Monday, 31 March 2014

Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education Organises animal welfare conference in India

Animal Welfare high on the Agenda in Bangalore last month


This Indian conference was a collaborative event between the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Commonwealth Veterinary Association; Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University, Bidar; and the National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology. It was held in Bangalore from 20-24 February 2014. The talks all addressed the importance of developing an evidence based approach for improving animal health and welfare, and different themes considered various areas of veterinary research, education and policy including; the use of new technologies to combat infectious diseases; finding new ways to tackle India’s growing problem of rabies and humane dog population management and the importance of animal welfare science in both veterinary education and research.
Around 150 delegates were welcomed to each of the 5 days of the conference, with talks provided by over 60 international speakers from countries including: India, UK, Italy, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Switzerland, Japan, Netherlands, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Various International organisations were represented including the OIE, WHO, FVE, EC, WVA and the UK Home Office, in addition 10 of the conference speakers were from the University of Edinburgh.
The conference was delighted to welcome important guests such as the Indian commissioner for Animal Husbandry, Prof Suresh Honnappagol and Sir Timothy O’Shea- Principal and VC of the UoE who inaugurated the ‘Progress in Animal Welfare’ third day of the conference on 22 February where he signed a MoU with the Commonwealth Veterinary Association for future collaborative work in animal health and welfare.
Professor Natalie Waran, The Director of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies who co-organised the event, said:
Improvements in animal health and welfare and, by association, human welfare in India is of pressing concern, especially with the increasing numbers of domestic and livestock animals. My colleagues and I learned a great deal from attending the conference and we plan to continue to strengthen our collaborations with our Indian partners to help tackle the diverse range of animal diseases and important animal welfare issues, the country’s veterinary profession has responsibility for.’
Delegates experienced excellent opportunities for good discussion and the development of future collaborations. Dr Fritha Langford, Programme Director for the Edinburgh based online International Animal Welfare Masters programme said  ‘I for one am very pleased with how it all went, with three potential students applying for MSc IAWEL next year and a further two potential research areas for further discussion –all as a direct result of being at the conference’.
Delegates at the Conference

On 19th February, 2014 the CVA and Karnataka Veterinary Council organised a lecture by Prof. Bruce Whitelaw, Professor of Animal Biotechnology University of Edinburgh, on “A Future for Genetically Engineered Livestock”. His talk can be viewed at the following link:

The Conference Brochure with Abstracts can be downloaded here:


Student Wins World Horse Welfare Bursary

Congratulations to Christian Byrne a  Third Year student of the RDSVS who has been awarded a Bursary by World Horse Welfare.

The bursary scheme provides the opportunity for students to attend The 7th International Colloquium on Working Equids 2014. The Colloquium consists of two days of lectures and discussion together with a third day of practical workshops. The event will focus on the question: “How do we demonstrate the importance of working equid welfare to human livelihoods?”.

Christian Byrne  stated: 'I am hoping to take away from the Colloquium an understanding of the diversity of roles that working equids play in different communities and how the veterinary surgeon can assist in optimising the interaction this has with animal and human welfare'.
Further details about this story can be found on

Free course on Animal Welfare

You can  now sign up for your free course on animal welfare at

In this animal behaviour and welfare course, you will learn about animal welfare and why it matters, develop an understanding of some of the main welfare issues animals have to cope with as well as gaining an insight into the behavioural needs and the emotions of dogs, cats, farmed animals and captive wildlife.

This course is delivered collaboratively by academics from the University of Edinburgh and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC).


Free WVA webinar on animal welfare 29 April 2014

Following the huge success of the WVA Global Seminar on Animal Welfare (held in Prague on 17-18 September 2013), the WVA and the European Commission agreed to keep "alive" the global panel discussions platform on Animal Welfare and to organize a follow up event via webinar with the participation of representatives from AVIN, AVMA, EFSA, EC, FAO, FVE, IVSA, OIE, WSPA, WAVMA, WVA and others.

The webinar will be streamed online for free and will give the public the possibility to ask questions and to comment the discussed Animal Welfare issues.

To Register go to:


Conference on Primates as Pets

Following the recent Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the issue of primates kept as pets, Humane Society International/UK and the Born Free Foundation are co-hosting a one-day conference on Primates as Pets. Please see the details below.

