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How do we protect animal welfare in the face of a pandemic, and beyond?

05 May 2021 | Animal welfare

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The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF)’s Discussion Forum is back for 2021, and keeping animal welfare front and centre in a changing world is set to be the key theme across all sessions.

How do we protect animal welfare in the face of a pandemic, and beyond?  Image

Tickets for this year’s AWF Discussion Forum, which will be held virtually on Wednesday 15th September, are now on sale. There will be a full day’s programme including four main sessions, which will see the return of two debates, and a discussion.

Sessions include:

  • Innovation and overtreatment – Does the desire to innovate compromise companion animal welfare?
  • Farming, sustainability and welfare – What are the interactions between farming methods, production systems, sustainability and welfare?
  • Covid-19: Upholding animal welfare in the face of a pandemic
  • What are we doing to improve welfare? AWF-funded research projects

 

Innovation and overtreatment

Panellists will debate where animal welfare and wellbeing sit within the rapidly changing world of innovation, and look at how to protect it. They are set to drill deep into the often-controversial issue of overtreatment, looking at whether a line can be drawn between daily practices and experimental treatments.

Chaired by Sky News Sports Editor Nick Powell, the expert panel is made up of: 

  • Eddie Clutton - Clinical Director of the Wellcome Trust Critical Care Laboratory for Large Animals (Roslin Institute)
  • Karen Humm – Associate Professor in Transfusion Medicine and Emergency and Critical Care at the Royal Veterinary College

 

Farming, sustainability and welfare

 

This session will focus on sustainability and production methods in farming, and how we can make sure that animal welfare is part of these conversations. Panelists will debate whether intensive farming can ever be good for both welfare and sustainability, while looking at the rise in farm-focused technology, and the government’s sustainable intensification agenda.

 

Chaired by Daniella Dos Santos, AWF trustee and BVA Senior Vice President, the expert panel features: 

 

  • Professor Cathy Dwyer- Head of the Animal Behaviour and Welfare Research Team at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and Director of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) in Edinburgh. 
  • Jimmy Turnbull - Professor at the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling
  • David Alvis – Management consultant to the UK AgriFood sector 
  • Maria Carmen Hubbard – Senior lecturer in Agricultural Economics at Newcastle University

 

Covid-19: Upholding animal welfare in the face of a pandemic

Panelists will discuss new and emerging animal welfare problems, the impact on veterinary practices and welfare charities, and the effects on production animals and equines. This session is designed to give an overview of the pandemic and how it has changed the profession.

 

Chaired by Sky News Sports Editor Nick Powell, the expert panel features:

  • Carolyne Crowe – Head of training at the Veterinary Defence Society (VDS). An experienced equine vet, and award-winning coach and mentor.
  • Peter C Jinman, OBE - Mixed practice vet and Chairman of the Animal Welfare Committee of DEFRA. Past president at the British Veterinary Association (BVA)
  • Daniella Dos Santos- Small animal and exotics vet, BVA Senior Vice President, and Trustee of the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF)
  • Steven Howard- Head of clinical services at PDSA.

 

The final session, entitled ‘What are we doing to improve welfare?’, will give delegates the first sight of results from AWF-funded research projects. This will be chaired by Fiona Fell, AWF Trustee and Deputy Chair of Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL). Delegates are encouraged to get involved in all of the debates and Q and A sessions. There will also be break out rooms available where attendees will be able to take part in interactive discussions on other pertinent topics, which are to be announced soon.

 

AWF Chair, Chris Laurence said:

“Our theme this year is ‘Upholding animal welfare in a changing world’, and I am delighted to reveal a very topical and exciting Discussion Forum programme.

 

“Our expert speakers will cover a range of current issues, pertinent to veterinary and welfare professionals, including discussing how to uphold animal welfare in the face of a pandemic, and will be revisiting a ‘big debate’ style format for both the ‘Innovation and overtreatment’, and ‘Farming, sustainability and welfare’ sessions.

 

“After the overwhelmingly good feedback from our sold-out 2019 event, I am looking forward to seeing audiences get involved in these. Delegates will also be the first to hear the results of the very latest AWF-funded research projects that have been undertaken during the pandemic.

 

“At a time of competing priorities; with a Global Climate Change emergency, the rise of technology and innovation, and an ever-challenging, post pandemic landscape, it has never been more important that animal welfare is considered in these discussions. There will an array of thought-provoking content for all delegates, whether they are an animal welfare expert, vet, vet nurse or student.”

 

BVA President, James Russell said:

 

“It is great to see the AWF Discussion Forum back for 2021, and there is a lot to talk about. This popular event offers a chance to hear experts from across the animal health and welfare field give an informed and scientific perspective on some of the most important and topical issues.

“As someone with a background in large animal and farm work, the farming debate is one that I am particularly excited about. At a time when sustainable farming is more important than ever, and technological advancements on-farm are coming on in leaps and bounds in the UK, vets must look at how high standards of animal health and welfare can be maintained.

“I am really looking forward to hearing which side audience members come down on before and after taking part in the debate sessions. There will be something for anyone involved in animal welfare and the veterinary profession, and I urge everyone to book their spaces, before they disappear!”

Tickets for the AWF virtual Discussion Forum can now be bought online at: https://www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk/discussion-forum-2021/

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