Centre for Animal Welfare News 2020

11 Nov 2020

The latest news and events from staff and students at the University of Winchester's Centre for Animal Welfare

Nov. 2020

A British Pandemic: CAW exposes the cruelty and danger of supermarket chicken farming

Following recent outcries in the media over the cruel farming practices of some supermarket chickens (see below), CAW Director Prof. Andrew Knight has published a detailed report, with Open Cages and Prof. Emeritus David Wiebers, examining welfare problems and disease risks created by intensive meat chicken farming, including the risks of future global pandemics. The 58-page report also highlights action supermarkets can take to address these risks.

Find out more about the Centre for Animal Welfare report A British Pandemic: the Cruelty and Danger of Supermarket Chicken on Prof. Andrew Knight's website.

Animal Welfare at Winchester: calling for better welfare conditions for meat chickens - image of suffering chicken

Sept. 2020

Meat chickens still suffer at farms supplying major supermarket chains, new undercover investigation reveals

'Severe lameness", "substantial pain" and "stress associated with impeded ability to move". This is how CAW Director Prof. Andrew Knight descibed the plight of meat chickens at two farms supplying Tesco, Sainsbury's and Lidl, having been shown images taken during an undercover investigation carried out by The Times. Prof. Knight was quoted in the article, published on 21 Sept, which contains details of chickens unable to support their own weight, lying in their ownfaeces and amidst dead birds.

Read the full article 'Dead and lame birds in flocks of chickens reared for supermarkets'.

CAW student wins essay competition

Congratulations to MSc Animal Welfare student Francesca Bandoli, who has been declared this year's winner of the joint CAW-Compassion in World Farming Essay Competition. Her highly topical essay was on the relationship between intensive animal farming and antimicrobial resistance. "Francesca's essay was truly outstanding", said CAW Director Prof. Andrew Knight."I am very proud of her."

Find out more about Francesca and read her winning essay

Animal Welfare student instrumental in rehoming of campus carp

Thanks to a sustained campaign by MSc Animal Welfare student Pauline Brown, five carp have been moved to a much larger pond, having outgrown the University's small pond. Aided by Head Gardener Maurice James and his team, the fish were taken to the beautiful - and sizeable - pond at Basingstoke Crematorium.

Read the full story of the resettling of the University of Winchester's campus carp, and see their new home

"These are two excellent examples of some of the outstanding work our MSc students do every year, both academically and in helping to make the world a better place for animals. Our students are among the University’s best, and such work continues to uphold this reputation." Prof. Andrew Knight, CAW Director

July 2020

University of Winchester academics sign open letter calling for animal-free medical research to accelerate search for Covid-19 vaccine

In a major Open Letter, published today in the Guardian, a host of leading experts are calling for animal-free research methods to be prioritised to accelerate the discovery of effective vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. The letter is directed at the World Health Organization, governments, funding bodies and regulators. University of Winchester signatories are CAW Director Prof. Andrew Knight and Prof. Shireen Kassam, Visiting Professor in Health and Wellbeing. Prof. Kassam teaches the University's popular short course in Plant-Based Nutrition.

Read the full Open Letter calling for more animal-free research funding to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

Rat studies contribute little to our understanding of Major Depressive Disorder

In a new study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, CAW PhD student Constança Carvalho, CAW Director Prof. Andrew Knight and colleagues argue that citation analysis shows that rat model research has contributed very little to the clinical understanding of MDD, suggesting a misuse of research funding.

Read the full article 'The Contribution of Rat Studies to Current Knowledge of Major Depressive Disorder: Results From Citation Analysis'

June 2020

New Zealand needs to step up its resource investment and policy reform in animal welfare

'Should New Zealand do more to uphold animal welfare?', asks CAW Director Prof. Andrew Knight in a new study. Despite progress and despite repeated claims from Governmental and industry representatives that Aotearoa New Zealand leads the world on animal welfare, review of welfare problems in the farming of meat chickens and laying hens, pigs, cows and sheep reveals persistent systemic welfare compromises within most New Zealand animal farming systems.

