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Academic, education & animal welfare sessions

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Monday 6 April

In many countries, veterinary applicant numbers far exceed the number of places available, and there is usually a low attrition rates of selected students. Given these factors, student selection essentially becomes a proxy for practitioner selection, and as such may be the most important assessment in a veterinary programme. This presentation will consider veterinary student selection processes in light of this overarching concept of programme selection equalling profession selection.

In many western countries there is increasing effort to improve the access of ethnic minorities and lower socioeconomic status individuals to veterinary education. This presentation will consider why this is and what benefits there could be from increasing the diversity of our veterinary students, and eventually profession. Some strategies utilised to this end will be discussed, including a case study of Māori students, who are indigenous to New Zealand.

Tuesday 7 April

Veterinarians are often regarded as experts in animal welfare. This notion appears to stem from their training in veterinary science, professional expectations outlined in national and international laws and by veterinary regulatory bodies. If this assumption is to be accurate, the new curriculum needs to embed veterinary science teaching within an animal welfare framework. The anticipated effect will enhance veterinarians’ understanding of animal welfare and promote its application in professional practice. Research currently underway will explore this effect.

Wednesday 8 April

Equid welfare is at the core of each activity carried out by The Donkey Sanctuary. This presentation focuses on the approach to welfare assessment we use, including why and how, introducing the EARS Tool we use to collect field-data. Examples will include working equids in brick kilns, donkeys in meat/skins production farms and those in sanctuary care with an emphasis on the benefits to all when welfare assessment is embedded in our approach.

This session will focus on quality-of-life and end-of-life decision making regarding equines in a variety of situations – retirement, rescue and rehoming, sanctuary care, slaughter for meat and by-products, euthanasia etc.

The Five Domains Model provides a scientifically supported basis for systematic and comprehensive assessment of animal welfare. The Model facilitates structured assessment of negative and positive features of animals’ nutritional, environmental, health and behavioural management, and the associated welfare-relevant negative and/or positive experiences the animals may have. This paper describes how the Model was integrated by the NZTR into its Thoroughbred Welfare Assessment Guidelines.

There are around 50 million working donkeys in the world, each donkey keeping a family alive. Poor harnessing and lack of knowledge on the subject mean that most of these animals suffer needlessly. Simple, improved systems of harness are possible, made from locally available materials and often using local skills means that they, and the families who depend on them could produce more, live longer and have better welfare.