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Centre Aims to Improve Animal Lives Across the Globe
2010-08-09

Improving the well-being of animals worldwide and challenging what is currently acceptable in the the way animals are used and treated will be the focus of a new Centre of Excellence.

Professor Elaine Watson
Photo by Paul Dodds © University of Edinburgh

Professor Elaine Watson

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the University of Edinburgh will form an integral part of the University's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

The Centre will create a focal point for Animal Welfare Education across the globe.

It will establish new veterinary courses, collaborating with international partners to improve the understanding of animal welfare issues.

The Centre which is being set up with a £2 million donation from the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, will be a key resource of expertise for animal welfare education. It will engage with politicians and governments with the aim of improving animal welfare and seeking alternatives to the use of animals in research.

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies will offer a certificate, diploma and masters degree courses in animal behaviour and welfare through full time and on-line learning working with partner organisations particularly in developing countries. It will also strengthen the current provision of animal welfare and ethics in veterinary education.

Professor Elaine Watson, Head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, said: "Improving animal welfare should be one of the main goals of the veterinary profession. The objective of the Centre is to make determined progress towards a situation where all animals are free from distress, suffering and hunger through instruction and training at all levels.

"The new Centre will also provide a platform for debating the important ethical issues which practitioners are faced with every day in veterinary practice and research.

We are delighted that we have been given the opportunity to set up this important new Centre and about the role it will play in raising awareness of animal welfare globally."

The centre, which will be run by a newly created post of centre director, will be based on the first floor of a new £42 million teaching building for the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, due to open next year.

Madame Jeanne Marchig, who established the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust in 1989, said: "The centre will provide an important role in education to strive towards improving the quality of life for animals. We know that by debating the issues, raising awareness of concerns and pushing the boundaries of what is considered acceptable across different borders we can make a positive impact for animal welfare today and in the future both within and outside of the veterinary profession."

The new veterinary teaching building is one of more than 30 projects of the Edinburgh Campaign, which aims to raise £350 million for initiatives across the University. This includes creating new hubs of learning, conserving iconic University buildings and increasing the number of scholarships and bursaries available for students.

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