, ethics and law.

Cindy Milburn and Ian Robinson interact with MSc IAWEL Students under the tutelege of programme director Fritha Langford.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Ethics of animal training discussed by the RDSVS Student Veterinary Ethics Forum

The question of whether it is ethical to train animals was considered by the RDSVS student veterinary ethics forum at their meeting this week.
The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education’s (JMICAWE) Prof Nat Waran provided an introductory talk in which she highlighted some of the welfare concerns associated with training methods, approaches and equipment as well as some of the potential benefits. At the end of her talk she posed questions about whether there are some species that shouldn’t be trained, how we decide upon acceptable trained behaviours and goals and how training could be regulated.
In the discussion that followed, under the capable chairmanship of third year student, Olivia Nathan, the forum members explored their views on whether it was possible to decide if an animal enjoys being trained, and if so could this be used for deciding whether or not training is acceptable. In addition they considered the interesting question of whether training could be considered as occupational therapy and enriching for captive wild animals with no chance of being released into their natural habitat.
No consensus was reached about whether training in all its forms is ethical, but all agreed that despite the many grey areas, animal training should always adhere to a ‘do no harm’ policy and should only be carried out using humane, high welfare approaches and by ethical trainers with good knowledge of the species normal behaviour and how to properly apply learning theory.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Evidence based equitation workshop as part of the Italian Society for Veterinary Sciences conference in Rome.

Prof Nat Waran of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE)  was delighted to be invited to present to the Italian Society for Veterinary Sciences (S.I.S. Vet.) at their annual meeting, which this year was held in Rome, in September, entitled ‘The role of horse-human dyad in sport and therapeutic performances’.

Professor Waran  spoke about how an evidence based approach should be used for ensuring the highest welfare standards for horse training and management as well as to assess the way in which they are used in recreation, performance and sport.

Other speakers included Dr Kathalijne Visser-Riedstra, a senior researcher in the Animal Behaviour and Welfare Group of Wageningen UR Livestock Research in the Netherlands as well as colleagues from veterinary departments in Pisa, Messina and Teramo.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Successful launch of new online animal welfare programme

The JMICAWE have developed a new online Masters degree in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law and its inaugural year started on the 17th of September at the R(D)SVS.

We have 35 pioneer students coming from 5 continents and a variety of professional and academic backgrounds, including the veterinary profession, Non-Governmental Organisations and the legal profession. The students are studying a breadth of subjects that are instrumental in animal welfare, from behavioural science to ethical concepts and global legislation.

Dr Fritha Langford, an animal welfare scientist who specialises in dairy cattle welfare and the development of animal welfare education initiatives, has been appointed as the Programme Director.
Dr Langford said “The programme aims to develop students’ understanding of how scientific evidence can be applied to give insight and improve animal welfare standards worldwide while also enhance knowledge of scientific study and research”.

The programme is run by the University of Edinburgh, through their JMICAWE and is in partnership with Scotland's Rural College (SRUC). It is aimed at both UK and international graduate students, enabling them to study flexibly part-time through online learning, and achieve a Certificate, Diploma or Masters degree over one, two or three years.

For further details, please visit

Successful second animal welfare workshop held with the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University at their campus in the Wayanad district

JMICAWE’s Prof Nat Waran was recently joined by Prof Neil Sargison, the RDSVS Head of the Farm Animal Section in delivering the second British Council funded workshop on Production Animal Health and Welfare in Pookat.

Prof Waran discussing poultry welfare issues at a new slaughter house in the Wayanad District
The Workshop was attended by 18 of the University’s Faculty members from both campuses, was considered to be a great success. Topics ranged from animal welfare measures, improving welfare through implementing animal health and welfare audits, the importance of preventative medicine and herd health management, and the role of the vet in animal welfare. Faculty members were given the opportunity to explore a problem based approach to delivering animal health and welfare content, and they gained an insight into the ways in which colleagues in Edinburgh utilised a more practical hands on approach for assessing and managing health and welfare.
The KVASU Vice Chancellor, Dr Ashok has pledged that ‘KVASU, with the help of colleagues in the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies of University of Edinburgh will jointly offer online distance learning programmes in Animal welfare as part of continuous professional development and KVASU will act as a facilitator for implementing problem based learning in the country. In addition he hopes that with the help of Veterinary Council of India, the University will take a lead role in organising an International Workshop during 2013 for the Vice chancellors of the Veterinary universities in the country to promote this approach to up-skilling the veterinary profession in India.
Moreover the farms of KVASU, Pookode campus will be developed as model farms with high animal health and welfare standards’.  The JMICAWE team will be returning to Kerala to deliver the third and final British Council sponsored workshop, on developing a PBL approach to small animal health and welfare, in late Jan 2013.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Improving animal welfare in China

Animal welfare in China is often a controversial issue, and nowhere more so than in China’s hundreds of zoos and safari parks. Both human and animal safety issues commonly arise, and knowledge of animal health and welfare, behavioural needs and appropriate husbandry is very limited. To this end, the first International China Veterinary Symposium to improve captive wildlife welfare was recently arranged by the China Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG) in partnership with Beijing Zoo. The CAZG is the government authority responsible for regulating zoos in China.

The itinerary for the event, with expert guest speakers, was provided by the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, part of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, with support from the Animals Asia Foundation, and highlighted the need for a proactive, preventative approach to health and welfare issues, and the importance of addressing the behavioural and psychological needs of captive wild animals in captivity.

The symposium was attended by 30 veterinary surgeons from 27 zoos and safari parks across China. The symposium included case studies, video, practical examples, and discussion groups, in addition to theory. Topics covered included animal welfare, behaviour and mental health, pain recognition and management, preventative medicine, and a range of clinical techniques to improve the level of veterinary care and animal welfare delivered by vets managing captive wildlife collections.

In addition to providing veterinarians with the practical skills they need to improve animal health and disease control at their zoos, the workshop continuously emphasised the importance of improving welfare for captive wild animals.

Speaking at the event, Heather Bacon welcomed the opportunity to promote enhanced animal welfare and veterinary care for zoological animals. She commented:
“Whilst the ethics of managing wild animals in captivity are often complex and sensitive, it is important to recognise the reality that many wild animals are permanently housed in zoological collections and the zoo veterinary community has a responsibility to manage their health and welfare effectively, by working together to promote animal welfare in a constructive and practical forum, we can improve the lives of many animals”

Monday, 24 September 2012

First international Conference on Dog Population Management

This September , the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) of the UK government, held the inaugural International Meeting on Dog Population Management.

Whilst the UK has a relatively positive reputation for animal welfare, globally the issue of dog population management creates animal welfare, public health and economic concerns. This meeting brought together experts from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia to share experiences and ideas on dog population control. Presentations ranged from chemical neutering solutions to ecological studies of street dog social dynamics, also covered were important topics such as dog bite injury reduction and effective responsible dog management strategies. The JMICAWE was represented by both prof Natalie Waran, and Veterinary surgeon Heather Bacon who presented on the health and welfare issues between dog farming, transport, slaughter, and zoonotic disease risk in China.

This is the first time that a such important issues relating to dog health and welfare have been addressed by a government agency in the UK and it is hoped that meetings like this will form the basis for future collaborations and partnerships to push forward humane dog population management strategies