Introduced by the world-renowned primatologist Ian Redmond OBE, and with a discussion chaired by the well-known TV journalist, reporter and primatologist Asha Tanna, the Conference will bring together  international academics, veterinarians, and political and legal experts to discuss the animal welfare science, veterinary, legal, conservation and ethical aspects of the private keeping of non-human primates. BVA President Robin Hargreaves has agreed to speak at the conference.

 The conference website/registration page can be found at

Name: Should primates be kept as pets in the UK?

Date: 29th May 2014 10am

Venue: Directory of Social Change, 24 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2DP (near Euston Square)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Frontline animal welfare for the veterinary nurse

Last week, our welfare veterinary nurse, Hayley Walters, visited Edinburgh College to deliver a lecture in Animal Welfare and Ethics to 2nd year trainee veterinary nurses.

The lecture began with out-lining what animal welfare is NOT as there are so many misconceptions out there. It then went on to explain what animal welfare is and how we can measure it looking at the animal’s physical, physiological and behavioural state. Then, by using real life cases, Hayley went on to explain the difference between welfare and ethics and how it’s important to separate the two when you are making decisions about long term quality of life for an animal.

The student veterinary nurses were then divided into groups and each given their own real life case study with treatment options and had to discuss then present their welfare and ethical concerns for each treatment option.

“By allowing students to think for themselves about decision making and encouraging them to discuss the impact their decisions have on an animal’s welfare, we will hopefully encourage them to make good choices in the future. Choices not just based on how they ethically feel about the treatment option, but also on what the animal’s experience will be”.
Group Work with 2nd year veterinary nurses at Edinburgh College
Lecturing to 2nd year veterinary nurses  at Edinburgh College

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

VetEd Symposium 2014

The Veterinary Education Symposium  is a two day event open to a range of delegates, including veterinary educationalists, veterinary students, practitioners and researchers. It aims to provide an open and friendly atmosphere in which to share ideas, innovations and best practice in veterinary education.
The format includes keynote presentations, interactive poster sessions and workshops. Anybody is welcome to submit abstracts for posters or workshops and participation is actively encouraged.
The Symposium will be held at the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences, Langford BS40 5DU. Registration will be from 10.00 on Thursday 10th July for an 11.00 start.
Further information is available by clicking the tabs below and scrolling down. If you have any other queries please contact the local committee via

Students: Do you have an idea for improving veterinary students' learning experience? Further information and how to apply for the VetEd/HEA Student Travel Fund can be found at The Higher Education Academy

Monday, 24 March 2014

University – NGO collaborations support veterinary students

Last weekend the Liverpool University Veterinary Zoological Society help their annual symposium, inviting speakers from Chester Zoo, the British Veterinary Zoological Society. The Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS), and the Jeanne Marchig international Centre for Animal Welfare Education. The JMICAWE work with WVS to support and promote humane dog management and rabies control strategies in India, and has also offered expertise in mass dog rescue, and in brown bear veterinary care.

At the symposium, Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE outlined the challenges of veterinary work overseas and highlighted her work in collaboration with WVS and Animals Asia to address medical issues in captive bears rescued from the dancing bear trade in Serbia.

Heather commented

“Overseas work can be extremely challenging – there is often a lack of specialist equipment and expertise. Whilst our intentions in undertaking challenges overseas may be good, it is vital that we consider the experience of the animals receiving ‘well-intentioned’ treatment and ensure that we are not inadvertently creating welfare problems. It is easy for enthusiastic students to find themselves in difficult situations, and whilst volunteering overseas can be hugely rewarding, charities like WVS also offer students the support they need when venturing into overseas veterinary work.”

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Visiting the Brooke’s Equine welfare projects in India

It was a real privilege for the Director of the JMICAWE, Prof Nat Waran, to spend a few days in the company of The Brooke India team and Brooke UK Head of research, Dr Karen Reed, on a recent trip to India. The Brooke is an international animal welfare charity with a focus on improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in some of the world's poorest communities. In India there are an estimated 1.2 million equines. Most of these are working animals, pulling loads in places like the brick kilns near to Delhi, where they may cart around 4,000 bricks a day, helping their owner to earn 400 Indian Rupees or about £5.50 a day. With half the money going into feeding their horse, this leaves very little to feed and clothe the family.

