Thursday, 15 March 2018

Hayley Walters MBE

The whole team sends its congratulations to Hayley Walters, our JMICAWE Vet Nurse, who was at Buckingham Palace earlier today to collect her MBE from HRH the Prince of Wales

Well-deserved recognition for the work Hayley does to improve animal welfare worldwide.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Tackling Dangerous Dog Legislation - Dr Amy Miele

Tackling Dangerous Dog Legislation

On Wednesday 28th February Dr Amy Miele of JMICAWE was invited to chair a Policy Exchange focussing on Dangerous Dog Legislation in the UK which was held in central London. The aim of this exchange was to foster interdisciplinary relationships, while also exploring alternatives to the controversial Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) of 1991 and its’ subsequent amendments. Alongside this, delegates shared best practice with regards to promoting responsible dog ownership and ensuring optimal canine and human welfare under the current legislative framework.

Dr Amy Miele is the Programme Director of the online learning MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour

The day included presentations from charities such as the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and Born Innocent, as well as from London Assembly Members and animal behaviour researchers working in the field. There was an emphasis on evidence based practice and Dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA, was the first to set the scene with some statistics demonstrating the futility of breed specific legislation and the need for standardised reporting of dog bite incidents in order to inform appropriate preventative action. Dr Naomi Harvey, University of Nottingham, echoed these sentiments and presented data highlighting the high degree of within breed variation in behaviour traits. She emphasised that any genetic impact on behaviour should be considered at the level of the individual rather than the breed.

Ms Shaila Bux, Born Innocent, talked about the work that she and her colleagues do to help the owners of dogs who have been seized under Section 1 of the DDA. Her case studies highlighted concerns over the lack of standardisation with regards to the assessment of seized dogs and the welfare concerns that they face during prolonged periods of kennelling while awaiting assessment.

Assembly Members Leonie Cooper and Steve O’Connell from Labour and London Conservatives respectively, demonstrated the cross-party agreement on this important subject and discussed ways of promoting policy change. The day also included a presentation from Hollie Sevenoaks of Dogs Trust, who spoke about various Dogs Trust initiatives promoting responsible dog ownership. So far, Dogs Trust has reached over 330, 000 school children via their primary school workshops and they are in the process of analysing data that will inform on the impact of this work.

Delegates included Clinical Animal Behaviourist Kendal Shepherd, an experienced expert witness and Walter Pennell, a Dog Liaison Officer from South Wales Police, both of whom shared their wisdom and stories of best practice within the limitations of the current legal framework.

While the day uncovered severe flaws in the current Dangerous Dog legislation in the UK, the concluding remarks were positive, with a focus on continuing to build upon the cross-sector relationships forged during the day and fostering change, while also supporting initiatives focussing on public education and responsible pet-ownership.

Teaching children how to behave around dogs and about responsible dog ownership was one of the key initiatives discussed during the Policy Exchange

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Celebrating the role of mothers in animal welfare

Celebrating the role of mothers in animal welfare

Sunday 11th March is Mother’s Day here in UK. It is also the time of year when our fields start to fill with ewes and lambs, and cows and calves. This is a special time of the year for JMICAWE Director, Prof Cathy Dwyer, whose research work has focused on the role of mothers in improving the survival and welfare of newborn livestock, especially lambs. Mothers provide food and protection for their new offspring, but they also are sources of warmth, comfort and reassurance, and provide their offspring with opportunities to learn about the wider world.

The social and cognitive development of the young animal is shaped by maternal contact, and mothers can buffer their offspring from potentially negative or stressful things that may occur around them. Mothers provide a safe environment from which offspring can explore, play and engage in positive social behaviours, such as grooming. The maternal bond, or attachment between mother and offspring, is a really important component of survival, but also shapes the life of her offspring and sets them on the path to good welfare. Ensuring that young animals have a good social interaction with their mothers, and that mothers are properly cared for to allow them to express maternal behaviour is a vital part of animal welfare.

To mothers everywhere – we thank you for your role in making us who we are!    

Thursday, 8 March 2018

#PressforProgress on International Women’s Day

#PressforProgress on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2018

Today is International Women’s Day when we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. For 2018 this is also about acting to achieve gender parity. Here at JMICAWE we want to mark the fantastic achievements that women have made for animal welfare.

