Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Blog from Asia for Animals - Kathmandu December 2017

Judith Velarde of PAWS Philippines writes:

My trip to Nepal was awesome! I think this is one of the most exciting and at the same time productive as well as full of learning trip that I've ever had so far.

Before this conference, I don't know anything about Nepal before aside from the fact that they are the only country who doesn't have a rectangular flag. When our shelter director informed us about AFA Kathmandu, I am one of the first who expressed intention to join. But as the days goes by, I realized that it will be a long shot just because it was expensive.  Majority of us started to lose hope that maybe it will just be an unfulfilled dream. So we tried to look for sponsors. AFA committee were so accommodating and advised us to wait. As soon as the application for sponsorship came, we submitted our forms and wish that I'll one of those chosen ones. We waited, patiently. 

Good news came that all of us will received sponsorship for the conference and accommodation so all we need is an airfare and some pocket money. We started saving for trip.  Then another good news came in! I was chosen by JMICAWE to receive a travel scholarship and for that I really thanked them. It's an honor to be chosen amongst all the participants.

AFA Conference 2017 runs for 4 days from December 2 until 5.  This is where different organizations from across different countries provide talks and workshop evolving on changing human behavior which has and will have a great impact on the animal welfare world. Just being in that conference is a very up lifting. Seeing all those people with the same passion as you have is just really comforting.

Another highlight was the fieldtrip. We went to Chitwan National Park where we had an experience to walk with the elephants into the jungle and saw rhinos up close. It was very very surreal. No picture or video will bring justice as to how majestic and beautiful they are in the wild. It is just mesmerizing!

This conference is actually an eye opener that you are not alone in whatever battle you have. Somewhere out there, there is always someone fighting the same battle as you do. We may be far from really reaching our ultimate dream but take time to pause and celebrate our wins. May it be as simple as a senior dog getting adopted from a local shelter or as impactful as not a single rhinos was killed by the poachers in Nepal for the past 3 years. Animals can't talk but if they could, they would be thanking each and everyone of us in doing the things big or small that will protect them and would make their lives worthwhile.

Again, thanks for to JMICAWE for making this trip possible and I'm looking forward in joining the next AFA conference.

Judith and the other staff from the PAWS Shelter

Monday, 29 January 2018

Changing Human Behaviour for Sharks

Changing Human Behaviour for Sharks

Naomi Clark-Shen was sponsored by JMICAWE to attend the AFA Conference on Human Behaviour Change in Nepal back in December.  Naomi works on shark conservation in Indonesia and Singapore.

On the second day of the conference Naomi spoke about how her work looks at changing two extreme ends of behaviour; that of wealthy consumers who behave (eat shark fin) out of convenience, and that of fishermen who behave (hunt sharks) to survive.

Her work tries to achieve this by bringing shark consumers and shark hunters together – on an eco-tourism trip where the shark fishermen take guests snorkelling. Naomi shared how ultimately the shark fishing industry is more complex than many think, and a solution is far from being achieved. 

“This conference was interesting because the focus was on animal welfare – whereas my work is conservation. These fields are actually very different. I am passionate about animal welfare though, and listening to the other talks re-sparked my interest in getting back into welfare work as well.”

“There was another person working on shark fishing, in Pakistan, and it was great to learn from him. The conference was very uplifting. I was pleasantly surprised at how far the animal movement has come in Asia.” 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

JMICAWE Vet Nurse Hayley Walters receives MBE in New Year's Honours List

Hayley Walters receives MBE in New Year’s honours

Hayley Walters, The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education's Welfare & Anaesthesia Nurse, was made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.
Hayley Walters MBE
Welfare & Anaesthesia Nurse within The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE), Hayley splits her time between working in the School's Hospital for Small Animals as a key member of the anaesthesia team and supporting JMICAWE work in Outreach Education projects.
As well as Hayley's clinical work she has responsibilities for training veterinary surgeon and veterinary nurse students in all aspects of animal welfare, handling and pain management. She has also worked all over the world to share her veterinary nursing and animal welfare education skills as part of her work with JMICAWE.
Hayley has previously won the RCVS Golden Jubilee Award, in honour of her exceptional contribution to her profession. 
In response to receiving the award, Hayley Said: 
“I feel really happy that the veterinary nursing profession is being recognised by the Queen! I started my career as a part time receptionist and kennel maid when I was 18 and qualified as a veterinary nurse three years later. I’m 40 this year and I still love my job. I care so much about the animals' experience when they’re away from home and when everything that is familiar to them has gone."
"I feel very privileged to receive an MBE but it has only happened because I am fortunate enough to work with really dedicated and inspiring people. Our international animal welfare education team within the University of Edinburgh is small, but between us all we are reaching students not only in the UK but overseas too where often animal welfare is not taught. Student vets and veterinary nurses are the future ambassadors for animals and I hope to be able to continue my work for many more years."
Professor David Argyle, Dean and Head of the Vet School, said:
“We are delighted that Hayley has been awarded an MBE for services to veterinary education and animal welfare. This is a very well deserved recognition for Hayley’s outstanding contribution in educating student veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses here at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and for her work on animal health and welfare issues both in the UK and around the world.”

