Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Promoting animal welfare in China

JMICAWE's very own Associate Dean (International), Professor Natalie Waran, is out in China this week.  Yesterday she visited Jilin which is one of the top three vet schools in China and the biggest . They approached us to see if we can develop a relationship so that they can learn about how we deliver veterinary education; how to integrate research so that it underpins their teaching; and how we teach animal welfare and other concepts such as One Health.  So exciting times ahead with a range of initiatives planned including a visit by their senior academics to Edinburgh shortly.... watch this space!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Highly endangered Marsican brown bear released into the wild

Highly endangered brown bear released into the wild


Last month Morena, a highly endangered Marsican brown bear was released into the wild after months of rehabilitation. Found as an orphan cub in May 2015, Morena required treatment for infected wounds, dental fistulas and eye infections, and behavioural rehabilitation to ensure that she could cope with a return to the wild. There are estimated to be only 50 Marsican brown bears left in the world, and this subspecies is only found in Central Southern Italy.

Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE who advised on veterinary treatment of the cub said “We are delighted with the progress that Morena made – her rehabilitation is an excellent example of cooperation between individuals around the world. Marsiscan brown bears are a highly endangered subspecies and so it was essential that Morena was physically and behaviourally able to cope with the stress of reintroduction, and contribute to the breeding success of this population.”

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Non-traditional Companion Animals - the Scottish government's review; and a reptile welfare survey

Non-Traditional Companion Animals – the Scottish government review and reptile welfare survey

The keeping of Exotic pets or ‘not traditional’ companion animals is increasingly under scrutiny as the Scottish government moves forward with its review of their welfare. With surveys such as the PDSA’s Animal Wellbeing report highlighting low levels of owner awareness of the five welfare needs as they apply to traditional companion animals (https://www.pdsa.org.uk/get-involved/our-current-campaigns/pdsa-animal-wellbeing-report), are these problems magnified when it comes to exotic species?

This was the subject of discussion at the recent BVA congress with presentations from Sheila Voas the Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland, and Michael Stanford of the British Veterinary Zoological Society  http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/177/24/616.full?sid=77f6cf98-453d-4445-a53a-f994a16cc67f

This congress builds on discussions already underway within the BVA and with Scottish government, with which the JMICAWE have participated. Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE, sits on both the BVA’s Ethics and Welfare committee and its exotic pet subcommittee, and has been involved in the discussions leading to the developments of BVA’s statements on this issue http://www.bva.co.uk/News-campaigns-and-policy/Policy/Companion-animals/Exotic-pets/

Heather said ‘It is very likely that the welfare of all companion animals, both traditional and non-traditional, could be improved through better owner education and enforcement of existing legislation relating to animal welfare. Surveys such as the PDSA’s PAW report highlight significant deficiencies in the appropriate care we provide for many companion species and at present there is a dearth of information relating to the welfare of non-traditional species. Revision of legislation relating to pet vending is overdue, and the suitability of species to be kept as pets may need to be reassessed.’

Vets dealing with reptile species may be interested in completing this recently developed survey to elicit further information on reptile husbandry and welfare in the UK

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Animal Behaviour Society Lecture - 26th January 2016

For the R(D)SVS Animal Behaviour Society's next guest lecture, we will be joined by our own Professor Danielle Gunn-Moore, BSc, BVM&S, PhD, FHEA, MANZCVSc, MRCVS.
She will be giving a talk on the role of behaviour in feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).
The talk is on Tuesday, 26th January, at 5pm in Lecture Theatre 2. There will also be free chocolate!
Danielle is an RCVS recognised Specialist in Feline Medicine. She is an internationally recognised expert in her area and has received the BSAVA Woodrow Award for outstanding contribution in the field of small animal veterinary medicine in 2009 and the International Society for Feline Medicine/Hill's award for outstanding contributions to Feline Medicine in 2011. She is Professor of Feline Medicine here at the Dick Vet.
For event reminders via Facebook, see our event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/171144263241442/

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Online MSc IAWEL student Anik Boileau makes a difference in new Quebec animal welfare law

We are very pleased to report that the animal protection legislation has been updated in Quebec, Canada. Even more so as one of our Online MSc International Animal Welfare Ethics and Law students was directly involved. Anik Boileau took the brave step to offer her services and she worked on updating the legislation to include sentience as a key term to describe animals. We are very proud of the work she has done.
Anik says:

“When I was in my second year of the MSc in IAWEL, a Manifesto was created here in Quebec by a group of 34 intellectuals, artists, journalists and professors. Entitled “Manifesto for the evolution of Animal's legal status in the Civil Code of Quebec”, it underlined how our Civil Code dated back to 1804 and considered animals as "things". This Manifesto was signed by 52,000 people and that's when our Minister of Agriculture Pierre Paradis announced he would create a Bill to improve the legal situation of animals. I was really thrilled so I decided to write directly to Minister Paradis's Office to offer my services as a consultant and two months later they called me and asked me to work with their lawyer.

I advised on different aspects, but mostly on definitions and in the writing of different chapters. This was a process of give and take but I'm really glad that a major step was taken in the description of animals as sentient beings in this new animal welfare and safety Act. The changes are very important because we now have a specific Act, recognising that" An animal's welfare or safety is presumed to be compromised if the animal does not receive care that is consistent with its biological needs" compared to the previous legislation that applied to animals, in which it was only in the Civil Code under "Property" just like any other "things" or "belongings". My studies in IAWEL were just so helpful because I knew which aspects were the most important ones and I was able to explain clearly their implications from a scientific and legal point of view. My biggest challenge was to explain how the concept of welfare comes from a holistic approach that includes psychological states like anxiety! Thanks to the IAWEL programme, I truly feel that animals here in Quebec now have a much brighter welfare future ahead of them!”

We are so happy that her ongoing studies on IAWEL have helped her feel she has the support and evidence to be able to make a difference.

Programme Co-ordinator, MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour

Further to our blog before Christmas about the launch of our new MSc, we are currently advertising for a Programme Co-Ordinator for this course.

Details and a job description can be found at the link below:-


Please do apply if of interest, the deadline is 11th January!

Animal Welfare: The Human Element - 1st International Conference 19th-21st September 2016


JMICAWE are proud to be the academic partner to the first ever international conference on human behaviour change and animal welfare, to be held in Dorking, Surrey in September.  Our Centre Director, Professor Natalie Waran, will be collaborating on a session about education.  For more details about the conference, follow this link:-

This international conference will be the first in a field that is rapidly becoming recognized as a key component in animal welfare work. Modern practice is moving away from the traditional approach of focussing on service provision (e.g. veterinary care, training, or hands-on assistance) or raising awareness and towards those activities as part of a more human-centered approach to generate change that lasts.

The conference will include presentations on human behaviour change theory from key speakers and submitted presentations and case studies selected from peer-reviewed abstracts. 

The aims of the conference are:

·         To highlight the importance of human behaviour change (HBC) in animal welfare work.

·         To educate on core elements of HBC theory through key presentations from leading experts.

·         To facilitate sharing of information and experiences of HBC for animal welfare. 

·         To encourage embedding of HBC in inter-sectoral collaboration, innovation and policy. 

·         To explore novel methods for the monitoring and evaluation of HBC approaches and provide evidence-based information illustrating its value.