The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

Current projects in UK and Europe

The Jeanne Marchig Centre is working closely with colleagues to ensure they are achieving the gold standard of animal welfare and ethics training within the Vet School curriculum.

Visit the awards page for further information about awards.

Awards Page

Sept 2022, new publication

Rowland, M.; Hudson, N.; Connor, M.; Dwyer, C.; Coombs, T. The Welfare of Traveller and Gypsy Owned Horses in the UK and Ireland. Animals 2022, 12, 2402.

Mar 2022, Paws and Learn

This was the first known controlled trial of an online Reading to Dogs programme. Reading to dogs, an Animal-assisted intervention, has been gaining in popularity and prevalence in schools. Previous research suggests that RTD can enhance the learning environment photo of learning environment by supporting social, emotional, behavioural, and reading outcomes. Teachers reported that not only did they themselves enjoy PAL, but that they believed PAL would be practical and feasible to have in schools.

Watch the video

Jan 2021, New Year Honours for Dr Heather Bacon

Heather Bacon, who has been with JMICAWE from the very beginning in 2011, has been given an OBE (Officer of the order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, in recognition of her work in veterinary education, animal welfare and charity work in the UK and abroad.  This is one of the highest honours that can be bestowed on a UK citizen, and is a wonderful and very well deserved recognition of the enormous amount of work that Heather has done, and continues to do, in the service of animal welfare. 

Read the full article on our blog.

Nov 2020, JMICAWE and R(D)SVS win Veterinary School of the Year award

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and JMICAWE are delighted to announce that we are the very first recipients of the World Veterinary Association and CEVA veterinary school of the year in the global animal welfare awards for 2020. For the first time in 2019 WVA and CEVA also decided to give an award to the veterinary school or college that was working to promote animal welfare, and we won! The award is wonderful recognition of the hard work, dedication and commitment of all those in JMICAWE, the wider JMICAWE ‘family’, including our colleagues at SRUC who conduct research in animal welfare, and many, many people in the R(D)SVS who contribute to embedding animal welfare into the veterinary curriculum to give our students the best possible grounding in animal welfare science, ethics and practice.

Read the full article on our blog.

Oct 2020, JMICAWE Release of Vet Nursing Skills Resource

A free online resource has been launched by the University of Edinburgh. The new resource, which is aimed at qualified and student veterinary nurses, will provide fresh perspectives on the interactions between nursing care, animal health and patient behaviour. Its content – also a valuable teaching tool for vet nursing lecturers – will highlight how focusing on these vital overlaps can improve patient welfare and clinical outcomes. This new resource aims to support vet nurses in providing the best clinical care and welfare for their patients no matter where in the world they work.

Read the full article on our blog.

Sept 2020, Scottish Animal Welfare Commission - Plenary Meeting

JMICAWE director, Prof Cathy Dwyer, chaired a plenary session of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) on Friday 11th September. The Commission focuses on protecting wild and companion animals, as well as providing scientific and ethical advice to the Scottish Government. At this plenary session the Commission considered the impact of Covid-19 on animal welfare – of particular concern in the UK has been a significant rise in the number of people looking to acquire puppies, where those puppies are being sourced and whether this will impact on future health and welfare of dogs.

Read the full article on our blog.

Jul 2020, Animal Welfare Publication

JMICAWE researchers have published their final paper in a series looking at prioritising animal welfare issues for different groups of animals. For this work, the JMICAWE team (led by the late Dr Fiona Rioja-Lang) established contact with 144 animal welfare experts and worked on all the main managed animal groups in the UK (farmed, companion and horses). The aim of this final paper was to determine the most important welfare issues for each species, to think about methods for tackling them and to look for key recurring themes between species.

Read the full article on our blog. 

Jul 2020, UFAW Conference

Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science VII, JMICAWE Director, Cathy Dwyer, was able to attend without leaving home! Over two days up to 1000 attendees were able to virtually attend the conference, making the conference much more accessible to those interested in hearing the latest in animal welfare research. The annual UFAW conference always covers the broad sweep of research topics that make up animal welfare and this virtual meeting was no different. 

Read the full article on our blog.