Monday, 18 December 2017

Human behaviour change for animal welfare

Human behaviour change for animal welfare

As the year draws to a close, JMICAWE vet Heather Bacon made one final overseas trip, this time to Nepal to speak at the Asia for Animals Conference, themed on Human behaviour change for animal welfare.

Presenting on the value of academic-NGO relationships in developing strategies to change human behaviour and influence animal welfare, Heather used examples from our ongoing research and outreach work to illustrate the impact that JMICAWE is having on animal welfare around the world. You can read more about the Human behaviour change for animal welfare here:

The conference is the flagship programme of the Asia for Animals Coalition — 16 of the world’s leading animal protection organisations which have a shared focus on improving the welfare of animals in Asia. Speakers and workshops discussed a wide range of topics including veterinary training in China presented by Dr Sun, from the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association, an organisation with whom the JMICAWE have partnered for several years.

“The conference is an inspiring collaboration between NGOs to highlight and champion the excellent work being done to improve animal welfare across Asia” Said Heather, “This year there was increasing academic representation from the UK as well as other countries, demonstrating the importance that academic-NGO collaboration has in supporting effective work in changing human behaviour and improving animal welfare.”

JMICAWE sponsored Naomi Clark-Shen (Singapore) & Judith Velarde (Philippines) [pictured here with Heather] to attend the AfA Conference

Monday, 11 December 2017

Dr Fiona Lang joins JMICAWE team

Dr Fiona Lang joins JMICAWE team

We are delighted to welcome Dr Fiona Lang to the JMICAWE team! Fiona will be joining us for a year to lead on a project to identify the main priorities for animal welfare in the UK, funded by the Animal Welfare Foundation of the BVA. Fiona, a former PhD student at SRUC, brings with her a wealth of expertise in dairy cow and pig welfare, as well as having recently completed a set of Canadian guidelines for the welfare of buffalo. Fiona is also interested in the welfare of street dogs, and veterinary education in Central America.

This new project will involve liaising with experts in animal welfare and management across the UK to reach a consensus view on which areas of animal welfare are the most pressing concerns for future research and policy efforts.

Welcome to the team, Fiona!  

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Cows, welfare and farming in India

Cows, welfare and farming in India

Cathy Dwyer recently joined fellow Vet School colleagues, Gurpreet Grewal-Kang, GurĂ¥ Berkvist and Harish Lochun, on a trip to Delhi and the Punjab in India.

The trip focused on developing new partnerships in animal welfare and veterinary medicine as well as visiting current collaborators and promoting the new Global Academy in Agriculture and Food Security.  The team visited the Nabha foundation in the Punjab, to see the work the foundation are doing in promoting organic production methods, particularly focusing on a reduction in pesticide use even in non-organic production, and increasing food safety.

We also visited projects encouraging traditional craft methods and providing opportunities for women’s empowerment in Indian villages, as well as visiting a gowshala (cow sanctuary).

In Delhi we returned to visit colleagues at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, with whom we are currently writing a new distance learning course on animal welfare, and at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in Karnal, as well as visiting the University of Delhi.

Cathy says ‘It was a really inspiring trip. It was fascinating to learn more about the great projects that are helping to support women in rural communities and to look at ways that the University can help support these. It was also lovely to catch up with researchers and their students at NDRI, who are developing some really interesting research in buffalo and cattle behaviour and welfare. We are hoping to be able to work with this group more in the future to help support their work.’

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Graduation for IAWEL MSc students

Dr Fritha Langford, Programme Director, writes:-

We were delighted that so many of our online International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law graduands made it to Edinburgh for their MSc Graduation ceremony in our newly refurbished, magnificent graduation hall. We are very proud of their hard work and dedication and are looking forward to hearing the next steps in their career involved in improving animal lives. As usual, we had a huge variety of projects completed in the masters year including:

  • “An assessment of an educational intervention on the knowledge and attitudes of Indian national veterinarians to animal welfare”
  • “Exploring inter-observer reliability and feasibility in animal welfare measures at a large equine rescue facility”
  • “The ethics of bringing wild African elephants into zoos”
  • “The reporting of post-operative pain management in rodents undergoing experimental surgery”

Many of our IAWEL graduates joined us for a celebratory lunch with their families and we were able to chat about their projects, the future and delight in the fact we were all face to face with one another!  We wish them all the best for the future. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Jess in Bosnia with DogsTrust

Earlier this month, JMICAWE's RVN Jess was invited by charity Dogs Trust to work with their International Training Program based in the Sarajevo Veterinary Faculty, Bosnia.

Jess was paired up with Paul Eynon, a small animal surgeon and lecturer from Glasgow Veterinary School, and as the International Team they were responsible for the training of two Bosnian vets in surgical techniques (Paul) and effective anaesthesia monitoring (Jess) with the focus being on ensuring a high standard of welfare is maintained for the patient from induction all the way through to recovery.

