Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Jeanne Marchig Trustees visit JMICAWE

Earlier this month, the animal welfare team were delighted to host the Jeanne Marchig Trustees on a visit to the R(D)SVS.  The day was a huge success and we were able to demonstrate to the Trustees the advancement of animal welfare within the teaching programmes here, as well as presenting details about our projects and collaborations overseas.

The trustees were taken on a tour of the school and shown how innovative models and manikins are used today to teach a huge range of clinical skills, such as rectal examinations, suturing and blood sampling, thus replacing the need to use live animals in the early teaching stages. Before lunch, there was time for a quick look around the small animal teaching hospital where the advances in veterinary medicine (Anaesthesia, Endoscopy, CT and Radiotherapy) could be witnessed.

Not only were we able to show them our wide range of resources and excellent facilities,  we were able to demonstrate the development of our teaching programmes, including the forthcoming MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), and the access to education this was going to provide. 

The Trustees were extremely impressed with the work of the centre and the vet school, and were delighted to see the positive outcomes of their involvement and the progress being made.

“The Trustees of the Marchig Trust during their visit were delighted to learn of the work and progress being made by the team of the JMICAWE at home and abroad.  In addition, the Trustees were impressed by the teaching facilities available for the students at the Royal (Dick) Vet, particularly the animal alternative models within the small and large animal clinical skills development areas which replaces the need for animals and gives students confidence as they develop their skills prior to contact with animals.  Through its grant giving, the Marchig Trust always seeks to make a real difference in support of the animal kingdom.  The Trust's considerable grant to Edinburgh University to establish the JMICAWE is doing just that" 
               Les Ward, Chairman of the Marchig Trustees







Pet fish welfare is often over looked but increasingly it is becoming apparent that fish have welfare needs and are likely to suffer if these are not met in captivity. Pet fish keeping is growing in popularity and a recent survey suggested that one in ten people in the UK and  new figures show there are now more tropical pet fish in the UK than cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs combined. It is for this reason that good information about responsible fish-keeping is more important than ever. The ITS NOT JUST A FISH WEBSITE – provides good information and advice to help ensure good standards of welfare and raise awareness of the need for a fish centred approach when choosing to keep them as pets .
See  http://injaf.org/ for more information.

Monday, 28 April 2014

animal welfare hub launched in celebration of World Veterinary Day 2014

AVMA launches comprehensive animal welfare hub in celebration of World Veterinary Day 2014; participates in global webinar

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1875123#ixzz30Aj01hLv

WSPA Consultation on Global Standards of Animal Welfare in Veterinary Education

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is launching a global survey on suitable standards of excellence in applying animal welfare principles in vet schools, with support of the WVA.

The standards will be voluntary, to help veterinary schools show good practice in animal welfare and support the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines for new veterinary graduates Day 1 competencies in animal welfare. The draft standards cover ten key areas of teaching, research and organizational culture, listed in the survey.

WSPA would like to hear from all vets, vet educators and veterinary students on what they think about the proposals. The online survey only takes 10-12 minutes: please follow this linkhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QCMN7RX

The survey is open to all veterinarians, vet educators and students. It is also available in Chinese, French, Korean, Indonesian, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Vietnamese and other languages.   

It will run until 1 Sept 2014.

Further information can be found on the following link:

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Upcoming Debate from Sentience Mosaic: Where are we in reducing the use and improving the welfare of lab animals

Reminder 3 days to go....
With guest panellists
Barney Reed, Senior Scientific Officer, RSPCA and Dr Judy MacArthur Clark, Head of Animals in Science Regulation Unit, Home Office

Date: 28 April 2014
Time: 3pm (UK time)

Our panellists will answer your questions live on the web!
Send your questions to sentience@wspa-international.org
Follow link for more information:

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Film showcases Indian animal health partnerships

The work of animal health and welfare experts from Edinburgh is the subject of a new University film.

The short video features staff from the Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies who travelled to Bangalore in March 2014.

The Indian city played host to an international animal conference, organised jointly by Edinburgh, the Commonwealth Veterinary Association and partners from across India.

This film shows how Edinburgh is working closely with colleagues in India and asks how animal husbandry and welfare standards can be improved by sharing knowledge.

You can watch the film by  going to this link:

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


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

Our Spring newsletter is now available to download.

Stories include:





and much much more....


Monday, 14 April 2014

Veterinary profession debates support for continued badger culling

Last year’s trial badger cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset was supported by the British Veterinary Association on the grounds of assessing whether the shooting of free-standing (as opposed to caged) badgers was safe, humane and effective. The trial was part of the UK government’s approach to gathering more information as part of its TB control strategy and this pilot cull was not intended to examine and links between the changes in badger population and the incidence of TB in cattle in the cull areas.

Last week the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) reviewing the trial cull, released it’s report which recognised that the cull whilst safe, failed significantly on the criteria of humane culling and effectiveness. Based on this report the UK government have decided not to roll out the cull to a wider geographic are but to continue it within Somerset and Gloucestershire and work on developing a humane and effective methodology.

