IFAW/Winchester CAW Partnership Essay Competition Blog

5 February 2019

At IFAW we base our principles and decision making on sound science, that’s why we’re proud to be partners with the University of Winchester’s Centre for Animal Welfare (CAW). The Centre offers fantastic undergraduate courses and Masters in Animal Welfare, Science, Ethics and Law, and aims to create a new generation of passionate, animal welfare experts.

As part of the partnership, IFAW and the University of Winchester’s CAW run an annual essay competition, asking students to submit a piece of writing that discusses innovative solutions to conservation issues and challenges conventional ways of thinking. As always, we were blown away by the Winchester cohort’s entries.

This year, we have selected Rachel Smith as the winner of the 2018 essay competition. Rachel’s fantastic essay Luxury, social status and wildlife trade in Asia; can this trend be reversed? reveals the true nature of wildlife trade in Asia and delves into the social and cultural reasons behind it – for example its association with wealth and the widely believed ‘health benefits’ linked to many wildlife products.

Rachel’s essay argues that changing people’s attitudes towards wildlife trade and owning animal products, like ivory, is key to reducing demand. Rachel also suggests that taking learnings from social sciences could inform and aid the execution of campaigns that will bring about this behavioural change.

Rachel’s suggestion of merging academia and wildlife conservation is extremely insightful and one of the reasons behind the IFAW and University of Winchester partnership. Conservation relies on interdisciplinary approaches and this partnership is a key example of conservationists and academics working collaboratively to ensure that people and animals can thrive together.

We would like to congratulate Rachel on producing such an excellent and thought-provoking essay, you can read her winning essay here: “Luxury, social status and wildlife trade in Asia; can this trend be reversed?”

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