Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Top tips for pets during festive season

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has teamed up with its ambassador, Paul O'Grady, to share top tips to keep pets happy this Christmas. Paul explained: “Everyone goes a bit crazy at Christmas, chucking up tinsel, knocking back mince pies and having everyone you’ve ever met round for a party. Then it’s straight into New Year, with all the fireworks, and even more food and drink.....and while it’s all great fun for us, it can be a bit much for our four-legged friends, so I’ve teamed up with Battersea to share my top tips for ensuring your animals have a brilliant time as well.”

His tips are as follows:

  • Make sure your pets have their own space. When the house is heaving it can be easy for the poor pooch or moggy to feel a bit overwhelmed, so create a comfy den for them away from the action where they can retire if things get too much. Choose an area they are familiar with and give them a tasty treat to make it more enjoyable, but don’t lock them in. If you have excitable pets make sure you tidy up any loose Christmas tree light cables.

  • Ensure they don’t escape. When everyone arrives, remind them to always shut the external doors behind them. You can even put a sign up, otherwise it’s all too easy for pets to wander outside and take themselves for a festive stroll.

  • Stick to your normal routine. Try not to upset your dog’s usual routine as it could make him restless and stressed. If he’s used to three walks a day, or any other regular activity, try not to deviate from it too much.

  • Brief visitors on the pet house rules. If you have rules about where your pets go and which furniture they can go on make sure all your visitors are aware, so Uncle Jim doesn’t start encouraging the dog onto your brand new sofa and getting him into bad habits.

  • Keep an eye on the calories. We might all be eating like it’s our last day on earth, but there’s no need for the dog or cat to pork out. Tell visitors not to give them titbits so you can monitor how much they get. There’s no harm in a few cheeky morsels, but if everyone gives the dog a sausage it’s not going to be long before you get a pooch with a very upset stomach.

  • Avoid certain foods. With all the goodies floating around it can be easy for pets to snatch a treat, but make sure your dog avoids chocolate, grapes, raisins and onions as they can be poisonous. Turkey bones can be dangerous for pets, so make sure they can’t get any out of the bin.

  • Don’t let fireworks ruin New Year’s Eve. The flashing lights, sudden loud bangs, and unusual noises can spook even the calmest pet, and it’s not surprising, as they have no idea what’s going on. There’s lots you can do to keep dogs and cats calm, and Battersea have heaps of advice you can follow here.

Season’s Greetings from Scotland!

Merry Christmas from all at the University of Edinburgh's Jeanne Marchig Centre for International Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) and our Animal Welfare team.

We have been delighted to have achieved so much in 2012 including:
1.  Extending the BVM&S curriculum to incorporate more animal welfare, animal ethics and animal behaviour education for our undergraduates
2.  Implementing the new online Masters in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law (MSc IAWEL)
3.  Working with our partners including WSPA, IFAW, UFAW, Animals Asia and RSPCA International to continue to support animal welfare education internationally.
4.  Further develop the Masters in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare (MSc AABAW) with SRuC.
5.  Organise Animal Health & Welfare workshops in India
6.  Organise Animal Welfare training for vets in China

Many thanks for all your support in 2012 and we look forward to working with you towards improving animal welfare education in 2013.

Best wishes

Nat, Heather, Jane, Hayley, Fritha, Susan, Willie and everybody involved in our animal welfare education team.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


News Release - Thursday 6 December 2012


The Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare is warning people in Scotland not to impulse buy pets as Christmas presents.  The situation is particularly urgent at this time of year as 'gifted' animals are more likely to be abandoned or need re-homing come January, when the novelty wears off.

The Group stresses that people should especially beware of buying a pet online.  Many unscrupulous breeders take advantage of the Christmas season to make money and what people see on a website is not always what they get in real life - if they receive anything at all.  Hundreds of cases have been documented of puppies and kittens being sold online that turned out to be underage, sick or not properly socialised.  There have also been cases of illegal dog breeds, such as pitbulls, being advertised online, or breeds of cats with inherent welfare problems.
Christine Grahame MSP, Convener of the Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare said:
“Christmas is the worst possible time to introduce a young, vulnerable animal to a busy household.  Once the holidays are over, reality kicks in and the responsibilities of caring for a pet can be too much for some people, with tragic consequences.
“The Group has received information about the severe animal welfare problems related to buying pets online, and we will continue to highlight this trade in the New Year.  Many puppies and kittens are bred for the Christmas market and advertised online. Buying on the internet, without doing proper research and seeing the new pet with its mother, can be buying into needless suffering.”
The Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on Animal Welfare brings together MSPs from all parties and almost fifty associate members and groups with a shared interest in animal welfare including Professor Nat Waran from JMICAWE.  The Group’s office bearers are: Convener – Christine Grahame MSP; Vice-Conveners – Claudia Beamish MSP and Alison Johnstone MSP; Secretary – Libby Anderson, OneKind.

For more information, contact Christine Grahame MSP – or 0131 348 6084

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

MSc AABAW Graduation - Congratulations

Congratulations to the 15 MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare students of 2011-12 who managed to make a trip back to Edinburgh to enjoy their graduation ceremony on Friday 30th November.  

It was a lovely ceremony in the beautiful McEwan Hall of the University of Edinburgh.  This was followed by a short walk to Old College to have lunch in the Playfair library. 

We all had a super day celebrating the achievements of the students and it was lovely to catch up with some of the 2011-2012 students!! 

5 others graduated 'virtually' by Second Life or in absentia.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Perspectives in Laboratory Animal Science (PiLAS)

The Launch of PiLAS

FRAME was founded in 1969, to promote the development and application of sound scientific principles and methodology which could lead to the progressive reduction and replacement of laboratory animal procedures in biomedical research, testing and education. We are not uncritically for or against science, we do not favour humans in competition with animals, and we never put animal welfare above the welfare of humans. Rather, our aim is to avoid the conflicts that can arise between these kinds of competing interests, by encouraging positive scientific developments which are genuinely in the interests of all concerned.

While animal procedures continue to be considered necessary in some circumstances, they should be conducted in ways which ensure the highest possible standards of welfare and care for the animals concerned. As members of the Triple Alliance (the BUAV, CRAE and FRAME), which advised the British Government during the passage through Parliament of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA), we were totally supportive of the inclusion of requirements for a named day-to-day-care person and a named veterinary surgeon for each animal breeder, supplier or user establishment.

Now, 25 years on, we are pleased that similar requirements are spelled out in Article 24 and Article 25 of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which applies to all the Member States of the European Union, and which comes into force in January 2013. Like the ASPA and the Directive which preceded it (Directive 86/609/EEC), the new Directive is firmly based on the Three Rs of Russell and Burch, and the principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement are clearly spelled out in Article 4.

The proper application of the Three Rs involves a wide complexity of ethical, scientific and practical considerations in relation to benefit (to humans) and suffering (of animals). These include: justification of the need for performing the specific procedures; how they should be performed in order to maximise benefit and minimise suffering; the likelihood that worthwhile benefit will be achieved and how that should be weighed against likely animal suffering; the detection, measurement and relief of suffering; the nature and uses of models; the planning of experiments and the analysis of data; the breeding, supply, transport and re-use of animals; species differences among animals and between animals and humans; and conflicts between responsibilities to animals, colleagues, science and medicine, and employers.

The aim of PiLAS is to improve the quality of discussion about animal experimentation and alternative approaches, by offering bio-scientists in all relevant fields an opportunity to share their expertise, knowledge and ideas concerning these and other issues raised by laboratory animal use.

As well as being circulated along with FRAME’s peer-review, scientific journal, Alternatives to Laboratory Animals (ATLA), articles within PiLAS will be freely available, via open access, on the accompanying website —