Monday, 10 August 2015

Chinese Deans Visit JMICAWE in Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has been working with the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) since 2013 when we signed a unique agreement enabling both parties to collaborate on innovative veterinary research and educational programmes.  The agreement - the first between the CVMA and a UK university – also aimed to promote and strengthen the role of the vet in China, particularly in the area of animal welfare. 

Since 2013 this agreement has been supported by a range of innovative veterinary educational initiatives including the delivery of a Massive Open-access Online Course, with video tutorials subtitled in mandarin, and co-organising the animal welfare education stream at the annual China Veterinary Conference – delivering animal welfare CPD directly to Chinese veterinary practitioners.
Continuing this body of work, last week we were delighted to host the Deans and senior Professors from China’s three top Veterinary schools: China Agricultural University, Nanjing Agricultural University, and the Inner Mongolia University, plus colleagues from the CVMA at a workshop on “International Veterinary Education and Animal Welfare”, here at the Royal (Dick) school of Veterinary studies. The Deans interacted with a range of clinical, research and academic staff, and focussed on the ways in which robust research, teaching and practice of good animal welfare supports excellence in veterinary education. Of particular interest was the investment the R(D)SVS has made in promoting the use of non-animal alternatives in the veterinary curriculum, and the Chinese delegation were particularly interested in this practical approach to promoting good animal welfare whilst also supporting an excellent learning environment.

The trip, funded by World Animal Protection, also allowed the delegation to visit the Royal Veterinary College in London, and to meet with John Blackwell, President of the British Veterinary Association, to discuss the role of the vet in safeguarding animal health and welfare, both nationally and internationally.
Animal Welfare is of increasing importance within the Chinese veterinary curriculum, having recently been incorporated into the final undergraduate veterinary examinations, but is often still poorly understood as a robust, and evidence-based subject. The use of live animals in teaching is widespread across Chinese Universities, and such practices may undermine theoretical welfare teaching, as well as decreasing student empathy for animals.
Collaborations such as this one are important in promoting animal welfare as a rational and science-based subject, essential for global trade and food security. In addition the positive relationships, educational workshops and teaching exchanges developed by the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, at the University of Edinburgh, are helping to support the integration of practical and welfare-friendly alternatives into the Chinese veterinary curriculum, as well as championing the role of the veterinarian as an international ambassador for good animal welfare.

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