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Stackyard News May 2011

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Vets to Take On International Animal Welfare Issues

International animal welfare will be the focus of a centre that aims to equip the next generation of vets to improve the plight of animals across the world.

Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

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

The £2 million Centre, which will be officially opened tomorrow (Thurs, 19th May) by Mme Jeanne Marchig, will collaborate with international partners to deliver wide ranging educational initiatives catering for different audiences and cultures.

Education on animal welfare issues will also be strengthened for students at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies to equip them to speak confidently about and engage with animal welfare-related issues.

It will also prepare them to work in different countries and address diferent animal welfare concerns, ranging from the care of working animals to that of wild animals in captivity.

The Centre will also become involved in the political debate on animal welfare and protection issues. At all times, the boundaries of what is currently legally acceptable will be constantly challenged for the benefit of animals.

The centre will work to ensure that the needs of animals matter and are acknowledged, addressed and met.

Professor Natalie Waran, Director of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, said: “Enhancing the animal welfare science content and incorporating more opportunity for ethical debate within veterinary education will give veterinary graduates the skills, knowledge and confidence to contribute positively to discussion on animal welfare issues We are living in an increasingly globalised world and we need to empower veterinary students so that they feel they can be informed animal ambassadors in both a national and international arena.”

The Centre is already forging links with welfare and veterinary organisations in China and India.

It will also run an international animal welfare seminar series, working with partner organisations to improve animal welfare, as well as looking at providing continuing professional development for trained vets.

The Centre has been set up following a £2 million donation from the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust.

Mme Jeanne Marchig said: “This is a very exciting initiative in which animal welfare will play an integral role in veterinary education. The world needs veterinarians who are not only professionally competent but also compassionate with high ethical values. Vets are at the core of safeguarding animal welfare and through the Centre, they will be provided with the skills necessary to enable their voices to be heard in order to ensure that animals across the world are free from distress, suffering and hunger.”

The centre forms part of a £100 million development at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ Easter Bush Campus, which includes a new £42 million teaching building.

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