Tuesday, 22 July 2014

JMICAWE Team Member Hayley Walters collects RCVS Golden Jubilee Award

In June it was announced that Veterinary Nurse Hayley Walters had won the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Golden Jubilee Award, in honour of her exceptional contribution to her profession. Hayley travelled to London to collect her award at the college’s Annual General Meeting and Awards Day on the 11th July.

‘It was a very formal, enjoyable day.   I'm thrilled to receive the award and hope it will raise awareness of the importance of veterinary nurses in improving animal welfare not just in practice but internationally as well.’ Hayley Walters

The Dick Vet and JMICAWE is delighted that she has won the award, in honour of her exceptional contribution to her profession. The award was created in 2011 and she is only the 3rd person to receive it.

Read about the awards day here:

Hayley Walters receives the Veterinary Nursing Golden Jubilee Award from VN Council Chairman Kathy Kissick

Hayley celebrating with her family, who were all able to attend the day.

Photographs courtesy of Ian Holloway, RCVS

Friday, 18 July 2014

Interactive Animal Welfare at Royal Highland Show

The Royal Highland Show ran from the 19th-22nd June at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston. As always there was a strong presence from University of Edinburgh and SRUC scientists as well as displays from many companies, organisations, and of course, farmers from all over Scotland.

The SRUC pavilion included demonstrations of new technologies which can be used to improve precision farming, both tackling animal welfare issues and the need for sustainable intensification with the future. As well as the interactive exhibits there was also 'Trolley  the Sheep' who demonstrated virtual fencing enclosures to kids and adults alike. Entertaining as these exhibits are, they demonstrate the welfare applications of new technologies. Virtual fencing can be used to keep animals away from dangerous areas without disrupting the home ranges of native wildlife.

The Highland Show is an excellent opportunity for the farming community to meet with researchers and to prompt engagement with the public. It's also an opportunity for Scotland to show off the best it has to offer in terms of agriculture, from the many tractor displays, the animal judging, to the outdoor living and countryside arena, showing off everything from birds of prey displays to ancient medieval woodworking techniques.

Particular highlights on Saturday included the Heavy Horse Turnouts, as the beautiful summer weather meant the horses and carts were gleaming in the sunshine.

As always it was a very enjoyable day.

Read more here about SRUC at the Royal Highland Show:


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Focus on Horse Welfare: New Equitation Science course an outstanding success

Running for the first time from April-June 2014, the new 10 week postgraduate Equitation science course at the University of Edinburgh  has just been completed by 22 distance learning students.

Some students took this course as part of their taught course programme working towards their MSc in Equine Science, whilst others took it as a  standalone Postgraduate Professional Development course. 

This informative course was led by Prof. Natalie Waran and Gemma Pearson, with lots of material provided by  International Society of Equitation Science members; Hayley Randle, Andrew McLean, Lesley Hawson, Lisa Ashton, Carol Hall, Inga Wolframm, Camie Helenski and Chris Rogers.  Topics included: an introduction to learning theory and how horses learn, application of learning theory in practice, training methods and welfare issues, equipment to measure the impact/influence of humans on horses, rider kinematics and rider psychology and current issues in ethical equitation. 
Although challenging, the students particularly enjoyed creating scientific posters on developing new approaches to study horse/human interaction.  A live session was hosted each week where students interacted with the tutor for that week and either had a lecture or discussed materials or thoughts on the week’s topic. 

If you are interested in taking this Equitation Science course in April 2015 then do apply using the link below.  You can also apply for any of our Equine Science courses using this link:

For further information on the Equine Science programme please see our website:

Here are some comments from students who completed the course:

‘’I really enjoyed the discussion boards, the rich content in the lectures and the diversity of perspectives provided during the course’’ (Samantha Jones)

‘’Wish we could have a whole year of this subject, or a second module...Great and varied teachers’’ (Jennifer Ott)

‘’I love how we learned about learning theory and general equitation science and then went through how it is applied under different circumstances within the equine industry.   I felt the assessments were very applicable andchallenging and provided room for further learning during the course as well as inspiring learning outside of the course.  I also  thoroughly enjoyed receiving constructive criticism and clarifying questions from not just the professors, but also my classmates.  In general, I thought the class was well structured, enjoyable, and challenging.  I'm sad it's over’’ (Emily Kieson)




Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Raising Animal Welfare Standards - 11th November 2014

Raising Animal Welfare Standards
at the Time of Slaughter or Killing

Central London

Tuesday 11th November 2014

In our society we expect all animals to be killed and slaughtered in a humane manner regardless of whether it is for food production, skin/fur products or disease control.

