Thursday, 22 June 2017

JMICAWE Director attends inaugural meeting of EU Animal Welfare Platford in Brussels

Inaugural meeting of the EU Animal Welfare Platform

The EU has developed a new body, the Animal Welfare Platform, as a forum to improve discussion and dialogue on animal welfare between the competent authorities (veterinarians with responsibility to deliver animal welfare improvement in each country), businesses that rely on animals, NGOs and animal groups and scientists.

The inaugural meeting of the platform was held in Brussels on 6th June, and JMICAWE Director, Prof Cathy Dwyer, was one of the small group of scientists from across Europe invited to take part as an independent expert. A particular focus for the platform discussions were around the enforcement of regulations for pig and poultry welfare, as well as discussions about other non-legislative methods to bring about improvements in animal welfare. In addition, how animal welfare standards in the EU can be rolled out to other countries was also an important discussion topic – which may have implications for the UK post-Brexit! However, in addition to pigs and poultry, other issues such as the welfare of small ruminants (sheep and goats), rabbits, horses and puppies were also raised.

Cathy says:

‘It is really good news that the EU has set up this platform and I hope that we can begin to see real change and progress as a result of this initiative. It was exciting to be present at the start of this venture and I look forward to active engagement on all areas of animal welfare policy. The international expertise of JMICAWE in engaging with other countries in animal welfare training and policy will be very important in the activities of the platform.’  

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

JMICAWE vet attends BVA Animal Welfare discussion day

British Veterinary Association's Animal Welfare discussion day highlights
 the vet’s responsibilities for safeguarding animal welfare

Last Monday the BVA’s Animal welfare foundation held their annual discussion day. Starting with a session on challenges for modern pets, speakers looked at the impact of brachycephaly and behaviour problems on the welfare of our companion animals, and the role of the vet in speaking out for animal welfare.

In the afternoon a panel of equine vets outlined the challenges of equine welfare in performance horses. There was a strong focus on welfare being assessed in terms of a horse’s fitness to work, and this contrasted clearly with the previous companion animal welfare session where behavioural and social needs had been considered alongside physical fitness.

The day ended with a session outlining AWF-funded research in production animals which was leading to improvements in welfare for sheep and dairy cattle, with a focus on changing traditional farming approaches to healthcare, in order to improve welfare.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month

Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month

May was veterinary nurse awareness month and a good time to re-emphasise how important a well-trained, compassionate veterinary nurse is in improving patient welfare in the clinic.

Veterinary nurses (VNs) are trained for a minimum of two years in the classroom and whilst in practice. They have many responsibilities and skills including care of all inpatients, anaesthetic monitoring, medication administration, blood sampling, X-raying, client education, equipment maintenance, laboratory tests, stock ordering and generally making the vet’s life a whole lot easier! They are a valued member of the veterinary team and contribute enormously to an animal’s positive experience whilst in the clinic.

Whilst veterinary nursing is a recognised profession in many countries around the world, there are many places where the role does not exist and the vet or a helper is expected to perform all of these tasks too. After the success of our two ‘Send a VN’ projects, in which we integrated British VNs into two vet schools in Sri Lanka and India for a week showcasing the  value and skills of a VN,  plans are now well underway in creating Sri Lanka and India’s first ever veterinary nurse training programme.

A VN training programme, run in country by existing local veterinary lecturers, that produced skilled and knowledgeable VNs would result in freeing veterinary doctors to concentrate on more in-depth clinical work, research and teaching and an improvement in patient welfare. Whilst VNs are instrumental in the smooth running of a clinic and are great value for money, it is important to understand that a VN cannot diagnose a patient, prescribe medicines or perform surgery. They act in a supportive role but only after direction from the veterinary doctor. That said, most vets who are used to working with VNs would be lost without a well-trained, skilled, caring nurse by their side and we hope to see this same kind of recognition from the training programmes!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

JMICAWE Vet Heather Bacon speaks at AZEVN Congress on the importance of Vet Nurses

Delegates at The Association of Zoo and Exotic Veterinary Nurses (AZEVN) Congress 2017 heard how Vet Nurses have a key role to play in assessing and improving animal welfare.