Women have always played a central role in animal welfare, from the early pioneers of animal welfare science, the founders, directors and CEOs of animal welfare charities and NGOs, and the current researchers, teachers, advocates, veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal carers. Animal welfare science, and the veterinary profession, is increasingly becoming a female-oriented field. Our care and compassion for the animals that we share our world with is helping to improve their lives, and also the lives of those who depend upon animals in their daily lives.

Often in the poorer countries on our planet it is women who are responsible for the care and welfare of animals, although their contribution to family education, income and quality of life may go unrecognised. In 2018 we want to speak up for these women, celebrate the vital role of women in improving animal welfare, and remember to #PressforProgress in recognising the role women play and working towards gender parity in all areas. 

Finally, the core JMICAWE team are all women, and the wider JMICAWE family is also largely female. It is an inspiration to be able to work with such dedicated, professional and hard-working women, who are passionate about bringing about improvements in animal welfare. Thank you all for your fantastic achievements and your compassion, care and dedication to animal welfare.

Update on veterinary nurse project in Kerala

After the Philippines workshop, the JMICAWE team made their way to Southern India to the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University campus in Mannuthy for a meeting with the Dean of the vet school and fellow senior faculty members to discuss ongoing collaborative projects including the Veterinary Assistant/Nurse program which will hopefully be up and running later this year.

The team were then kindly given a tour of the new teaching hospital that is in its final stages of construction and were also able to take a look around the large animal unit of the University to see the ongoing developments with the chickens, pigs, cows and water buffalo.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Animal Welfare Science for Veterinarians Workshop in Philippines

Animal Welfare Science for Veterinarians Workshop in Philippines

Last month, JMICAWE staff Cathy Dwyer, Heather Bacon and Jess Davies led a two-day workshop in Manila, Philippines, on Animal Welfare Science for Veterinarians. The team were hosted by Dr Dan Ventura (Dr Dan), from College of Veterinary Medicine in SouthWestern University and Dr Alvin Alvarez (Dr Awa), from Cavite State University, and the workshop was sponsored by Ceva and Cavite State University.

The event was delivered in collaboration with the Philippines Veterinary Medical Association and preceded the annual meeting of the PVMA, where Heather was also a guest speaker. Thirty-five members of various veterinary schools across the Philippines attended and were an enthusiastic and engaged audience, discussing such topics as new developments in animal welfare science, dog population management, farm animal welfare and the teaching of welfare and clinical skills to veterinary students.

Attendees also got to try out their skills in behavioural observation, assessing the welfare of dogs and pigs, as well as experimenting with the JMICAWE teaching aids.

We were delighted by the enthusiasm and interest of the participants, and how much discussion and debate was generated at the workshop. It is great that there is so much interest in animal welfare education for vets in the Philippines’ said Cathy after the meeting.

Following the meeting Jess and Cathy were lucky enough to travel to the beautiful University of the Philippines Los Banos campus with Dr Eduardo Torres, and visited the veterinary hospital there. Plans are underway to hold a similar event next February, at the Los Banos campus.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Blog from Asia for Animals - Kathmandu December 2017

Judith Velarde of PAWS Philippines writes:

My trip to Nepal was awesome! I think this is one of the most exciting and at the same time productive as well as full of learning trip that I've ever had so far.

Before this conference, I don't know anything about Nepal before aside from the fact that they are the only country who doesn't have a rectangular flag. When our shelter director informed us about AFA Kathmandu, I am one of the first who expressed intention to join. But as the days goes by, I realized that it will be a long shot just because it was expensive.  Majority of us started to lose hope that maybe it will just be an unfulfilled dream. So we tried to look for sponsors. AFA committee were so accommodating and advised us to wait. As soon as the application for sponsorship came, we submitted our forms and wish that I'll one of those chosen ones. We waited, patiently. 

Good news came that all of us will received sponsorship for the conference and accommodation so all we need is an airfare and some pocket money. We started saving for trip.  Then another good news came in! I was chosen by JMICAWE to receive a travel scholarship and for that I really thanked them. It's an honor to be chosen amongst all the participants.

