On Tuesday the 10th May the animal management department held a a series of career talks as part of their Welfare Conference Day for Level 3 Animal Management students and Animal Behaviour and Welfare undergraduates. Students had the chance to gain an insight into potential career options from a range of guest speakers and had the opportunity to widen their knowledge of current animal welfare issues.
Students Lucy Renouf and Samantha Smith report on the day:
To start , I saw Kathryn Wright, who opened our eyes to how we can help to sustain our meat-infused diet, while creating better welfare for the animals involved. The main conclusions were to have ‘vegetarian’ days, while buying meat which has labels from the RSPCA and declare that they are ‘organic’, ‘free range’ or ‘high welfare indoor farmed’.
After lunch, I attended a talk by Jim Barrington, from the Countryside Alliance. He talked about some really controversial aspects of hunting. He talked about how hunting is entwined with the natural food chain and aids with Wildlife Management. There was debate afterwards between students and Mr Barrington. It was good for the students to have this opportunity to debate with someone who agreed with such a controversial topic.
I then returned to the domestic and exotics route to see a presentation by Andrew Trafford, which was an eye opener into the world of the heart, and how they use animals in the research of heart conditions. He also touched on the welfare of animals kept in labs and how that has changed over time. Finally was Paul Hodson, who gave us an amazing insight to how animals are taken in by their charity and how they help to ensure animal welfare. He went on to explain how they help people who may not be able to afford veterinary care for their pets.
Overall, I found the day very useful and all of the speakers were interesting and made good points which sparked thoughts in people’s minds on the various topics. The day gave the students chance to see outside views and consider them in their own, and I hope that I can speak for all the students involved by saying a big thank you to the staff and visitors who gave us this opportunity.
My day began with a talk from Kizzy Beaumont (Reaseheath Higher Education Lecturer), who posed the question ‘Do fish feel pain?’ and went on to explain how the implications of this statement can affect the welfare legislation relating to fish.
Following Kizzy I attended a talk from Nottingham Trent University PhD student Ellen Williams. As part of her PhD Ellen has been looking at the welfare of captive elephants across Britain and Ireland. When I spoke to Ellen, she said that her aim when giving this talk to students was to hopefully increase the awareness of elephants in captivity and how they are kept as well as how research can be used to improve welfare.
The next speaker was Reaseheath’s lecturer and former training coordinator on the ABWAK (Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers) Council, Holly Johnson. She talked to the students about the work ABWAK and what the organisation does to reach its aim to ‘achieve and advance the highest standards of excellence in wild animal care’.
The final speaker I saw during the day was Reaseheath Higher Education lecturer Dr Tom Quirke who spoke about the work he did in his PhD project with captive Cheetahs in Britain, Ireland, Canada and Namibia. He wanted the students to understand the importance of using an animal’s behaviour when monitoring welfare and how changes in behaviour can be used to determine whether an animal is living in an environment best suited to its needs.
Overall, the Welfare Conference Day was a great opportunity for students to gain knowledge on where an animal welfare degree can lead to and how they can work towards improving welfare standards of various different animals.