Monday, 29 February 2016

Applied Animal Welfare & Animal Behaviour Elective 2016

Earlier this morning, 11 final year students commenced a 3-week elective in animal welfare run by JMICAWE.  We trust they enjoy the course, which aims to further knowledge and understanding of domestic and captive welfare, and provide some practical experience relating to the management of problem/abnormal animal behaviour in domestic and captive settings, including clinical animal behaviour counselling.  We are looking forward to seeing their final project presentations at the end of the 3 weeks and wish them all well.

Animal Welfare advances in Indonesia

Animal Welfare in Indonesia

International Animal Rescue, a charity organisation which has been long-term partner of the University of Edinburgh, is making headway into saving orangutans from deforestation and the illegal pet trade. Young orangutans are often kept as pets in Indonesia, despite laws which make this practice illegal, and as they grow older, can be difficult to manage. A recent rescue saw an adult orangutan voluntarily handed over to the IAR rescue team by her owner when he became aware of the legislation prohibiting her confinement as a pet.

IAR have partnered with the University of Edinburgh by providing student projects for postgraduates studying the MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare. Previous research has investigated the impacts of illegal trade on a number of species including macaques and slow lorises.

Such collaborations provide University of Edinburgh students with unique insights into ‘real-world’ welfare problems as well as supporting the development of evidence-based practices in NGOs

Friday, 26 February 2016

It’s ‘A Dog’s Life’ - manifesto to ban electric pulse training collars in Scotland in the face of welfare concerns

May 2016 will bring the next Scottish parliamentary election, and ahead of this event, a canine-focussed manifesto has been launched.

Developed by the Kennel Club and Scottish Kennel Club, the manifesto calls for greater recognition of the KC Assured breeder scheme and highlights the need for a ban on electronic training devices. This aligns with the BVA and BVSA position calling for a complete ban on the sale and use of electric pulse training collars after the Scottish government consultation in 2016.

Electric shock collars have raised a number of welfare concerns and BVA is also calling for regulation of all aversive training devices, pending further research, in order to mitigate any potential welfare impacts.

Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE was involved in the consultation, as a member of the BVA’s Ethics and Welfare Group.

She said “There are a variety of aversive training aids in common use, from ‘choke’ chains through to electric pulse training collars. The evidence for the negative welfare impacts of electric pulse collars, and their inappropriate use, has led to the call for this ban. There is a significant body of literature in dogs, which shows that reward based training is more successful than punishment or aversive training.”

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Inês Ajuda from Compassion in World Farming discusses "A Vet's Role in an Animal Welfare NGO"

Last week, we were delighted to welcome Inês Ajuda to speak to our final year vet students.

She graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Technical University of Lisbon with a BSc/MSc in Veterinary Medicine in 2011. During her undergraduate study, she participated on a study of housing on a dairy farm, comparing the comfort of two different types of bedding (free stall and cubicles).

In 2011, Inês started a PhD with the Animal Welfare Indicators EU-funded project with the welfare of dairy goats being her main animal of investigation.  She was also involved in the development of a smartphone app on goat welfare assessment (Search for Welgoat on Google Play or visit this link

After finishing her PhD, Inês joined Compassion in World Farming in 2015 as a Research Manager. She uses her experience in the field as well as knowledge of farm animal pain to support the team in its mission of placing farm animal welfare at the heart of the food industry, in addition to continuing to structure the scientific evidence base for Compassion’s in Food Business programme. 

Thank you to Inês for visiting us and to JMICAWE/SRUC colleague Fritha Langford for making the introduction.  The students really enjoyed hearing her take on a vet's role in this important field of animal welfare work.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

International collaboration improves zoo standards

International collaboration improves zoo standards: Hanoi zoo closes its circus

The Hanoi zoo circus has long operated as a separate commercial enterprise, within the zoo grounds, but under independent management, meaning that its regulation through zoo authorities is a challenge. However after a two-year collaboration between the zoo and charities Wild Welfare and Animals Asia, the circus has finally closed.

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Officer Nguyen Tam Thanh said:
“There has been no major announcement just a quiet closure and we are hugely grateful for this huge step. We rightly continue to expose cruelty so we are duty bound to recognise progress and this is certainly that. While we have been going about our work to improve the conditions for animals at Hanoi Zoo we have been consistently advocating to close the circus."

Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE has visited the zoo a number of times, most recently in October 2015 to deliver veterinary CPD to the veterinary team, and collaborate in the teaching of a bear husbandry workshop held there. Heather said:

“This is a hugely positive move for the animals at the zoo. It is incredibly easy to criticise practices like animal performances but much more difficult to engage with stakeholders and work towards raising standards of welfare and eliminating bad practices. This is a great example of international cooperation achieving positive results.”

Animals Asia has also developed a National Working Group of zoo directors and government officials and have since produced the very first draft guidelines for the welfare of wild animals in captivity in Vietnam. Once ratified by the working group, these guidelines will be presented to the national government for incorporation into a national standard.

Heather delivering clinical CPD at the Hanoi zoo, with the Animals Asia team

Monday, 22 February 2016

Hayley appears on STV's Live at Five to promote the Vet Nurse to India Project

We were thrilled to see Hayley - and two of the Napier University vet nurse students who went to India with her last November, Lydia and Kendra - appear last week on Live at Five.  They were able to explain the aims and purposes of the whole project, and demonstrate in words and pictures just how much of a difference they are making to animal welfare in India.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

JMICAWE & Born Free Foundation in joint venture

Developing accessible animal welfare education for animal welfare inspectors and tour operators in the Europe

This week the JMICAWE team welcomed Born Free Foundation Programme Manager, Daniel Turner, whose work includes promoting methods for raising international standards in animal protection in Europe and the global context, through compassionate tourism. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the development of an educational tool for EU State animal welfare Inspectors and the Tourism industry, to enable the delivery of accessible credible information about animal welfare concepts and international standards as well as how to identify and address poor animal welfare, and then use this information during an animal welfare assessment or audit. The JMICAWE team have already developed a number of professional development programmes for different audiences, such as the ‘on-demand’ MOOC (see ),   and so we plan to build on our experience, to ensure that this new professional development programme is just as innovative and interactive and provides the ‘real world’ learning experience needed to enable effective application of animal protection policies in Europe. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Nat in China - pictures from Jilin

Nat discussing collaboration with another Chinese university, this time in Jilin.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Welcome to Amy Miele, new Programme Lecturer & Co-Ordinator, Clinical Animal Behaviour!

Amy graduated from the R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh in 2006 and spent 5 years working in mixed and small animal general practice across Scotland.  She has always had a special interest in animal behaviour and completed a European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies Certificate in Animal Behaviour in 2010.  Since then, she has provided a companion animal behaviour referral service to local veterinary practices in Edinburgh.

She completed a PhD in collaboration with The Donkey Sanctuary in 2015 that focussed on the investigation of the donkey as a spontaneous model of respiratory disease, and has a broad range of research interests, including the role of clinical disease in problem behaviours.

She enjoys walking with her Springer Spaniel Louie and Burmese cross Stanley, as well as her husband and daughter!