The Brooke charity supports Indian equine owners to improve the health and welfare of their animal by providing knowledge, advise and practical help, and in doing so this helps to improve the welfare of the family who rely so heavily on that animal. Whilst in with the local team members, Prof Nat visited five different brick kilns as well as a women’s group. She was impressed by the progress that had been made through the Brooke’s input and the variety of community based approaches used for helping people to come up with their own solutions. The Brooke teams do this through using a human development tool called Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) which uses group exercises, role plays and pictures, and example to share information between participants and they encourage communities themselves to come up with solutions, providing additional input where necessary. For example, in the brick Kiln visited,  strips from old rubber tyres were being used to make a safer and more comfortable place to tether animals than the previously used inflexible and hazardous wooden posts. The main aims of the various approaches used are all in line with the following which are all about;

  • Ensuring that separate water facilities, shelter, provision of first aid, local health practitioners and even road surfaces are available at all brick kiln sites.
  • Teaching equine owners to adopt welfare friendly practices and animal husbandry skills 
  • Encouraging animal-owning communities to establish self-help groups with their own bank accounts, to overcome issues with credit.


Monday, 17 March 2014

New training resource to help Chinese Laboratory animal care

New training resource to help Chinese Laboratory animal care RSPCA UK commissioned, worked with and funded (along with NC3Rs) the Chinese Association for Laboratory Animal Science to produce a Chinese version of the 'Procedures with Care' website:
 This online training resource defines practical approaches towards the adoption of good practice in commonly used procedures such as the administration of substances, and aseptic technique in rodent surgery. If you work in China or have offices or colleagues there, we would appreciate it if you could promote the website to your contacts.

Vietnam embraces animal welfare

Last week the JMICAWE team were delighted to collaborate with Animals Asia and the Hanoi University of Agriculture to deliver a workshop on ‘Strengthening the Global Veterinary profession through integrating Animal welfare Education’, 44 participants from seven Vietnamese Universities attended, in addition to five Animals Asia Staff.

The workshop ran over 3 days, utilising a range of theoretical and practical activities to demonstrate interactive teaching and learning. Animal welfare is perceived to be of importance in the Vietnamese veterinary curriculum as it is part of the OIE Day One Competencies for Veterinary Education. However it is not yet integrated into core teaching.

Dr Phai of Hanoi University of Agriculture commented “Thank you very much to all of you for providing us a really useful course and materials. We will try our best to adopt what you taught us to improve the current animal welfare in our institution.”

Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE said “It’s fantastic to see the Hanoi University of Agriculture leading the way  in supporting the integration of animal welfare into veterinary teaching and recognising that its integration throughout the curriculum is important
Modern electro-acupuncture at HUA

Never too old to learn – senior academics lend their support to new teaching methods
 The successful delegates



5th UK & Ireland Regional Environmental Enrichment Conference

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
27th- 30th April 2014       

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

JMICAWE visit rescued bears in Vietnam

Last month saw Professor Nat Waran, veterinary surgeon Heather Bacon and welfare veterinary nurse Hayley Walters, visit Vietnam to deliver a 3 day Veterinary Education conference at Hanoi Agricultural University.

After landing in Hanoi the trio had just enough time before the conference started, to visit a sanctuary full of Moon and Sun bears that had been rescued from the bile farm industry.

Bear bile has been used in traditional medicine throughout Asia for thousands of years. Traditionally the bile would be taken from the gall bladders of killed wild bears but in the last few decades, bear bile farming was set up and crude extraction techniques were developed. Farming for bile usually involves keeping bears in small cages for their entire lives and, in Vietnam, sedating them and inserting a long needle into the gall bladder to extract the bile despite the practice now being illegal and synthetic alternatives to bear bile being available.

Bears are either bred in captivity to supply the farm trade or mothers are shot, cubs snatched and then trafficked around Asia for the industry. Animals Asia, a Hong Kong based charity, rescues these bears from farms and after extensive surgery and treatment, rehabilitates them into semi natural enclosures.

Heather and Hayley both used to work for Animals Asia so were revisiting old friends at the bear sanctuary but it was Nat’s first time there and she was overwhelmed by the experience.

 “I was very impressed with the level of dedication that the international and local staff showed towards these hundred plus bears at the sanctuary. And I was pleased to see how happy these bears now appeared in their enriched surroundings, despite the appalling conditions they had previously lived in, some for more than 30 years, and the painful procedures and in come cases permanent damage, they had endured on the farms prior to confiscation.”