Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Celebrating a busy and productive year for Animal Welfare Education from the JMICAWE team

As we race towards the end of 2014 we wanted to wish all our followers, contacts, colleagues and friends our warmest wishes of the season.

Looking back, we have had a tremendous year working towards improving animal welfare through education.  The team has partnered with various NGOs, Universities and Government depts. To deliver a wide variety of workshops in a number of countries such as China, Vietnam and India as well as closer to home in Europe and the UK.   In addition we have engaged with various animal welfare groups to develop robust measures for assessing the effectiveness and welfare issues related to dog and cat population management, and have worked in Bosnia, Botswana and India to deliver valuable Trap-Neuter –Return  (TNR) training and research.

Over the summer we ran what turned out to be a highly successful MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) reaching 33500 people from 163 countries. For those who haven’t yet had the chance to participate, we will be running the course again in February 2015 and will be sending out details about this in the New Year- so watch this space! (

We have collaborated and worked with some wonderful organisations s developing online courses and capacity building and our work with these will continue into 2015 as we expand our animal welfare capacity building work.

Conferences have also featured well this last year- starting with the 5 day conference in February held in Bangalore in collaboration with the Commonwealth Veterinary Association Including a day on Advances in Animal Welfare’, working with the WPA team in Asia for their key Driver programme held in Taiwan, partnering with The Animals Asia Foundation team in Vietnam and China on veterinary educator capacity building workshops, initiating the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University’s three day workshop on developing veterinary nursing in India and providing animal welfare education and research contributions in conference sessions at meetings related to; horses, captive wildlife and companion animal conferences. We have quite a number of events lined up for next year and look forward to meeting some of you on our travels. Closer to home here at the Vet School, we started the year with a successful International seminar series that was very well attended by our veterinary undergraduates in fourth and final year.  Our online and on-campus Masters Programmes continue to grow and we welcomed many new students in the new academic year.  Our Animal Welfare and Behaviour final year Elective course proved popular as an option for  our Undergraduates, and we are running it next year with an extra week and for a larger cohort.

We have some exciting plans for 2015 as we continue with our animal welfare work, so please keep reading our Blog and Twitter feeds for the latest news about our activities.

Meanwhile we would like to wish you all a very peaceful and happy Christmas holiday period and all the best for 2015

Edinburgh, Scotland



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

“Vets for Animal Welfare” Workshop

Titus Alexander, who has worked internationally on veterinary education in animal welfare with World Animal Protection, recently visited the students at the Royal (Dick) Vet School with a workshop of Animal Advocacy for student vets.
The JMICAWE team had seen this workshop in action in Taiwan, back in August, and it was very exciting to see it happen again. The Edinburgh students said they found the workshop very useful. The workshop focussed on how vets can be advocates for animal welfare as the main point of contact for the public in dealing with most animal species. What is the veterinarian’s role in animal welfare, especially when they are presented with cases which can sometimes be challenging or distressing?
Our students found the workshop very interesting and useful with one student saying they learned: ‘That as a vet I have the opportunity to influence changes” and another saying 'I would highly recommend [the course]. It complements our veterinary curriculum quite well.’
It’s great to see the next generation of vets engaging with animal welfare advocacy early in their careers and we thank Titus for the opportunity.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

2nd Global Webinar on Animal Welfare, a success for the World Veterinary Association

This week, JMICAWE Director, Prof Nat Waran, was invited to give the main presentation for the first session of the WVA global webinar, on the use of the MOOC for assisting education and training. With 11 eminent presenters and panel members from organisations including; the European commission, OIE, FVE, WAVMA, FAO,AVMA IVSA and various national governments as well as around 65 invited participants, this was a truly international affair.
The animal behaviour and welfare MOOC accessed by more than 34,000 people from 163 countries, was used as one example of creating accessible animal welfare education using new technology, and discussion centred around the way in which this sort of approach could be tailored for specific audiences, and how we can use this sort of platform for creating credible relevant learning material for people from diverse backgrounds. Other presenters provided some interesting insights into the online training resources developed for veterinary students and practitioners, and it was concluded that there is a wealth of material available and new technology can play an important role in helping with accessibility. But there was recognition that we now need to get together to prevent wasteful duplication of effort, ensure that there was some consistency in the message regarding welfare and assessment, and to avoid audience confusion.   
This was a really interesting event, and a recorded version of the afternoon’s talks and discussion can be accessed online through the FVE and WVA websites.
Prof Nat Waran at the Webinar

Monday, 8 December 2014

Animal Welfare on the Agenda in India – Maneka Gandhi meeting

Last week saw the JMICAWE director Nat Waran meet with Indian Government Minister, Maneka Gandhi, for a discussion about the work Edinburgh is involved with in relation to veterinary education in India, as well as discussing future plans and shared interests.

Although Maneka is currently the Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development in the Government of new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she is well known for her passion for animal welfare; she was instrumental in creating India’s Animal Welfare Ministry—a first in the world, and serving as its first Minister. As Minister for Animal Welfare, she banned the use of bears, primates and big cats in public performances, developed and championed a National Animal Welfare Institute to impart training in the field, and she has published many books and magazines for all audiences about animal welfare. Maneka remains committed to helping to support activities aimed at education especially for women in rural areas, where animals play such an important part of lives.

Discussions were far ranging and positive, and it was clear that many of the JMICAWE ambitions for improving the lives of animals in India through empowering the veterinary profession with the knowledge and skills they need to be advocates for animal welfare, are shared with her. We look forward to further positive interactions in the future. 


Maneka Gandhi
(Image courtesy of:



Thursday, 4 December 2014

Promoting Best Practise Animal Care in Veterinary Clinics in India

The emerging role of Veterinary nursing for providing high quality management of the care and welfare of patients in animal clinics in India, was discussed by the Jeanne Marchig Centre animal welfare team working alongside colleagues from the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University, at the KVASU Pookode campus last week. Presentations covering subjects such as: effective pain management, assessing welfare in a clinical setting and the work of the veterinary nurse, were provided to staff and final year students from both of the KVASU campuses. The outcome of the meeting was a commitment from accompanying colleagues from Edinburgh Napier University to work closely with Edinburgh University’s JMICAWE animal welfare nurse, Hayley Walters, to develop a veterinary nursing exchange project involving Napier veterinary nurse degree students, to work with small animal veterinary teams in Kerala to demonstrate the way in which veterinary nursing improves the care and welfare of animals before, during and after surgery or treatment.

Hayley Walters – Welfare veterinary nurse said:

‘We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with our Edinburgh and Kerala colleagues to develop the field of veterinary nursing in India, and to demonstrate the important role well educated veterinary nurses can have in improving the animal’s experience within the veterinary clinic’.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014


The JMICAWE team and colleagues have just returned from delivering successful workshops at Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) in India. Workshops ran for 4 days, starting with a day focussing on developing and promoting best practise for high welfare within veterinary clinics in India, and followed by workshops focussing on  wildlife conservation.


In the era where conservation science is emerging as one of the research priorities across the Globe, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University is planning to identify the research priorities in this sector. The  International workshop on “Identifying Priority Areas in Wildlife Conservation and the Role of KVASU” began on 25th November 2014 at its Pookode Campus. Faculty and students of KVASU attended the Workshop, which was part of three years of multidisciplinary National and International collaborative ventures developed by KVASU in various areas including Wildlife science. Further collaborations and projects are now being planned in relation to improving animal welfare in the future.

KVASU has already established MoUs for collaboration with the Kerala Forest Research Institute, Kerala State Forest Department and the University of Edinburgh and has completed a collaborative student research project involving faculty of University of Calgary, Canada.

Read more about it here