Thursday, 29 March 2012

JMICAWE - First Asian Symposium - Website now Live!

The Symposium on Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law, the first of its kind in Asia, was held by the SPCA Hong Kong in its 90th anniversary year in conjunction with The University of Edinburgh and supported by the University of Hong Kong.

The aim of the symposium was to present an opportunity for knowledge transfer with in the region and between different disciplines and professions - encouraging discussion and debate around a variety of issues related to animal welfare, ethics and law.

The Symposium provided attendees with a deeper understanding of some of the issues in the inter-related fields of animal welfare, ethics and law and suggest possible mechanisms that could be employed to improve animal welfare.

International Society for Equitation Science - ISES 2012 in Edinburgh

International Society for Equitation Science to meet in Edinburgh in July this year.

Staff at the JMICAWE are delighted that over 100 abstracts have been
submitted for consideration as spoken papers at the upcoming
International Society for Equitation Science conference to be held at
the vet school in July this year.
Equitation Science is a relatively new area of study, and we are extremely pleased to be able to welcome ISES to the RDSVS. ISES UK 2012 promises to be doubly special – firstly because the conference takes place in Olympic year in the UK – and also because it marks the tenth anniversary since Equitation Science was first recognised as a field of study. The International Society for Equitation Science is a not-for-profit forum consisting of equine scientists, veterinarians, ethologists, trainers and behaviour specialists from around the world who share the view that human-related causes of undesirable equine behaviour are largely attributed to the current lack of science in equitation. Last year ISES council were pleased to partner with the Bartels family in the Netherlands, to run the ISES international conference alongside the Global Dressage Forum. This allowed ISES to have scientists and practitioners learning together about how science can be applied to practical contexts to ensure the welfare of the performance horse.
The next International Equitation Science Symposium will be held in Edinburgh on the 18th –20th July 2012. The theme is ‘The Road Ahead’ and this will allow equitation scientists to showcase and discuss the latest scientific advances for measuring the impact of the rider/driver and equipment on the horse's performance and welfare. For more information about the conference visit: or follow us on Twitter @ISESUK2012.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Introducing Professor David Dewhurst – JMICAWE Professorial fellow for animal alternatives in teaching.

As Professor of e-Learning and Director of Educational Information Services in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, David was appointed as the Jeanne Marchig Professorial Fellow of Replacement Alternatives in Higher Education in 2010.  Although extremely busy with his University wide role in developing e –learning capability, David is frequently invited to present at international conferences describing the research work he and his colleagues have carried out on the approaches to and the measurement of the impact of the use of alternatives to animals for teaching medical undergraduates.  As a member of the governing council for the Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Center for Alternatives to Use of Animals in Life Science Education, based in Tamil Nadu, India, he has been involved in promoting the use of alternatives to animal use in teaching and research. Recently, he was one of two main speakers at a series of workshops held within a number of Indian Medical Schools. The other main speaker being Dr John Pavlowski from Harvard Medical School who talked about human patient simulation. David recent paper entitled ‘ Is animal free teaching in the life sciences better teaching?’ will shortly be published in Alternatives to Animal Experimentation (ALTEX) 29, Special Issue 2912 Proceedings of WC8 pp3-6 (in press).

Friday, 16 March 2012

‘Genetically Altered Animals & the 3Rs’ Meeting

Often a controversial subject, the use and management of laboratory animals is nonetheless something which is essential to engage with, in order to promote constructive dialogue around this topic.

Recognising this, The RSPCA has brought its 3rd meeting on the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction principles applied to Genetically Altered Animals, north of the Border for the first time. This meeting, jointly hosted by the RSPCA, the Laboratory Science Association and the Institute of Animal Technicians, brings together interested parties to engage with and discuss, welfare issues relating to the production and management of genetically altered animals in a laboratory setting.

Delegates attended from research institutions in both England and Scotland, and topics discussed included the production and justification for production of such animals and how this could be minimised utilising techniques such as cryopreservation, The biosecurity, health, breeding and husbandry of genetically altered rodents, and assessment of end of life criteria. The need for more consistent terminology when describing physical problems, and the acknowledgement of behavioural issues that may be associated with 'knock-out' mice and which may need separate consideration in terms of quality of life. The speakers also discussed refinements such as non-surgical embryo-transfer techniques that negate the need for anaesthesia or surgery, and the importance of high standards of asepsis, anaesthesia and analgesia during surgical procedures.

Whilst the use of animals in laboratory research is often difficult and emotive, it was gratifying to see the partnering of NGO and industry experts to deliver consistent messages regarding our responsibilities to animal welfare.

For more information on the use of animals in laboratory research, see the RSPCA website:

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Dr Appleby made an Honorary Fellow

International animal welfare expert made an Honorary Fellow of the R(D)SVS,  JMICAWE.
JMICAWE staff are delighted to announce that Dr Michael C Appleby will be joining them as their first Honorary Fellow.

Born in Edinburgh, Mike studied Zoology at Bristol University and completed his Ph.D. in Animal Behaviour at Cambridge. He then carried out research and teaching on farm animal management and welfare at the Poultry Research Centre (now Roslin Institute) and then as senior lecturer in applied animal behaviour at the University of Edinburgh. Mike was among the group of welfare scientists who helped develop the Masters in Applied animal behaviour and animal welfare, now 22 years old and still going strong. Amongst the many important areas of animal welfare research he has been involved with, he also carried out work that led to the development of the Edinburgh modified cage for laying hens, setting the foundations for the recent EU move to enriched cages for layer birds. In 2001, he moved to the US to take up the position of Vice President of The Humane Society of the United States and head of Farm Animals and Sustainable Agriculture.  Mike is now the chief scientific adviser for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), and is also a member of the Scientific Committee of Humane Farm Animal Care and the Animal Compassionate Committee of Whole Foods Market in the USA and of the UK's Farm Animal Welfare Committee.

We are extremely pleased to be able to draw upon Mike’s considerable expertise and we look forward to welcoming him back into the University.

Exciting partnership formed with Kerala University (KVASU)

Exciting knowledge economy partnership formed with the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) in South India.

The JMICAWE in collaboration with the KVASU and with funding from the
British Council, India Division will conduct a one year long collaborative
project aimed at strengthening the quality of veterinary teaching and
building capacity in the delivery of animal welfare training within the
curriculum. Three workshops will be developed and delivered to KVASU faculty staff to demonstrate how through a problem based learning approach, subjects such as animal welfare science and ethics can be incorporated into existing courses. Professor Natalie Waran, Director of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education says, 'this is an exciting opportunity to help develop veterinary teaching of animal welfare and we very much look forward to working with our colleagues in India to achieve greater awareness of the global importance of animal welfare science and the essential role of the veterinarian in this area'.

Online MSc International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law - now open for applications for Sept 2012!

We are delighted to introduce a unique new online MSc/Dip/Cert in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law which starts in September 2012 providing a high quality educational experience entirely by online distance learning. The aim of the programme is to provide knowledge and an understanding of animal welfare science, with a focus on the international issues arising from animal use in all its forms. We will offer students the chance to learn about: scientific concepts of animal welfare; methods of animal welfare assessment; animal ethics and social responsibility; policy, legislation, regulation and enforcement. Additionally, there will be courses offered on key areas in applied animal welfare such as the welfare of production animals, companion animals, research animals and captive wild animals. For more information please see the website: or to apply please visit

Friday, 2 March 2012

Chinese doctors to call for ‘cruel’ bear farms to be closed

At a conference in London on Friday, the experts will say there is no justification for the farms because their latest research has shown that that herbal substitutes have greater health benefits than those claimed for bear bile which is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The rare public criticism of ‘bile farms’ by traditional Chinese medicine experts will be led by Dr Yibin Feng, an associate professor and assistant director at the School of Chinese Medicine at the University of Hong Kong.

He will unveil new research showing that the bears’ suffering on the farms is “unnecessary” and will call for the farms to be closed down.

“Bears are being inhumanely treated and bear farming must end in the near future,” Dr Feng will tell the conference in Westminster.

“Our research provides evidence that other easily available animal bile and plants can be used as bear bile substitutes.”

1st FAO Global Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Animal Welfare

As we know animal welfare is an increasingly global issue. This has been recognised by many organisations, academics and institutions in many countries and for the first time the Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has brought together experts in animal welfare from around the world for the 1st FAO Global Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Animal Welfare. Speakers from the UK, Europe, Africa and North and South America all contributed presentations on a range of issues from grassroots working equine welfare, to farm assurance schemes and changes in legislation.

Delegates from as far afield as Hong Kong, Suriname and South Africa attended the meeting to share experiences and idea particularly with regard to assessment methodologies of animal welfare across different species, and development and application of policies on best practice. Dr Adroaldo Zanella from the Scottish Agricultural College, one of our partners in Education and Research, presented on the EU Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) project which unites experts from across Europe to determine practical indicators of pain and poor welfare across a range of species.

As a multi-stakeholder forum, attendees comprised NGOs, producers, academics and activists, and it was heartening to see the common desire across all sectors to work together to improving animal welfare around the globe.[uid]=116454

DEFRA announces plans to ban wild animals in circuses

The Government has confirmed its intention to pursue a ban on the use performing wild animals in travelling circuses in England on ethical grounds. However, this will take time. So Defra has also published a consultation in which we propose establishing a licensing scheme to protect the welfare of such animals in the meantime.

As we develop the details and legislative framework for the ban, the welfare of those wild animals currently in circuses is paramount, and for this reason we are consulting on a tough new licensing regime which we can put in place promptly.

For the licensing scheme, we intend to use powers that are already available in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This will allow us to make sure the welfare-based licensing scheme is considered by Parliament before it rises for the summer.

A public consultation exercise was launched on 1 March 2012 seeking views on Defra’s proposals to introduce a licensing scheme for travelling circuses in England that still use wild animals. Anyone responsible for a travelling circus that uses wild animals in a circus performance will need to hold a valid licence, meet strict welfare standards, prepare and follow plans for caring for every animal and have a retirement plan for each animal.

•Written Ministerial Statement (1 March 2012) setting out the Government’s position (PDF)
•Consultation on the proposed licensing scheme and how to respond
Responses to the consultation must be received by 25 April 2012.