Badger culling as part of the TB control strategy has always been contentious. Several years ago, the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) report initially stated that culling of badgers could play no part in TB control in cattle. However further evaluation of the RBCT data several years later demonstrated that in fact there had been a 16% reduction in cattle TB in the cull areas.

Based on this information recommendations were made that if badger culling were to occur, it needed to a) cover a large area, b) remove 70% of the badger population and c) to be performed over a short period of time (ideally 8 – 12 nights).  For practical purposes last year’s pilot cull set the culling duration at 6 weeks and this was later extended further when the failure of the culls to meet targets became apparent. Based on the IEP’s evaluation the current round of culling failed on all of these targets, as well as failing to meet the humaneness criteria, set at no more than 5% of badgers taking longer than 5 minutes to die. This means that the current situation is that TB in badgers and cattle will likely increase because of the perturbation of badger social structure caused by the failed cull.

The Government has accepted most of the recommendations made by the IEP and aims to improve its approach to culls in the next round of culling, due to take place this year, in order to try meet the efficacy and humaneness targets. If these criteria are not met, evidence indicates that the two rounds of pilot culling will have created significant risk of increasing TB in badgers and cattle due to perturbation of badger populations.

Now though, the veterinary profession must evaluate the potential impact of last year’s cull, the failure to meet targets, and the potential damage already done by the impact of perturbation. The only way to mitigate this damage is to repeat the cull, and ensure the targets for efficacy and humaneness are met – but is this possible? Is it likely? Or will further, potentially ineffective culling just make the situation even worse for both cattle and badgers?

The role of the veterinary profession in difficult issues like this one is essential, but gaining a consensus can be difficult. The British Veterinary Zoological Society has always opposed the culls on scientific, ethical and welfare grounds, however the British Cattle Veterinary Association, and overall the BVA, supported last year’s pilot culls.

As a council member for BVZS and a member of the Ethics and Welfare Committee for BVA, the JMICAWE’s Heather Bacon has been fully involved in the current debate on the second round of culling. Speaking for the JMICAWE Heather said, “the issue of TB is a difficult one and requires a comprehensive approach. It is often stated that no country has achieved TB control without wildlife control, but it remains to be seen whether it is actually possible to control badger populations with the current approach, or whether this approach will worsen the situation. Up to 40% of farms within TB endemic areas have no history of TB reaction. It would be useful to investigate this issue further examining what biosecurity measures may be in place in these farms to confer protection in endemic areas. TB control is extremely complex and it is likely that further investment and research is needed into areas such as wildlife contraception, vaccination and cattle control measures.”

The BVA is currently considering it’s position on continuing to support the pilot culls and is soliciting membership views on the issue.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

'FEELING' The British Animal Studies Network (BASN) April Meeting

This meeting of BASN will place on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 April 2014 in the Collins Building at the University of Strathclyde in central Glasgow. A map giving the location of the building can be found here. To register for the meeting, please click here to be taken to the University of Strathclyde online shop. Some ideas for accommodation can be found here. The Premier Inn Glasgow City Centre, George Square is the nearest hotel to the University.

For information about the programme and the talks please go to:
It is hoped that this, along with the other BASN meetings, will be attended by a range of people involved in animal studies and related areas. This might include scholars and postgraduates working within the field; scholars from outside of animal studies who are beginning to recognise the significance of studying the role, place and perception of animals; people from non-academic institutions – animal welfare charities, museums, NGOs who are working with and for animals, and artists who are representing and thinking about animals in their work.



Tuesday, 8 April 2014

'Dog Shelters in Developing Countries ... the Reality' CPD Presentation

Last week, our welfare veterinary nurse, Hayley Walters, delivered a presentation entitled 'The Realities of Dog Shelters in Developing Countries' that was open to all University staff as part of the Continuing Professional Development series.   Hayley was able to give first-hand knowledge based on her own experiences of working in Thailand, India, China and Vietnam.

"Whilst some of the photos and videos were upsetting to see, it's important that people are aware of what is happening on an international level.  Raising awareness not only increases knowledge, it also allows people to make good decisions in terms of working/volunteering in overseas projects and which charities to donate their money to".

Government-run dog shelter in Thailand
The talk was held on Wednesday 2nd April in the HfSA and was very well received.  Hayley will be delivering it again to the anaesthesia team as part of on-going CPD.


Monday, 7 April 2014

This Parliament considers animals to be sentient beings

Christine Grahame, Chair of the Cross Party Animal Welfare Group has Motion for Members Debate addressing Animal Sentience agreed for 15th May 2014.

Motion S4M-09418: Christine Grahame, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2014

That the Parliament considers that companion animals, farmed animals and wild creatures are sentient beings whose contribution to communities and the environment should be recognised and celebrated; acknowledges, in particular, the positive role of pets in the lives of children and adults throughout Scotland, including in Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, and the comfort and assistance that they provide for many people who have difficulty with vision, hearing, mobility or socialising, and affirms that animals need and deserve the best possible welfare standards appropriate for their species whenever they are bred, reared, traded or kept.