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!