New Edinburgh University course looks to better educate animal welfare advocates
Looking at the number and range of animals kept as pets around the world it seems that most children, and many adults too, have an interest in animals...although this doesn’t mean they will automatically treat them well. Even in countries that pride themselves on having a strong tradition of animal welfare, cruelty can be common place whether caused by commercial pressures and practices or through neglect or ignorance about the needs of animals.
On the positive side a large number of young people want to work with animals and are looking for jobs where they feel they will be helping to improve the lives of other species. The competition for these jobs is intense and having a relevant educational qualification is necessary to help secure these jobs.
In light of this, an important new online Masters degree in International Animal Welfare Ethics and Law has recently been launched and IFAW was very pleased to be invited to partner with the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) based at the Veterinary School at Edinburgh University in support of this programme.
The inauguration of this course is very timely. When governments respond to calls for higher animal protection standards they want scientific evidence to back the case for improved welfare. Of course sound science is an essential part of the equation but science on its own is not sufficient. Science tells us how things are, not how things ought to be. It is therefore vital that policy makers and advocacy groups have a common understanding of ethical as well as scientific principles when making the case for improved animal welfare.
The Edinburgh University postgraduate course aims to teach students about animal welfare, ethics and law, reinforcing the importance of science-based evidence for advancing animal welfare. The principles can be applied across many disciplines and will be useful for people working with animals, such as veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitation specialists, shelter managers as well as those involved in campaigns and advocacy.
Course, application and financial details can be found on the University website and if you are accepted onto the course you will have a chance to learn more about IFAW’s work through real life case studies included in some of the course modules. IFAW is very pleased to have been invited to contribute and we look forward to keeping in touch with the students as they advance through the course and become competent and professional animal advocates in their own right.