Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) project – Inaugural Conference in Norway

Last week Fritha Langford (who works with JMICAWE on their new online MSc) attended the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) project first conference in Oscarsborg, Norway. All of the research teams presented their work from the first year of the project covering the five main AWIN species: sheep, goats, horses, donkeys and turkeys.
The conference was given details of research investigating feasible ways of assessing indicators of welfare on-farm or on sports-horse stables. The AWIN project is particularly focused on assessing pain and disease in animals as an aspect of welfare often ignored in current welfare inspections. Additionally, we heard about new studies looking into early environment effects on animal welfare and the possibilities for using facial expression in many animal species to assess changes in welfare –predominantly when animals are in pain, with the potential to assist veterinarians and animal owners in providing pain relief or other care more quickly.
One of the unique aspects of the AWIN project is the focus on animal welfare education and dissemination of science to farmers, animal owners, stakeholders and other interested persons. Fritha and her AWIN colleagues unveiled the new online portal that has been designed to provide a hub for animal welfare science information to many different audience types. It is called the Animal Welfare Science Hub (www.animalwelfarehub.com) and over the coming months we hope it will build to be the one-stop-shop for animal welfare education worldwide. The AW Education section of the hub is open and ready for use. Visitors to the Hub can already interact with some of the premade learning materials and within the next few weeks the ‘sharing facility’ will become open for use, allowing course organisers from across the globe to upload the details of their courses allowing students to search for courses in an easy and reliable manner. Please visit the Hub to find out more.
The AWIN project is funded by the EU VII Framework Program

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