Sunday, 25 October 2015

International Companion Animal welfare Conference promotes the need for an evidence based approach

This month, the JMICAWE was delighted to be invited to present at the annual International Conference on Companion Animal Welfare, Hosted by the Dog’s trust in Porto, Portugal.

The conference showcased the work being done around the world to improve dog and cat welfare by organisations such as Dog’s Trust, IFAW, Mission Rabies, Nowzad, and Change for Animals Foundation, as well as including presentations from Rachel Casey of the University of Bristol and our own Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE.

Speaking at the conference Heather said;

This is a great opportunity to engage with stakeholders working in all aspects of dog and cat welfare – from TNR projects to shelters to pet dogs and cats, the ubiquitous nature of our companion animals means that we often rely on tradition or assumptions to manage them, but conferences like this promote the communication of evidence-based approaches to dealing with thorny issues such as overpopulation, rehoming, or behavioural problems.”

Heather’s presentation – on the evaluation of dog welfare in TNR projects highlighted the importance of the individual, even in large scale population control effort. She presented the results of work carried out by the JMICAWE team in India and Africa, funded by the Dogs Trust,  to develop a method for assessing the welfare of the individual animal before, during and after experiencing a 'Trap, Neuter and Return' programme.  

The conference also included the second annual meeting of the EU Dog and Cat alliance – a multidisciplinary group working on dog and cat relevant health and welfare issues across the EU

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Animal Welfare Masters students visit the Highland Wildlife Park

This year's MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare students enjoying a visit to the RZSS's Highland Wildlife Park.
This year we welcomed 38 Postgraduate students from various parts of the world, to study on the on-campus Masters programme in Applied animal behaviour and welfare.  As part of their studies, the students recently enjoyed a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park (RZSS)in Aviemore, where they got the chance to carry out animal welfare assessments on certain enclosures and then discuss their findings with the HWP staff. The HWP keepers and management were very interested to hear the comments and suggestions made by our students, and promised to consider them as part of their regular animal welfare audits. The University of Edinburgh and the RZSS have had a long and productive relationship, and regularly work together to develop and deliver high quality education and research to enhance captive animal health and welfare. The visit to the HWP provided these international students to learn more about the conservation work being carried out there to benefit native Scottish Species, as well as to showcase the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. What a great way to learn!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

New Video: Dog Welfare in Trap-Neuter-Return Programmes

We're very excited to announce the launch of our new video on YouTube, created in partnership with the Dog's Trust.

The Dog's Trust awarded the JMICAWE a grant to investigate dog welfare in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programmes. This method is advocated by animal welfare organisations and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). However, with high targets for the TNR programmes in many countries, we need to ensure that we are not putting individual dog welfare at risk in order to achieve population control.

In this video, Heather Bacon, our Veterinary Welfare Education and Outreach manager talks about some of the work we've been doing with the Dog's Trust to understand and measure welfare in a TNR programme.

As Heather says, dog population management is a global issue. A good TNR programme will protect dog populations by improving their health, their relationships with the human community and controlling their population size. But a good TNR programme also needs to consider the use of welfare measures to monitor dog welfare while they are going through the programme.

Edinburgh Veterinary Nurses share Animal Welfare expertise in India

Animal welfare experts and veterinary nurse students are travelling to India to help raise standards of care for sick animals. They will share knowledge and demonstrate clinical techniques and interventions that can significantly improve animals’ quality of life.
Animal Welfare experts from the University of Edinburgh’s Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education will be joined by students from Edinburgh Napier University on the 10-day trip to work with colleagues at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. This builds on the four year relationship that has been developed between Edinburgh and Kerala to support staff capacity building in teaching animal health and welfare.

Veterinary Nursing and Animal Welfare

Developments within veterinary training institutes across the world have often concentrated on investments in technologically advanced equipment and training of veterinary surgeons. However, good welfare of hospitalised animals starts before the consultation room and long after medical or surgical intervention; this is the domain of the veterinary nurse. Through this project we hope to raise awareness of the vital role of veterinary nurses in improving care for animals that require medical attention. Currently there is no official recognised veterinary nurse training scheme or qualification in India, despite the country’s booming pet population. The Edinburgh team of vets, veterinary nurses and animal welfare scientists will work with colleagues in Kerala to provide training in animal nursing care and will demonstrate how vets and veterinary nurses should work side by side to provide for the health and welfare needs of animals through the whole veterinary experience.
An animal’s experience can be improved dramatically when nursing care is provided by a knowledgeable, well trained and compassionate individual. Veterinary nurses are in the perfect position to do this.
Hayley Walters
Welfare Veterinary Nurse, Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

Best practice

They will also share best practices in hygiene and infection control and explain how to recognise and manage pain in animals. In return, the Edinburgh students will benefit from being exposed to veterinary practices in a different environment, tackling problems they may not have encountered elsewhere.
We are excited to have the opportunity to learn from our colleagues in India and to experience caring for animals in an environment that brings challenges we haven’t faced before.
Natalie Maxwell
Veterinary Nursing student, Edinburgh Napier University

Animal Welfare Education

Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University is one of India’s well respected veterinary universities. It delivers annual workshops on animal welfare teaching in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh. The visit and workshop will take place in November 2015. The students, who have begun fundraising for the trip, will track their experiences through a blog. So watch this space.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Animal Welfare a priority for European zoos

EAZA Poland 2015

Last month Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE was in Wroclaw, Poland to deliver key training on zoo animal welfare at the annual conference of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.

Attended by 700 representatives from zoos as far away as China, the USA and Russia, the annual EAZA conference is able impact globally on the understanding of key zoo animal welfare issues.

During the conference Heather was involved in delivering two workshops and a plenary presentation on various aspects of zoo animal welfare. Additionally EAZA has announced the formation of a new Animal Welfare Working Group to specifically address questions from members about animal welfare.

Speaking from Wroclaw, Heather said “It is extremely positive that EAZA – an organisation with 293 zoo members, is focussing on developing capacity in animal welfare. This positive engagement is a crucial step in promoting good welfare for zoo animals throughout Europe and beyond. Whilst zoos may be  ethically controversial, it is important to engage with the zoo community in the same way that we engage with farmers, veterinarians and researchers, to promote effective education, and good standards of animal welfare, across all communities.”

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

From Edinburgh to Japan; Animal Welfare takes Centre Stage

Last month, Professor and Centre Director of JMICAWE, Nat Waran gave a plenary talk at the ISAE conference in Hokkaido on Companion animal welfare conundrums, as well as providing a talk on 'Going Glocal' to solve animal welfare issues.

ISAE September 2015

The International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE), celebrates its 50th Anniversary in Edinburgh next year, when we are expecting more than 500 animal behaviour and welfare scientists to be in attendance. 

The Japan trip didn't end there.
Japan's population of pets is growing rapidly and with international concerns for animal welfare rising, Japanese researchers, veterinarians and government officials are keen to learn more about why animal welfare matters in countries elsewhere. Centre director, Prof Nat Waran and SRUCs Dr Fritha Langford, were invited speakers in Tokyo, where they provided talks at Tokyo and Teikyo Universities as well as during a workshop on "why animal welfare matters" .