Thursday, 28 June 2012

Promoting the use of alternatives to animals in teaching and research

We are continuing with our work to exchange information and promote the use of alternatives and the welfare of animals used in research and teaching through collaboration with other organisations both internal to the University and externally.
We held a very successful one day symposium on laboratory animal welfare at the University of Edinburgh’s Medical School in April, where a variety of excellent speakers described their work in the area of viable and effective animal alternatives to 150 registered participants from the UoE. We were also delighted to award scientists and technicians for their efforts in replacement as well as reduction and refinement.
At our recent two day conference held by the JMICAWE in collaboration with the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, we explored concerns as well as opportunities for animal welfare in research and teaching as a result of the upcoming transposition of the EU directive relating to animal use, into UK law. This meeting was attended by influential people from across three disciplines, Ethics, welfare science and law – and we recognised the value of working together to ensure that all aspects of animal welfare were properly considered.
A booklet containing the talks as well as a publication of selected papers will be produced for circulation.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Workshop on animal welfare for veterinary practitioners in Romania

As part of the continuing commitment to animal welfare education in Europe, the Romanian Veterinary Medical Association, in conjunction with the Federation of Vets of Europe and the European Commission organised a national meeting for veterinary practitioners in Romania last week. Heather Bacon the Veterinary Welfare Education and Outreach Manage of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, participated in in the workshop by delivering lectures and practical sessions to equip Romanian veterinary practitioners with the skills needed to recognise and assess animal welfare problems.

The meeting was opened by the President of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the President College of Romanian Veterinarians - highlighting that the aim of the conference was to remind delegates of the importance of animal welfare in Romania and the role that veterinarians can play to educate others.

Delegates were then encouraged to assess animal welfare issues and challenges relating to nine different areas, ranging from companion animals to poultry to wild animals held in captivity, through a variety of lectures, group-discussions and field-based practicals  - and each group were requested to provide a five minute presentation of their suggested solution, incorporating current Legislation and Animal Welfare Assessment tools.

Monday, 25 June 2012

International colleagues promote alternatives to animals in Veterinary education

Our recent trip to the Veterinary and Animal sciences University in Kerala, highlighted enthusiasm for developments in teaching methods and animal welfare within the Indian veterinary curriculum. Dr Anoop the head of surgery in the small animal hospital at the University recognises the importance of undergraduate vets developing their confidence, dexterity and skills before attempting clinical techniques on animal patients, and to this end has applied for government funding to support the development of a clinical skills suite within the University. Similarly the delegates on our problem-based learning and animal welfare course were very interested in some of the models we had brought with us to demonstrate alternative teaching and learning techniques without causing any animal distress.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Successful conference about animal welfare legislation and the new EU Directive relating to animal use in research was jointly held by JMICAWE and Northumbria University Law Faculty last week

Prof Nat Waran chaired an extremely informative conference held in Newcastle on the 14/15th June hosted by the Northumbria University Law faculty, co-organised by Kathryn Hunter and Debbie Rook and the JMICAWE and kindly sponsored by UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare).
The two day conference brought together ethicists, scientists, veterinarians, NGOs and lawyers to consider the new Directive and its transposition into UK law – with speakers reflecting upon concerns as well as opportunities for animal welfare and the use of alternatives to animals in research.
The opening speaker, Professor Kenneth Boyd, challenged the audience by posing questions about the moral justification for the use of animals in research, followed by the first speaker, Dr Duncan Wilson, a Wellcome Trust research fellow from the University of Manchester who described the history of the use of alternatives to animals in research (Tissue culture in science and society). Various excellent talks followed exploring issues such as the use of animals in teaching, the conundrums presented by application of the 3Rs framework, the importance of ethical review panels and the importance of transparency and accountability in science. Finally, Dr Judy McArthur Clark (CBE) Head of the Animals in Science Regulation Unit at the Home Office, discussed the way in which the new Directive promotes transparency, sharing of best practice in animal welfare and most importantly the objective of full replacement through the advancement of alternative approaches to the use of animals in research and how this goal was fundamental to the Directive and its transposition into UK law and practice.

Successful Animal Welfare workshop held at the Kerala Veterinary School in Thrissur India.

JMICAWE’s Professor Nat Waran and Heather Bacon have just returned from India where they facilitated the first of three workshops to be held in India as part of a British Council Internationalising Higher Education, KEP award.

The project entitled, ‘Embedding a Problem based learning approach to teaching animal welfare science and ethics in an Indian Veterinary School Curriculum’ was held in collaboration with the KVASU in Thrissur last week.

Traditionally veterinary education has tended to be content heavy, relying heavily upon lectures and tutorials, with the students' learning directed by their teachers. The purpose of this first workshop was to demonstrate the way in which a problem based learning approach can be incorporated into the lecturers’ teaching tool kit in relation to the delivery of animal welfare science and ethics.

The workshop was attended by 15 veterinary faculty staff members who engaged enthusiastically in various activities designed to illustrate the PBL approach within the veterinary curriculum.  The team will deliver the second workshop on farm animal health and welfare, in September.