Jun 2020, New Developments in EU Animal Welfare

JMICAWE Director, Cathy Dwyer, attended a virtual meeting of the EU Animal Welfare Platform this week, in her role as one of the independent experts who sit on the platform. The platform meets every six months, but with the current pandemic this was the first one to be hosted online rather than in Brussels.

Read the full article on our blog.

Oct 2019, SheepNet

Networking to improve lamb survival

The SheepNet project has been running since 2016, and involves farmers, vets, researchers and other stakeholders from six EU countries (UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Romania) and Turkey. The project aims to share science and practice across the countries to improve sheep health and reduce lamb losses, and the French visit was the final workshop for the project to share the story that lies behind the project.

The materials already collated as part of SheepNet are freely available through the ‘knowledge reservoir’ on the project website:

Read the full article on our blog.

Oct 2019, ICABGEH Congress (keynote)

JMICAWE Director, Cathy Dwyer, argues that animal welfare is an integral part of sustainability, and cannot be ignored in a drive to reduce the cost of food production and increase productivity, in a keynote speech given at the ICABGEH congress held in Prague, Czech Republic, organised by Turkish researchers. The audience was largely vets and animal scientists from Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, plus some participants from as far afield as Thailand and Indonesia.

Read the full article on our blog.

Sept 2019 - Appointment - Chair of Animal Welfare Commission

Cathy Dwyer

Professor Cathy Dwyer has been appointed as Chair of Scotland’s first ever independent Animal Welfare Commission.

The Chair of Scotland’s first ever independent Animal Welfare Commission has been confirmed as Professor Cathy Dwyer, Director of the School's Jeanne Marchig International Centre of Animal Welfare Education. 

Announced as part of the Programme for Government, the Commission will focus on protecting wild and companion animals while also providing scientific and ethical advice to government.

The Commission, which will be chaired by Professor Cathy Dwyer will specifically look at:

  • how the welfare needs of sentient animals are being met by devolved policy
  • possible legislative and non-legislative routes to further protect the welfare of sentient animals
  • the research requirements to provide an evidence base for future policy development

Press release

Sept 2019- 3rd annual veterinary ethics & welfare conference

The conference takes places on Saturday 28 September - Sunday 29 September 2019.

Tickets and further information

Sept 2018 - 2nd annual veterinary ethics & welfare conference

The conference takes places on Saturday 29 September - Sunday 30 September 2018. The 2018 Conference will tackle topics like puppy farming, the ethics of ECC and life saving interventions, ethical farming, the race horse industry, zoological medicine, farm animal welfare and ethics, and hot topics in veterinary medicine. And for the first time ever, we will be bringing in a panel of experts to debate the ethics surrounding evidence based veterinary medicine.

Tickets and further details can be found on the website 

2018 - Delphi Project – Expert consensus on animal welfare priority issues in the UK

The aim of this study is to use a modified Delphi procedure to create an overall ranking of welfare outcomes for managed animals in the UK. The species included in the study are: horses, cats, rabbits, exotics, wildlife, cattle, pigs, poultry, small ruminants, and dogs.  The results of this study will help guide the BVA Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) in prioritising support for particular areas of animal welfare research.

Project page

Sept 2017 - 1st annual veterinary ethics & welfare conference

Organized by 4th year veterinary student, Morgan Brown, the 1st Annual Veterinary Ethics & Welfare Conference was held at the RDSVS from Sept. 30th - Oct. 1st, 2017 in Edinburgh. Students at The University of Edinburgh tackled difficult ethics & animal welfare issues, and expert speakers came in to lecture from all over the world. Some of the topics covered were the Ethics of Surgical Decision Making, the Ethics of Breeding Based on Looks, Cultural Differences in Global Animal Welfare, Mistakes in Practice, Euthanasia, and Identifying Non-Accidental Injury.

Sept 2016 - Online MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour

The study of the application of behaviour for dealing with animal behaviour problems is an area of increasing interest in applied ethology and veterinary medicine. Referred to as clinical animal behaviour, the subject involves an evidence based approach for treating and managing a wide variety of abnormal and/or problem behaviours performed by captive domestic animals. The subject involves a multidisciplinary approach drawing on knowledge and techniques from the fields of psychology, ethology, neurobiology, pharmacology and veterinary science. This programme will contain teaching and learning that is aimed at the academic preparation of students for a professional career in the management of animal behaviour in a variety of settings, including clinical animal behaviour counselling.

The MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour will build on the experience we have with running successful international Masters programmes, to provide a fully flexible postgraduate programme designed to specifically address the demand for online Clinical Animal Behaviour teaching. This will allow students to study in their own time and space, in a fully supported learning environment

Further information about the MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour

June 2012 - Improving animal welfare: a practical approach

Heather Bacon, attended a conference and workshop for veterinary practitioners in Romania last week.

The welcome was from The President of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) and the President College of Romanian Veterinarians - highlighting that the aim of the conference was to remind delegates of the importance of animal welfare in Romania and the role that veterinarians can play to educate others.

Delegates were then encouraged to assess animal welfare issues and challenges relating to nine different areas, ranging from companion animals to poultry to wild animals held in captivity - and each group were requested to provide a five minute presentation of their suggested solution, incorporating current Legislation and Animal Welfare Assessment tools.

May 2012 - BVM&S Student's create the Animal Ethics Forum

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education was delighted to support the first debate organised by the student-led Veterinary Ethics Forum. After an introduction to the issues surrounding selective breeding for specific aesthetic, behavioural or functional traits by Heather Bacon of the JMICAWE, the group of 30-40 veterinary students debated the topic of "At what point does breeding animals for traits become unacceptable?” facilitated by Dr Andrew Gardiner.

Olivia Nathan, the student chair said of the event:

“In the initial debate, breed standards were hauled over the coals and health and welfare were unanimously decided to be at least somewhat compromised in exchange for other traits by many breeders of both companion and livestock species! But how much is too much? We had some great discussion, with people comparing and contrasting dog breeding with farming, questioning the rights of a regulatory body to impose restrictions on an entire group of dogs, discussing what vets could do to have a direct impact and trying to figure out where to draw the line.”

Both staff and students are looking forward to the next meeting and future discussions.

April 2012 - Teaching undergraduates animal welfare

In line with our objectives, there has been an enhanced delivery of information on animal welfare and ethics to the R(D)SVS undergraduates. Invited speakers from the US and Europe have continued to deliver interesting and at times controversial talks to different year groups. We have revamped our first year lectures (part of AHWFS course) to provide a series of welfare scenarios to compliment the existing curriculum. In May 2012 we are very much looking forward to joining the CLIC fourth year course, providing further welfare and ethics information to students. This summer we also have 2 BVM&S students who are completing their SSC2 project with an animal welfare perspective.

March 2012 - New online MVetSci Conservation Medicine

This online programme is specifically tailored for veterinary graduates seeking training in conservation medicine.

Courses include an introduction to Conservation Medicine, Wild Life Disease Management and Wild Animal Welfare.

MVetSci Conservation Medicine

January 2012 - Development of a new online distance learning MSc International Animal Welfare, Ethics & Law.

This new online MSc is the first and only online programme in International Animal Welfare, Ethics & Law. It focuses on the international use of animal welfare science and the associated ethics, policy and law.

November 2011 - Further development of MSc One Health

Our students from the masters in One Health have been provided with the chance to learn about and discuss the ethical and welfare issues involved in the use of animals in research.

MSc One Health

October 2011 - Improving animal welfare: a practical approach

The European Commission, Health and Consumers Directorate General, together with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe is pleased to be hosting a variety of workshops throughout Europe based on animal welfare tailor-made for veterinary practitioners

Heather Bacon from the JMICAWE gave a presentation on the 'assessment of welfare of wild animals in captivity' as part of the Animal Welfare Workshops, Budapest Veterinary School, 26-27 September 2011. Her presentation is attached below.

May 2011 - Sentience Survey of vet students at the R(D)SVS

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education is working to monitor the attitudes of veterinary students to the concept of animal sentience. By assessing attitudes in student cohorts as they pass through each year of the veterinary course, we will track changes in attitudes to the concept of sentience and investigate correlations to educational content, age, gender or background.