Tuesday, 29 November 2016
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.
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
Established in 2006, Equate Scotland is Scotland’s expert in gender equality throughout these fields. It makes a tangible and sustainable change, enabling women studying and working in these keys sectors to develop, by supporting their recruitment, retention and progression. Equate’s vision is of a progressive Scotland where women can contribute equally to advancements in science, engineering and technology and have fair access to the jobs of the future.
To this end, Equate have collated a few examples of inspirational women of past and current Scotland and JMICAWE were delighted that our own Heather Bacon was included in this listing. Heather said “It’s really important to champion the role of women in Science, and I’m incredibly honoured to be included with such inspirational women.”
Monday, 14 November 2016
At the beginning of November, the JMICAWE was delighted to host a 3 day workshop for visiting Deans from the Veterinary faculties of Cavite State University, Philippines; the University of the Philippines Los Baños; and the University of Bogor, Indonesia. The Deans were accompanied by Dr Daniel Ventura Jr, Dr Goy Satayaprasert and Dr Nancy Clarke, of World Animal Protection, who funded the trip.
After an incredibly successful visit comprising discussion, presentations, visits to the University farms, clinical and pre-clinical teaching facilities, the Deans left stating they felt ‘inspired’ to make changes within their own Universities aiming to enhance their educational teaching of veterinary undergraduates, and promoting concepts of animal welfare within their veterinary teaching.
Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE said “It was a wonderful visit and very positive for all of us. It was helpful for us to better understand the challenges some of our international colleagues face, and we hope to further develop our relationships through ongoing collaboration. We’re especially looking forward to hearing about the changes the Deans will implement on their return.”
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Sheep and Maple Syrup
Professor Cathy Dwyer has just returned from a few days in Ontario, Canada, where she was the guest speaker at the Ontario Sheep Convention, held in Alliston, Ontario. Cathy spoke to nearly 200 sheep farmers and delegates about the science of ewe-lamb bonding, and how management could work with the natural behaviour of the ewe to improve lamb survival. She explained the biological processes that govern the onset of maternal care in sheep, and how the ewe is driven by hormonal changes around birth to develop a bond with her own lambs, and to reject others. Knowing the biology of the relationships can help farmers ensure that ewes and lambs are given the best chance to develop a strong mother-young relationship, which is good for sheep welfare and for farmer morale. In particular she emphasised giving the ewe time and space to show maternal behaviour without excessive human intervention.
Cathy was the guest of the Ontario Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, who organised the convention with the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency. Following the convention she visited a number of sheep farms, to see how Canadian farmers were dealing with the challenges of producing sheep in areas where temperatures can reach -40°C and coyote predation is a significant threat to sheep welfare. She met many of the guardian dogs that North American sheep farmers use to protect their flocks, and was impressed by the innovative and enthusiastic approach to sheep farming shown by many of the farmers.
Of course, no trip to Canada in the autumn would really be complete without sampling some of the (many) maple sugar products on offer, being amazed by the autumn colours in the trees and stunned by the incredible Hallowe’en decorations!