AFA Conference 2017 runs for 4 days from December 2 until 5.  This is where different organizations from across different countries provide talks and workshop evolving on changing human behavior which has and will have a great impact on the animal welfare world. Just being in that conference is a very up lifting. Seeing all those people with the same passion as you have is just really comforting.

Another highlight was the fieldtrip. We went to Chitwan National Park where we had an experience to walk with the elephants into the jungle and saw rhinos up close. It was very very surreal. No picture or video will bring justice as to how majestic and beautiful they are in the wild. It is just mesmerizing!

This conference is actually an eye opener that you are not alone in whatever battle you have. Somewhere out there, there is always someone fighting the same battle as you do. We may be far from really reaching our ultimate dream but take time to pause and celebrate our wins. May it be as simple as a senior dog getting adopted from a local shelter or as impactful as not a single rhinos was killed by the poachers in Nepal for the past 3 years. Animals can't talk but if they could, they would be thanking each and everyone of us in doing the things big or small that will protect them and would make their lives worthwhile.

Again, thanks for to JMICAWE for making this trip possible and I'm looking forward in joining the next AFA conference.

Judith and the other staff from the PAWS Shelter

Monday, 29 January 2018

Changing Human Behaviour for Sharks

Changing Human Behaviour for Sharks

Naomi Clark-Shen was sponsored by JMICAWE to attend the AFA Conference on Human Behaviour Change in Nepal back in December.  Naomi works on shark conservation in Indonesia and Singapore.

On the second day of the conference Naomi spoke about how her work looks at changing two extreme ends of behaviour; that of wealthy consumers who behave (eat shark fin) out of convenience, and that of fishermen who behave (hunt sharks) to survive.

Her work tries to achieve this by bringing shark consumers and shark hunters together – on an eco-tourism trip where the shark fishermen take guests snorkelling. Naomi shared how ultimately the shark fishing industry is more complex than many think, and a solution is far from being achieved. 

“This conference was interesting because the focus was on animal welfare – whereas my work is conservation. These fields are actually very different. I am passionate about animal welfare though, and listening to the other talks re-sparked my interest in getting back into welfare work as well.”

“There was another person working on shark fishing, in Pakistan, and it was great to learn from him. The conference was very uplifting. I was pleasantly surprised at how far the animal movement has come in Asia.” 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

JMICAWE Vet Nurse Hayley Walters receives MBE in New Year's Honours List

Hayley Walters receives MBE in New Year’s honours

Hayley Walters, The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education's Welfare & Anaesthesia Nurse, was made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.
Hayley Walters MBE
Welfare & Anaesthesia Nurse within The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE), Hayley splits her time between working in the School's Hospital for Small Animals as a key member of the anaesthesia team and supporting JMICAWE work in Outreach Education projects.
As well as Hayley's clinical work she has responsibilities for training veterinary surgeon and veterinary nurse students in all aspects of animal welfare, handling and pain management. She has also worked all over the world to share her veterinary nursing and animal welfare education skills as part of her work with JMICAWE.
Hayley has previously won the RCVS Golden Jubilee Award, in honour of her exceptional contribution to her profession. 
In response to receiving the award, Hayley Said: 
“I feel really happy that the veterinary nursing profession is being recognised by the Queen! I started my career as a part time receptionist and kennel maid when I was 18 and qualified as a veterinary nurse three years later. I’m 40 this year and I still love my job. I care so much about the animals' experience when they’re away from home and when everything that is familiar to them has gone."
"I feel very privileged to receive an MBE but it has only happened because I am fortunate enough to work with really dedicated and inspiring people. Our international animal welfare education team within the University of Edinburgh is small, but between us all we are reaching students not only in the UK but overseas too where often animal welfare is not taught. Student vets and veterinary nurses are the future ambassadors for animals and I hope to be able to continue my work for many more years."
Professor David Argyle, Dean and Head of the Vet School, said:
“We are delighted that Hayley has been awarded an MBE for services to veterinary education and animal welfare. This is a very well deserved recognition for Hayley’s outstanding contribution in educating student veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses here at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and for her work on animal health and welfare issues both in the UK and around the world.”

Monday, 18 December 2017

Human behaviour change for animal welfare

Human behaviour change for animal welfare

As the year draws to a close, JMICAWE vet Heather Bacon made one final overseas trip, this time to Nepal to speak at the Asia for Animals Conference, themed on Human behaviour change for animal welfare.

Presenting on the value of academic-NGO relationships in developing strategies to change human behaviour and influence animal welfare, Heather used examples from our ongoing research and outreach work to illustrate the impact that JMICAWE is having on animal welfare around the world. You can read more about the Human behaviour change for animal welfare here:

The conference is the flagship programme of the Asia for Animals Coalition — 16 of the world’s leading animal protection organisations which have a shared focus on improving the welfare of animals in Asia. Speakers and workshops discussed a wide range of topics including veterinary training in China presented by Dr Sun, from the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association, an organisation with whom the JMICAWE have partnered for several years.

“The conference is an inspiring collaboration between NGOs to highlight and champion the excellent work being done to improve animal welfare across Asia” Said Heather, “This year there was increasing academic representation from the UK as well as other countries, demonstrating the importance that academic-NGO collaboration has in supporting effective work in changing human behaviour and improving animal welfare.”

JMICAWE sponsored Naomi Clark-Shen (Singapore) & Judith Velarde (Philippines) [pictured here with Heather] to attend the AfA Conference

Monday, 11 December 2017

Dr Fiona Lang joins JMICAWE team

Dr Fiona Lang joins JMICAWE team

We are delighted to welcome Dr Fiona Lang to the JMICAWE team! Fiona will be joining us for a year to lead on a project to identify the main priorities for animal welfare in the UK, funded by the Animal Welfare Foundation of the BVA. Fiona, a former PhD student at SRUC, brings with her a wealth of expertise in dairy cow and pig welfare, as well as having recently completed a set of Canadian guidelines for the welfare of buffalo. Fiona is also interested in the welfare of street dogs, and veterinary education in Central America.

This new project will involve liaising with experts in animal welfare and management across the UK to reach a consensus view on which areas of animal welfare are the most pressing concerns for future research and policy efforts.

Welcome to the team, Fiona!  

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Cows, welfare and farming in India

Cows, welfare and farming in India

Cathy Dwyer recently joined fellow Vet School colleagues, Gurpreet Grewal-Kang, GurĂ¥ Berkvist and Harish Lochun, on a trip to Delhi and the Punjab in India.

The trip focused on developing new partnerships in animal welfare and veterinary medicine as well as visiting current collaborators and promoting the new Global Academy in Agriculture and Food Security.  The team visited the Nabha foundation in the Punjab, to see the work the foundation are doing in promoting organic production methods, particularly focusing on a reduction in pesticide use even in non-organic production, and increasing food safety.

We also visited projects encouraging traditional craft methods and providing opportunities for women’s empowerment in Indian villages, as well as visiting a gowshala (cow sanctuary).

In Delhi we returned to visit colleagues at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, with whom we are currently writing a new distance learning course on animal welfare, and at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in Karnal, as well as visiting the University of Delhi.

Cathy says ‘It was a really inspiring trip. It was fascinating to learn more about the great projects that are helping to support women in rural communities and to look at ways that the University can help support these. It was also lovely to catch up with researchers and their students at NDRI, who are developing some really interesting research in buffalo and cattle behaviour and welfare. We are hoping to be able to work with this group more in the future to help support their work.’

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Graduation for IAWEL MSc students

Dr Fritha Langford, Programme Director, writes:-

We were delighted that so many of our online International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law graduands made it to Edinburgh for their MSc Graduation ceremony in our newly refurbished, magnificent graduation hall. We are very proud of their hard work and dedication and are looking forward to hearing the next steps in their career involved in improving animal lives. As usual, we had a huge variety of projects completed in the masters year including:

  • “An assessment of an educational intervention on the knowledge and attitudes of Indian national veterinarians to animal welfare”
  • “Exploring inter-observer reliability and feasibility in animal welfare measures at a large equine rescue facility”
  • “The ethics of bringing wild African elephants into zoos”
  • “The reporting of post-operative pain management in rodents undergoing experimental surgery”

Many of our IAWEL graduates joined us for a celebratory lunch with their families and we were able to chat about their projects, the future and delight in the fact we were all face to face with one another!  We wish them all the best for the future.