Indo-Scottish tie-up for veterinary education

More than 60 billion land animals are raised for meat or animal products each year around the world, and with increasing human populations and a rise in meat consumption in places like China and India, these figures are set to double by 2050.

India is already the highest milk producing country and with increasing demands for meat, eggs and milk, Indian farming enterprises are rapidly becoming larger and animals more intensively managed, with subsequent consequences for animal health and welfare and indirectly increased risks for food safety and human health.  Alongside this is a growing appreciation of conservation medicine and the fact that agriculture and human health are intimately linked, with many infectious, and even occupational, diseases being associated with the food chain. The link between animal health, human health and environmental health – and the important role of the veterinarian in understanding issues associated with these links and how appropriate animal disease surveillance is established, is of international concern, where humans and animals are likely to come into contact and potential conflict. 

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education was opened at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (RDSVS) in May 2011. Integrated within the RDSVS the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE), is a venture with ambitious objectives committed to improving the health and welfare of animals through education, training and research and by influencing policy at the highest level. The JMICAWE not only promotes the need for education in animal welfare science and ethics but also emphasizes the important role of veterinarians in promoting animal welfare along with their involvement in protecting public health. 

Understanding the issues and finding ways of enhancing animal welfare is clearly a huge and growing area and is necessary for protecting not only animal health – but also human and environmental health. Edinburgh has a long-standing reputation for the delivery of gold standard research led teaching in the area of animal welfare science, and has recently developed online, distance education post-graduate programmes such as the PG Masters in Animal welfare, ethics and law, and the PG Masters in Conservation Medicine, which provides a novel opportunity for those wishing to study off site and part-time, to experience high quality teaching from researchers and experts working around the world.

Edinburgh University’s knowledge sharing research and educational activities have involved the development and delivery of a number of successful workshops provided at the invitation and with the support of collaborating Indian Universities, Governmental bodies and Wildlife institutes such as the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University, the National Wildlife Institute in Bangalore, and the ICAR, as well as the professional organisations, such as the Veterinary Council of India. The aim of the workshops and meetings has been to aid in the development of innovative delivery of a future focused veterinary teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Promoting veterinarians as ambassadors for animal health and welfare and addressing the internationally recognized need for incorporating critical thinking and ethical analysis as well as clinical skill acquisition and a thorough understanding of infectious disease control and animal welfare science. 


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