From 1st January 2013, existing regulations governing the above were superseded by a new EU directive: Council Regulation (EC) 1099/2009 on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing. The implementation of this directive requires new national legislation - the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations (WATOK), which given the complexity of the legal framework the Government is currently considering.

This special symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, food producers, animal welfare organisations, faith groups, veterinary interests and other key stakeholders to discuss the forthcoming regulatory changes and their ability to underpin higher welfare standards for animals at the time of slaughter.

I am pleased to advise you that we offer a
20% early registration discount off the standard delegate rates for all bookings received by 7th August 2014. For further details about the symposium, please refer to the enclosed event brochure. Do feel free to circulate this information to relevant colleagues within your organisation.

In the meantime, to ensure your organisation is represented, please book online or complete and return the attached registration form at your earliest convenience in order to secure your delegate place(s).

Further information can be found at: http://www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/events/EK11-PPE

Visiting Scholar to JMICAWE research into Cat and Dog Welfare

Mark Farnworth recently joined us for a nine week sabbatical from Unitec Institute of Technology in New Zealand to work with the centre in exploring sterilisation of free-roaming dogs in developing nations, a project funded by the UK DogsTrust. Despite originally working with pigs at SRUC his move to New Zealand resulted in a particular interest around the local cat population. So much so he has recently completed his PhD looking at how and when cats are sterilised in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. In addition he took the first steps to establishing a thermal carbon dioxide laser as a non-invasive method for assessing pain in cats with a view to applying his findings to cats which have undergone sterilisation.

Cats are particularly interesting in New Zealand as is the case for other countries where mammalian predators are either scarce or wholly absent. Cats represent an introduced species with a marked effect on native wildlife meaning many see them as a pest, however, simultaneously they are the most populous (and likely most loved) of New Zealand's companion animals. This has resulted in cats being treated with ambivalence both socially and legislatively. How the cat population is or should be managed to improve both the cats' welfare and reduce their negative impacts is not an easy one to answer. However a suite of studies in New Zealand and Australia hope to provide some of the answers.

Outside his work with cats Mark is particularly interested in how animal welfare is integrated into people's everyday lives and the decisions they make. He has explored topics as diverse as public perception of the welfare of fish during angling to the management of free-roaming dogs in the Pacific Islands.
For more information about Mark and his research you can always visit https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mark_Farnworth or http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=TZlDQp8AAAAJ&hl=en

Monday, 14 July 2014


Today is the launch day of our MOOC and we are all very excited here at R(D)SVS.

It’s not too late to join us either. Our 5 week course already has over 25,000 people signed up from over 150 different countries, so you will be part of a wide and exciting learning community lead by our expert Animal Welfare team here at the University of Edinburgh and SRUC.  

Please Tweet us:  @JMICAWE   #EdAniWelf

Animal welfare is often an emotive subject provoking heated debates and sometimes radical action. However it is also a challenging science based subject that involves consideration of animal emotions and how we can best understand the world from the perspective of a different species.

Through a free online course, animal behaviour and welfare experts from the Jeanne Marchig International Animal Welfare Centre at the University of Edinburgh, will provide knowledge and understanding about the application of animal behaviour and the science of animal welfare. This will ensure that viewers are better equipped to argue for or against a specific issue relating to animal care, management or use, using a rigorous, evidence based approach.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Academic recognised for outstanding contributions to animal welfare science

An academic from the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences is one of the 2014 winners of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science.

Read more about it on this link:


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Meet the MOOC team! Not long to go before the start of our free online Animal Welfare Course

We very much look forward to welcoming you to the course. See the video below to meet our dedicated team in sunny Edinburgh:

You can sign up here: https://www.coursera.org/course/animal

The course begins on the 14th July 2014 and will run three times between now and winter 2015

Twitter at: @  

Monday, 7 July 2014

JMICAWE welcomes visiting academic from New Zealand

We are delighted to welcome Dr Mark Farnworth as a visiting academic to our Animal Welfare Centre this summer.  Mark is a Senior Lecturer at UNITEC Institute of Technology in Auckland and recently completed his PhD in Veterinary Science at Massey University, New Zealand.

Not a stranger to the area, Mark studied his first degree and Masters at Edinburgh University, and is enjoying meeting up and collaborating with old friends and colleagues during his stay.

He will be working alongside our team on various projects and publications including analysing data gathered from Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programmes for dog population management, which will be used by a variety of TNR projects run through NGOs overseas.  He will also be involved with planning the CPD Edinburgh based course for our IFAW colleagues, and discussion boards for the Animal Welfare MOOC (due to start on the 14th July – see #EdAniWelf).

Mark brings with him a particular expertise in the social perception and integration of animal welfare, recognising that social constructs act as both a barrier and a catalyst for welfare improvements. He is particularly interested in the domestic cat as a model of social ambivalence and effective and humane cat/dog population management.
“It is exciting to be able to get involved with the work of the JMICAWE and to experience the environment and atmosphere here at the new facilities of the Royal (Dick) Vet” - Mark Farnworth

Further details about Mark’s research can be found on:

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Animal Welfare MOOC 12 days to go!

Tweet at:

Sign up at:

About the Course

Animals occupy a huge part of the planet and our lives, and although we rely on them for all aspects of our own wellbeing - food, draught power, medical advances, clothing, sport as well as pleasure, protection and comfort - often their quality of life is questionable. Appreciating how animal's experience the world they live in and the different behavioural needs of the various species we interact with, enables us to gain a better understanding of their welfare requirements, so that long term improvements to animal lives can be made.  
There are now more than 60 billion land animals raised for meat each year around the world, and with increasing human populations and a rise in meat consumption in many parts of the world, these figures are set to double by 2050. Added to this is a huge and growing world population of dogs and cats, many of whom are strays with associated health and welfare issues.  International concern for animal welfare continues to grow with rising demand for measures to protect animals and improve their care and wellbeing. The link between animal welfare and human wellbeing is clear, and yet we still have a long way to go if we are to address welfare needs globally. Finding ways to achieve higher standards of animal welfare, is therefore a key priority for any developed and developing nation. Due to gaining in importance internationally, there is increasing recognition of the need for animal welfare issues to be addressed objectively in a scientifically credible manner.
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).


Promoting the Welfare of working equids

Promoting the Welfare of working equids and their importance to the livelihoods of people in developing countries.

Working equids have been described as the 'invisible helpers' in poor communities, often overlooked by policy makers and undervalued by many. However research undertaken by international equine welfare charities has shown that these animals are valuable members if the household and in some parts of the world are responsible for up to 80% of the family income.
This week JMICAWE director, Prof Nat Waran is attending the 7th International Colloquium on working equids as a guest of The Brooke, where presentations will be made by people working in communities where horses, donkeys and mules are so essential and discussions are taking place about how we can raise the awareness of the link between improving equine welfare and human well being. 


Tweet #workingequines



Tuesday, 1 July 2014

TNR Gathering Data going well in Botswana

Earlier this  week the animal welfare team's Heather Bacon and Hayley Walters left for Botswana where they are gathering preliminary data as part of the Dogs Trust funded project to develop robust and practical animal welfare indicators for use in Trap, Neuter and Release projects run by the many animal welfare NGOs worldwide.

Heather and Hayley have already been in touch with us  and we are delighted to report that this essential research is going very well.
 Keep watching this space for a full report upon their return!

Mission rabies - Powering On!

Powering on!


Over 8,000 dogs sterilised and vaccinated in just 11 weeks!

With the continued guidance and support from the Goan Government and the incredible local NGO's, the amazing MR teams have neutered and vaccinated over 4254 females. If 70% of those dogs would have had just one litter of 6 puppies in the forthcoming year, we have prevented 17,867 puppies on the streets of Goa in just three months of work.

By the end of September, the teams will have sterilised over 20,000 dogs. An incredible achievement, only possible because of the fantastic Goan community of animal lovers and the vision of the local Government in endorsing and supporting the project. As a united team, by vaccinating 70% of the dogs in Goa every year, for the next three years, we can rid the state of this fatal and incurable disease.
Read more about it here:
Read more about Mission Rabies here: