Thursday, 27 August 2015

Positive Emotions in Horses; ISES Conference 2015 Canada

This August, JMICAWE Centre Director, Professor Nat Waran was invited to speak at the UBC in Vancouver, at the 11th International Society for Equitation Science Conference. This was the first time that the conference has taken place in Canada and there was a good turn out of around 170 delegates from various parts of the world. This included three students who have been studying equine behaviour and welfare through the Edinburgh online programmes.

The Conference theme was about breaking barriers and bridging gaps- between scientists and riders/coaches, and the practical demonstrations by internationally acclaimed riders and trainers in a range of disciplines provided the opportunity to look at the application of an evidence based approach to a range of equestrian disciplines.

Professor Waran gave her talk on the second day, addressing the issue of whether its possible to determine if a horse is a happy athlete. This complemented some great presentations covering diverse topics such as; equine stress behaviours in therapy horses, problems with use of the whip in horse-racing and physiological and behavioural responses of horses to wither scratching when under saddle.
The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) was founded in 2007 by a group of scientists, psychologists, veterinarians, and animal behaviourists united in their desire to promote equine well-being through promoting an evidence-based, scientific approach in horse training and to ensure that the techniques used are based on what we know about horse behaviour and learning, as well as being effective.
Prof Waran is a co-founder of the field of equitation science, and the very first workshop was held in Edinburgh at the veterinary school in 2004, and a successful international conference in 2012. The next ISES conference will be held in Saumur in France in June 2016.

You can read more about this year's conference via the following link;

Pet Therapy: Scientists delving into what makes a healthy and happy horse


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Crate Escape – Dog Trafficking in the News

Scottish readers may have spotted JMICAWE’s Heather Bacon in the Sunday Mail at the end of last month, as she was asked to give an interview on the dog meat trade in Asia which has hit the international headlines recently following the Yulin Festival earlier in the year. Heather has witnessed first-hand some of the practices that go on in Asia to obtain, transport and kill these dogs, and was asked to talk about it after a report was released by our partner Animals Asia on the illegal dog meat trade.

You may recognise Heather and Hayley’s own dogs, Stewart, Mothi and Matilda (pictured below) who were rescued from the dog meat trade when Heather and Hayley worked over in Asia a few years ago.

You can read the full article by clicking on this link;

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Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Dog's Perspective

We’re really excited to bring you a new short film, A Dog’s Perspective, on YouTube.

The idea behind this video comes from our undergrad veterinary students at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School and they shot and directed the video themselves after completing their final year animal welfare elective module.

Our students recognised that the veterinary clinic can sometimes be a frightening and alarming place for our companion animals and wanted to make a video that could highlight some simple and effective changes to the clinic that can improve the experience for our companion animals.

Carrie Aitken, the video’s director, had this to say:

Veterinarians are sworn to protect and uphold the welfare of animals under their care. It is easy to allow the importance of a patient’s physical health overshadow that of their mental and emotional wellbeing. I wanted to make this video to help us see the world through a dogs’ point-of-view so that we may improve the welfare of our pets in veterinary practice.

To do this I have highlighted the key areas of a veterinary practice from the point-of-view of a dog and provided some suggestions as to how to improve the patient experience.

I hope you enjoy the video and take a moment to consider how the world is experienced through the eyes of our canine companions. 

It’s great to see the next generation of veterinarians thinking about the animal’s experience in the clinic and putting animal welfare front and centre. A big thank you to Carrie and her colleagues for sharing this video with us, and congratulations on your graduation! We know you’ll go on to do great things.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Chinese Deans Visit JMICAWE in Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has been working with the Chinese Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) since 2013 when we signed a unique agreement enabling both parties to collaborate on innovative veterinary research and educational programmes.  The agreement - the first between the CVMA and a UK university – also aimed to promote and strengthen the role of the vet in China, particularly in the area of animal welfare. 

Since 2013 this agreement has been supported by a range of innovative veterinary educational initiatives including the delivery of a Massive Open-access Online Course, with video tutorials subtitled in mandarin, and co-organising the animal welfare education stream at the annual China Veterinary Conference – delivering animal welfare CPD directly to Chinese veterinary practitioners.
Continuing this body of work, last week we were delighted to host the Deans and senior Professors from China’s three top Veterinary schools: China Agricultural University, Nanjing Agricultural University, and the Inner Mongolia University, plus colleagues from the CVMA at a workshop on “International Veterinary Education and Animal Welfare”, here at the Royal (Dick) school of Veterinary studies. The Deans interacted with a range of clinical, research and academic staff, and focussed on the ways in which robust research, teaching and practice of good animal welfare supports excellence in veterinary education. Of particular interest was the investment the R(D)SVS has made in promoting the use of non-animal alternatives in the veterinary curriculum, and the Chinese delegation were particularly interested in this practical approach to promoting good animal welfare whilst also supporting an excellent learning environment.

The trip, funded by World Animal Protection, also allowed the delegation to visit the Royal Veterinary College in London, and to meet with John Blackwell, President of the British Veterinary Association, to discuss the role of the vet in safeguarding animal health and welfare, both nationally and internationally.
Animal Welfare is of increasing importance within the Chinese veterinary curriculum, having recently been incorporated into the final undergraduate veterinary examinations, but is often still poorly understood as a robust, and evidence-based subject. The use of live animals in teaching is widespread across Chinese Universities, and such practices may undermine theoretical welfare teaching, as well as decreasing student empathy for animals.
Collaborations such as this one are important in promoting animal welfare as a rational and science-based subject, essential for global trade and food security. In addition the positive relationships, educational workshops and teaching exchanges developed by the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, at the University of Edinburgh, are helping to support the integration of practical and welfare-friendly alternatives into the Chinese veterinary curriculum, as well as championing the role of the veterinarian as an international ambassador for good animal welfare.