Last week, more than 60 delegates from a range of nursing backgrounds gathered at Bristol Zoo to listen to The University of Edinburgh’s Heather Bacon as she used her keynote speech to explain how integral the role was in all veterinary facilities.

She also explored the difference between welfare and ethics and how as a human being one tends to decide what an animal is thinking, rather than being alert to their sentience.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Two JMICAWE courses win accolade from RSPCA & BSAS

Two leading courses in animal welfare education have been commended for their innovative approach.
The programmes have been praised for the role they have played in transforming the care of pets, livestock and wild animals worldwide for more than a quarter of a century.
They have also been lauded for improving the welfare of animals used in research.

Innovation award

The on-campus and online programmes have received the Innovative Developments in Animal Welfare Award from the British Society of Animal Science and the RSPCA.
We are committed to training the animal welfare leaders of the future and are thrilled that these programmes, run jointly with SRUC, have been recognised for their success.
Professor David ArgyleHead of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Heather Bacon presents at WAZA Global Zoo Animal Welfare Congress

Building on a recent MoA with the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria, Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE is currently in Detroit, USA to participate in the Global Zoo Animal Welfare Congress. The meeting – an invitation-only gathering of stakeholders from academic, NGO and zoological backgrounds – is focussing on developing a global commitment to animal welfare within the international zoo community.

Heather will present today as part of an expert panel on “Educating Zoo and Aquarium Professionals on Zoo Animal Welfare”, outlining the work she has done as part of her PhD research as well as practical educational workshops in partnership with zoo associations and NGOs around the world.

“It’s very exciting that the global zoo community is engaging with the subject of Zoo animal welfare” said Heather “International zoo standards vary greatly – in many countries zoos may act as consumers of wildlife rather than as conservation organisations, and animal welfare standards are incredibly variable. This meeting is an exciting opportunity to engage with professionals from around the world to further develop standards in zoo animal welfare.”

Prof Marc Bekoff giving his Keynote address

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Ceva Animal Welfare Awards 2017

We are waiting with bated breath this morning to see if any of our partners and collaborators were successful in last night's Ceva award ceremony at BSAVA Congress in Birmingham.

Heather and Hayley are both in attendance, but all the very best to Lesley Winton, Andrew Gardiner and Dogstar who were all finalists in the categories as detailed below:-

Monday, 3 April 2017

Seeing the Heat - Edinburgh Zoo - 5-7 April

Our colleagues at SRUC will be hosting an interactive workshop at the Edinburgh Zoo during Edinburgh’s International Science Festival on thermal imaging and how it can be used to improve animal health and welfare.  It is suitable for all ages from 5+.

It is a drop-in event from 11:00 to 15:00 and you will find them at the Budongo Trail. They would be very happy to see you there and to show you what this technology can do!

For more info:

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Truth about Cats and Dogs - Free Online Course

The University of Edinburgh has launched a new Massive Open-access Online Course: The Truth about Cats and Dogs.

In this course we provide 'an insight into cat and dog behaviour - through their eyes'. The course is divided into five topics: the appliance of science; behaviour and body language; senses and perception; challenges for the human-animal relationship, including pet problem behaviour; and how to improve the quality of life for cats and dogs in our care. By exploring how our pet cats and dogs perceive the world, we can gain a greater insight into their unique needs, and understand how to better provide for these needs, thus enhancing the important relationships that we have with our pet dogs and cats.

Sign-up now for the free online course (pay £39 ONLY if you want the certificate). Course starts 17 April. Register now

We look forward to you joining the course!

Monday, 20 March 2017

JMICAWE's vet nurse in Sri Lanka and India

JMICAWE's veterinary nurse Hayley Walters has just returned from a very successful meeting with leading faculty members from the Kerala Veterinary Animal Science University (KVASU).

Hayley and JMICAWE's vet Heather Bacon had previously been in Sri Lanka delivering CPD in inhalational anaesthesia to Charity partner Dogstar; and meeting with the University of Peradeniya in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s only vet school, to further enhance veterinary education in partnership with The University of Edinburgh.  Hayley then took the opportunity to meet with KVASU in India on her way home.

The aim of the meeting was to further discuss the introduction of a 12-month veterinary nursing programme at KVASU. Well-trained veterinary nurses provide the vital care a patient needs when it is sick and fearful in the clinic and can dramatically improve a patient’s welfare whilst reducing the workload of the veterinary surgeon, freeing him or her up to concentrate on more complex aspects of veterinary medicine.

KVASU currently has a 6-month programme that is practically taught and includes both large and small animal teaching with a focus on pharmacy, laboratory and reproduction.

A more small animal based programme, that included classroom teaching 2 hours a day as well as practical, on-the-job training, was agreed to be needed to help with vets treating India’s booming pet population.

A 12-stage plan is in place and on schedule with the next step being to identify what Indian vets think skills and knowledge a well-trained vet nurse should have to be of optimum benefit.

Teaching videos and handouts, specific to India, are also being developed by the JMICAWE team to help with the teaching of this new course.

Hayley said, “The 6 month course already trains some extremely dedicated and thoughtful students who either go on to be veterinary assistants or train further as livestock inspectors. With a focus on small animal training, we can ensure that dog and cat inpatients are receiving the best care possible whilst in the clinics from knowledgeable veterinary nurses who support the vet”.

Friday, 10 March 2017

JMICAWE vet team improving dog and cat welfare in Sri Lanka

JMICAWE vet team improving dog and cat welfare in Sri Lanka

Heather and Hayley from the JMICAWE have returned to Sri Lanka to further enhance veterinary education in partnership with the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka’s only vet school. The partnership aims to develop collaborative teaching and research initiatives to enhance veterinary skills in canine and feline medicine and surgery and veterinary nursing, supported by funding from the Dog’s Trust.

Heather and Hayley will also deliver CPD in inhalational anaesthesia to Charity partner Dogstar, a Sri Lankan NGO which runs a mobile spay neuter outreach program and has sterilised over 15000 animals, actively reducing the numbers of unwanted puppies and kittens in the Negombo region. 

This ongoing collaboration between academic and NGO partners aims to optimise veterinary skills in canine and feline medicine and surgery in Sri Lanka, as well as enhancing practical welfare of in-patients in the University hospitals, and the Dogstar mobile clinic.

This visit builds on Heather and Hayley’s previous visit in November 2016, which resulted in a number of positive activities at the University of Peradeniya, including a 3 day workshop on canine behaviour, medicine, and surgery, sponsored by Dog’s Trust, the development of a new feline ward, and the training of veterinary students, and veterinary assistants from the Sri Lankan police, air force, army and zoo in canine behaviour, handling, and nursing skills.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Humans are key to improving animal welfare, says Professor Temple Grandin on her recent Edinburgh visit

Humans are key to improving animal welfare

SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) and JMICAWE were delighted and honoured to host a visit by Professor Temple Grandin of Colorado State University to Edinburgh in February.

Professor Grandin is a renowned writer on animal welfare, stockmanship and livestock handling, as well as on her experiences of living with autism, and has been a major contributor to improving animal welfare, especially in the USA, for 40 years. She has recently been inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in USA.

During her visit Temple gave a riveting lecture to a packed auditorium of staff and students from SRUC and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in the Roslin Institute. She shared her unique insights into how animals perceive the world, and how this knowledge can be used to improve ease of handling and livestock welfare. She reiterated her views, based on her long experiences in the field, that ‘things’ (handling systems, engineering products, genetics) would not improve animal welfare without improving stockmanship and how people respond to the animals in their care.

Temple has also been very involved in the improvements in animal welfare assessment in the USA, and was clear that these systems worked when the measures were simple, clearly related to the most important animal welfare issues (her ‘critical control points’), and easy to apply in practice.

The feedback on her talk has been extremely positive and students were inspired by her passion and dedication to animal welfare. They were also delighted to be able to interact with her on visits to the vet school and in discussing and presenting their own research. Temple was extremely generous with her time, signing books and posing for photos, and engaging with the research of our PhD students and early career researchers. At the end of her visit we were all left in awe of this great woman, but also inspired and energised to continue to work for improving animal welfare.

