Tuesday, 24 February 2015

International Partnership agreement for advancement of animal production, health and welfare signed between University of Edinburgh and ICAR
An exciting collaboration has been agreed between the University of Edinburgh and the Government of India’s Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which was signed at a two day workshop on production animal health and welfare held in Delhi last week.
With the world population set to rise to 9 billion by 2050, and an expected significant increase in meat consumption, meeting the future demand for safe, sustainable and affordable livestock products is a high priority. As this need for greater animal production rises, it is important to recognise the critical relationship between poor standards of animal health and welfare, reduced animal productivity and human health. With a population of 1.3 billion people and home to 600 million livestock animals and rising, India is expected to be one of the countries with a substantial increase in the amount of meat they eat; as such, this is a highly important topic for the future of Indian agriculture.
The objective of last week’s two-day international workshop, which was co-organised by ICAR and the University of Edinburgh, through the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, was to discuss and develop collaborative research and education opportunities that will lead to improved animal production, health and welfare. Over sixty ICAR scientists met with veterinary institutes and associated Universities at this stimulating event, alongside ten academics from Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Roslin Institute and Scotland’s Rural College including chief guest Professor James Smith (Edinburgh University’s International Vice Principal) and JMICAWE’s Director, Professor Nat Waran.
The knowledge exchange activity provided fruitful discussion, not only on future research collaborations but also on the use of new technologies in helping to improve animal resistance to disease, the enhancement of sustainable animal productivity, methods to improve production animal welfare and also on capacity building through education. It was agreed that through international partnership, Indian veterinary and animal science training can be strengthened to provide the well-qualified skilled and animal welfare educated researchers and veterinarians needed to serve the ever-evolving needs of the animals and people of India.

Sustainability is key to success, and at the workshop held at the ICAR headquarters on the 16th and 17th February, a Memorandum of Understanding was co-signed by the Vice-Principal of the University of Edinburgh and the Director General of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, cementing what will be a long and fruitful relationship to benefit Indian production animal health and welfare research and veterinary education over the coming years.
We are very much looking forward to working closely with our Indian colleagues to collaborate in key strategic research and education areas, to advance livestock production and health, whilst integrating raised awareness of the methods and necessity for improving standards of animal welfare.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Lights, Camera, Action! – Hayley Walters in the Spotlight

The JMICAWE was visited this week by a team from CEVA to film a short interview with Hayley Walters as she has been nominated for CEVA Welfare Nurse of the Year Award, further to her Golden Jubilee award last year for outstanding contribution to Veterinary Nursing.

Hayley Walters splits her time between JMICAWE, where her work has taken her around the world as she tries to improve the welfare of animals used by trainee vets, and the Small Animal Hospital at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies where she works as an anaesthesia nurse.

It may surprise some of you to learn that around the world, particularly in Asia, trainee vets are practising a multitude of procedures on live animals that don’t require the treatment. Some of these procedures include basic clinical skills such as blood taking, suturing and more invasive surgical procedures such as orthopaedic surgery which can cause serious lasting damage to an animal when performed repeatedly and often incorrectly. Hayley and Heather have presented to some of these veterinary schools using our manikins to show how these procedures can be taught and practised without using live animals, along with more general veterinary training in pain management and hospitalised patient care.


Hayley has also assisted Animals Asia on their Moon Bears project (which you may remember from a previous blog) and in Thailand with dogs being rescued from the dog meat trade amongst her international animal welfare work.

Domestically, Hayley works as a Veterinary Nurse specialising in anaesthesia, taking her own cases and also teaching students about anaesthesia and analgesia.

With all of this incredible work behind her, we certainly think she’s gone the extra mile to help improve the lives of animals around the world and it’s not difficult to see why Hayley has been nominated to receive the Welfare Nurse of the Year Award. The winner will be announced at the CEVA Welfare Awards on Wednesday 8th April and we wish her all the best!

You can see Hayley in action for yourself by signing up to our FREE Animal Behaviour and Welfare MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) – at present we have over 19,500 people signed up from 160 countries around the world. A short article on the MOOC numbers, taken from the first time the course was run last summer, is available here;

And if you’d like to join the MOOC yourself and contribute towards an improved understanding of Animal Behaviour and Welfare around the world, you can sign up for free by following this link;

Please note that if you wish to use this course for your CPD that it is best to sign up to Signature Track so that your coursework can be tied to your learning identity.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

4 DAYS TO GO - Sign up today! FREE Animal Welfare and Behaviour MOOC Course


Don't forget our popular MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) course will be starting on the 9th February. It's not too late to sign up.


Are you a native Mandarin Chinese or Spanish speaker? This time we will have an option to watch the videos translated into your native language and we hope this will be useful.

Further enrichment: We will also be adding an optional unassessed week to the course to cover supplementary topics that might be of interest.

This is a free course.  Sign up today:



Animal welfare is often an emotive subject provoking heated debates and sometimes radical action. However it is also a challenging science based subject that involves consideration of animal emotions and how we can best understand the world from the perspective of a different species.

Through a free online course, animal behaviour and welfare experts from the Jeanne Marchig International Animal Welfare Centre at the University of Edinburgh, will provide knowledge and understanding about the application of animal behaviour and the science of animal welfare. This will ensure that viewers are better equipped to argue for or against a specific issue relating to animal care, management or use, using a rigorous, evidence based approach.

Jill MacKay, Hayley Walters, Natalie Waran, Heather Bacon, and Fritha Langford (L to R) and dogs Stewart, Muthie and Matthilda (L to R)

During the course of the 6 week period, viewers will be provided with a real world view of animal welfare and the work of the animal welfare researcher, as well as interactive sessions and discussion on topics ranging from; why animal welfare matters from a global perspective, how science can help to advance animal welfare, why animal feelings are central to animal welfare, to the truth about dogs and cats, the ethics and welfare of keeping animals in zoos and how we can deal with farm animal welfare problems.

Animal welfare often means different things to different people, and opinions are varied and debates often heated. But if we are to achieve higher standards of animal welfare worldwide, we need to be able to rely on more than our emotional response. We need to provide scientifically validated evidence that will help persuade those with competing agendas and from different parts of the world where animals and their needs are less well recognised, that animal welfare matters, not just to animals but also for human wellbeing. Providing credible and accessible animal welfare education such as this free online course, will help to provide knowledge and understanding that can be used to more convincingly argue for animals, the important role they play in many aspects of our lives and the importance of ensuring that their welfare needs are met’

Professor Nat Waran, Director Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education


The Coursera Partnership

These Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are being delivered via the Coursera partnership - a network of leading international universities which offer short undergraduate-level online courses free of charge.

If you are interested in the School's MOOCs, more information can be found on the Coursera website where you can also sign up for the courses.


Monday, 2 February 2015

JMICAWE Team Member Hayley Walters on shortlist for Ceva Welfare Award

Ceva has announced the shortlist for its annual animal welfare awards, which this year attracted more nominations than ever.

In JMICAWE, we are delighted that  our very own  team member Hayley Walters has been shortlisted for this prestigious award out of hundreds of entries.

The awards, now in their fourth year, recognise those who have gone the extra mile to help better the lives of animals around the world, be they veterinary professionals, volunteers or charity workers.

All the award winners will be announced at a ceremony  in Birmingham on April 8.
Read more about it here: