Tuesday, 29 November 2016

New Director in France for animal welfare meeting

ESLAV 20th Anniversary Meeting focuses on Animal Welfare

The joint meeting of the European Society for Laboratory Animal Veterinarians (ESLAV) and the European College for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ECLAM) took place in Lyon in November, with the 3 day meeting focusing on animal welfare.

JMICAWE's new Director Prof Cathy Dwyer was an invited speaker in the session on understanding animal needs, presenting a paper which explained the impact of early life experiences for animals on their later stress responses, behaviour and welfare.

It was a stimulating meeting, with genuine concern for laboratory animal welfare and a desire to improve matters through the development of a ‘culture of care’ running from top to bottom in institutions involved in research. The meeting involved a line-up of excellent speakers including Prof Don Broom, Prof David Fraser, Dr Birte Nielsen, Dr Sarah Heath and Prof Paul Flecknell to name but a few, and was wide-ranging dealing with conceptual issues, animal sensory abilities, lessons which can be learnt from other species and future directions. 

Dr Nielsen reminded us that many animal species have very different sensory abilities to our own: seeing in wavelengths, vocalising at frequencies and having olfactory capabilities all of which differ from human perception. Dr Heath discussed welfare issues around companion animal lives, and how owners understanding of the welfare needs of their pets may fall short of reality. Prof Fraser concluded the meeting with an excellent presentation that drew on developments in One Welfare, and reminded us that the most important part of animal welfare was the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of the people who cared for animals.

The meeting stood out as one that engaged with animal welfare of laboratory, farm, zoo and companion animals in attempts to learn from the welfare messages developed by these different sectors.  

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