A copy of Temple’s seminar will be available soon if you follow this link

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day - 8th March 2017

International Women’s Day, 8th March 2017

The theme of this year’s International Women’s day is ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’. 

At JMICAWE we would like to believe that this will also mean a planet where all lives are respected and a culture of care for one another exists. With this is mind we would like to celebrate the great women who have worked to improve animal welfare globally:

The explorers, advocates and pioneers for animal welfare change and appreciation of the complexity of animal lives: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Anna Sewell, Mary Midgley, Joy Adamson, Ruth Harrison, Rachel Carson…

The founders of charities, boards and NGOs for animal welfare and protection, and advocates: Maria Dickin (founder PDSA); Dorothy Brooke (founder The Brooke); Mary Tealby (founder Battersea dogs home); Marcia Glaser (co-founder Humane Society); Helen Jones (co-founder Humane Society); Rukmuni Devi Arundale (founder Animal Welfare Board of India); Jill Robinson (founder of Animals Asia); Virginia McKenna (Founder of Born Free); Mary Hutton (Founder of Free the Bears); Pei-Feng Su (Co-founder of ActAsia); Sam Green (Co-Founder of Dogstar); Madame Jeanne Marchig (founder of the Marchig Trust); Joyce D’Silva, Cindy Milburn

The animal welfare researchers: Marian Dawkins, Temple Grandin, Marie-France Bouissou, Christine Nicol, Joy Mench, Ruth Newberry, Anne-Marie de Passille, Carol Petherick, Linda Keeling, Birte Nielsen, Georgia Mason, Isabelle Veissier, Liz Paul, Dot McKeegan, Vicky Sandilands, Janice Swanson, Janice Siegford,… and all the very many female members of ISAE, 

Female animal welfare science and veterinary scientists and students around the world.

The unsung heroes of animal welfare: the female veterinary nurses, animal care technicians, volunteers in animal shelters, goushalas, sanctuaries and all those working to improve animal lives on the ground where ever they are in the world.

And of course our very own JMICAWE extended ‘family’ – Heather, Hayley, Fritha, Susan, Tamsin, Amy, Lucy, Cathy, Nat, Louise, Jill, Bryony, Francoise, Marie, Emma, Mel, Sarah, Laura, Irene ….

We thank you all.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Postitive changes for puppy welfare!

Last year the BVA, BSAVA and BVZS put forward a joint response to the government's consultation on animal establishment licensing in the UK.

JMICAWE's own vet, Heather Bacon has been involved through her work with both the BVA and BVZS on this consultation, and in April last year was invited to speak on behalf of BVA  at an EFRA enquiry on the effectiveness of the Animal Welfare Act

During the inquiry Heather gave evidence on the need for the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be supported by updates to secondary legislation such as the Animal Establishments Act, and the need for greater regulation, particularly around the issue of pet sales.

The updates include that laws around selling pets and breeding dogs will:
  • make it completely illegal to sell puppies younger than eight weeks
  • require anyone breeding and selling three or more litters of puppies a year to apply for a formal licence. 

Consequences of breaching the new rules include an unlimited fine and/or up to six months in prison.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy New Year from the JMICAWE!

Here at the University of Edinburgh’s Jeanne Marchig international Centre for Animal Welfare Education, we’re looking forward to 2017, and to further developing our exciting projects and partnerships

We’ll continue to focus in the Asia-region with ongoing projects to improve free-roaming dog welfare in India and Sri Lanka in partnership with the Dogs Trust, but we’ll also be working a little closer to home with partnerships to improve welfare in animal shelters in both Gran Canaria and here in Edinburgh.

We’ve built strong links with veterinary schools in China, India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam and hope to continue to develop these relationships to support veterinary skills developments and promote the role of the veterinary nurse in animal welfare. We’ll also be working on a new project to support improvements in farm animal welfare in China.

We’ll continue our project to improve zoo veterinary skills in China, Japan and Indonesia through collaborations with WAZA, CAZG, EAZA, Animals Asia and Wild Welfare.

We’re also excited to be working on our new Dog & Cat behaviour MOOC to be launched later this year.

2017 is shaping up to be a busy year – we hope that you’ll continue to support us in our endeavours!