JMICAWE’s RVN Hayley Walters originally spent time in Sarajevo with this project three years ago to assess and implement standard operating protocols to ensure a high standard of welfare for each patient is upheld during anaesthesia and recovery which are still being followed today, with great success!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Jess Davies at ICAWC, Cyprus

Our Vet Nurse Jess Davies  represented JMICAWE at the 19th ICAWC in Nicosia, Cyprus last month.

This year there were 232 delegates, from 105 organisations in 37 countries with speakers talking from many different perspectives in relation to animal welfare issues, from NGOs, charities from both the UK and overseas and also from the academic field.

It proved to be a really positive conference showcasing so many dedicated individuals and groups from all over the world in the pursuit of improving animal welfare in their area.

Poultry Award for JMICAWE colleague

Poultry Award for welfare expert

Welfare expert and JMICAWE colleague Jessica Martin has been named Young Poultry Person of the Year at the Egg and Poultry Industry Conference.
Jessica Martin
Welfare expert Jessica Martin has been named Young Poultry Person of the Year at the Egg and Poultry Industry Conference.
Jessica received the award for her work at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, which is focused on improving bird welfare during poultry production.
Her current research evaluates the welfare impacts of both slaughter and on-farm killing techniques for poultry. She has also carried out studies on bird behaviour and the merits of multi-sensor platforms for remote monitoring of poultry flocks, such as thermal imaging and technologies to monitor vocalisations.
The EPIC Young Poultry Person of the Year Award was set up in memory of renowned egg processor Clive Frampton, former owner of Frampton’s egg processing business, who passed away in 2012. The award is made annually to recognise the efforts of up and coming stars in the poultry industry.  Many congratulations from the team, Jess!
I am truly honoured to receive this award from the UK poultry Industry and so grateful for their on-going support over the years. It demonstrates the strengthening relationship between industry and the scientific community to produce high quality data and results, with high impact.

Friday, 3 November 2017

World Conference on Farm Animal Welfare, HangZhao, China

World Conference on Farm Animal Welfare, Hangzhou, China

JMICAWE Director Cathy Dwyer and SRUC colleagues Emma Baxter and Irene Camerlink were guests at a Conference on farm animal welfare organised as the 5th China Animal Welfare Forum on Quality and Safety of Meat and Poultry Products by the International Cooperation Committee on Animal Welfare (ICCAW) in Hangzhou. The meeting was attended by about 40 overseas guests, and 350 Chinese delegates from industry, academia and NGOs, and was a good signal that China is now starting to consider animal welfare as very important in food animals. 

Cathy gave an interview to the Chinese TV media before the conference began, particularly addressing concerns that animal welfare is synonymous with an increase in costs of production, and also took part in a panel discussion with both Chinese and overseas experts.

On the second day of the conference there were species-focused sessions and Emma gave a talk on neonatal mortality in a session organised by the RSPCA.

It was interesting to see how animal welfare is viewed in China with a lot of interest in standards and legislation and fewer talks on animal behaviour or animal based measures as might be the case in European meetings. This is planned to be an annual event, so we look forward to seeing how the status of animal welfare in China develops over the next few years.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

JMICAWE at Chinese Agricultural University, Beijing

JMICAWE teaching at CAU

Cathy Dwyer and Jess Davies were recently at the Chinese Agricultural University in Beijing to visit the veterinary school teaching hospital for small animals and agriculture school. Jess gave her first overseas lecture to the students and faculty, which prompted a great discussion around euthanasia in different contexts and cultural differences between China and UK. The Chinese faculty were very interested to hear about the ways some veterinary practices are able to have a dedicated room for clients for euthanasia and are thinking about providing something similar themselves.

We also met with faculty members currently doing research in farm animal welfare, and Cathy gave a lecture on animal welfare issues, which also resulted in an interesting discussion around different issues in China and UK. It was fascinating to tour the vet school at CAU and see the differences and similarities in how care is provided to patients in comparison to the UK. In particular the use of Chinese Traditional Medicine in veterinary practice, alongside conventional medicine was really interesting. We were impressed with the interest and enthusiasm for animal welfare and ethical decision-making shown especially by the students and younger faculty members.

 Traditional Chinese medicine 
 Jess with Sun (their translator) at CAU
Jess's first overseas lecture for JMICAWE!

Monday, 16 October 2017

JMICAWE contributes to WSAVA Animal Welfare guidelines

JMICAWE contributes to WSAVA Animal Welfare guidelines

JMICAWE vet Heather Bacon recently travelled to Bangkok to input into the development of the first World Small Animal Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Guidelines. The WSAVA is the global organisation for small animal vets and these guidelines will offer veterinary practitioners around the world guidance on dealing with common animal welfare issues and highlight the role and responsibilities of vets as advocates for good animal welfare.

“Vets have not always fully engaged with their role of protecting and enhancing animal welfare,” said Heather “Even in the UK and other developed countries this is still a challenge, and for low income nations, the challenges are magnified. The WSAVA guidelines will provide support for veterinary practitioners around the world to engage with animal welfare issues.”

The animal welfare guidelines will be launched at the WSAVA annual conference in 2018.