Read the full article: Knight (2020), Should New Zealand do more to uphold animal welfare? Animal Studies Journal, 9(1), 114-149.

May 2020

Join us for Hedgehog Awareness Week 2020 

May 3rd to 9th is National Hedgehog Awareness Week! Led by our indefatigable Animal Welfare student and hedgehog champion Carol Cook, the University's Hedgehog-Friendly Campus team would like your help!

Animal welfare at Winchester: image of Hedgehog-Friendly Campus logo

Carol explains: "We are asking University staff and students to flood our Twitter page @hogfriendlyUoW with photos of your hedgehog houses, feeding stations, wildlife gardens, log piles, maybe even visiting hedgehogs, from your gardens or local communities. Alternatively, you can design a poster, write a few hedgehog-related words or just write #hedgehogawareness on a piece of paper, take a photo and share. Please use the hashtag #hedgehogawareness and tag the team @hogfriendlyUoW Thanks!"

Join our Twitter Animal Welfare community now

April 2020

Calling all pet owners: you are invited to take part in study exploring ideal pet diets

What do dogs and cats really like to eat? Which diets make them healthiest and happiest? Despite the increasing array of conventional and alternative pet food choices, surprisingly little is known about how different types of pet food affect the health of dogs and cats, and which diets they actually prefer. A new study by the Centre for Animal Welfare aims to shed light on some of these questions.

Animal welfare at Winchester: woman and dog sitting side by side

Image: Sven Lachmann from Pixabay

If you are over 18 and have been lucky enough to share your household with a pet for at least one year, then you and your companion animal are invited to participate in this study. All you need to do is complete a short online survey; most people take around 10 minutes. We need as many pets and their people to participate as possible, so please consider sharing this survey. The results will be published and a summary will appear on www.AndrewKnight.info in due course.

Take part in the pet diet survey

New CAW report highlights need for urgent move away from animal farming

Covid-19 has put the spotlight on the disease risks associated with animal farming and selling, especially wild animal markets, or intensive farms in which thousands of animals are crowded in often unsanitary conditions. Widespread use of antibiotics to suppress disease leads to antibiotic resistance.

With the majority of new human diseases now emerging from animal populations, we urgently need to reconsider our reliance on animal farming. A new report just published by CAW Director Prof. Andrew Knight explores why and how we can transition away from animal farming. Although focussed on New Zealand, the general principles apply everywhere.

The Green Protein report is available on Prof. Knight's website

March 2020

OUT NOW: our 2019 activity report

We are delighted to announce that our 2019 activity report is now available; download the CAW activity report here or read it online.

February 2020

There is a wolf in sheep’s clothing at the heart of government, argues CAW academic

The Animal Health and Welfare Board of England (AHWBE) demonstrates the capture of animal welfare regulation by the farming industry and therefore a conflict of interest, says Dr Steven McCulloch, Senior Lecturer in Human-Animal Studies, in a recent article in The Ecologist. He argues that the animal protection lobby, and indeed the British public, should be 'up in arms' about the AHWBE (which is chaired by a farmer), and demand instead a fully independent 'Animal Protection Commission.' Read the full article.

January 2020

Centre for Animal Welfare secures Bronze Hedgehog-Friendly Campus status for University of Winchester

Animal Welfare at Winchester: image of Hedgehog-Friendly Campus Bronze Award logo

The University of Winchester has been awarded Bronze accreditation for completing the first stage of a national campaign to make university campuses wildlife-friendly, particucularly for critically endangered hedgehogs. Along with over thirty other universities across the country, Winchester staff and students have been actively engaged in completing the various initiatives required for accreditation from the Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign. The campaign is funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (find out more).

Initiatives have included:

  • undertaking ongoing hedgehog surveys on campus and logging results on The Big Hedgehog Map
  • ensuring grounds and maintenance teams knew what to do if they found a sick or injured hedgehog
  • ensuring physical information about hedgehogs is available on campus
  • running an active social media campaign
  • organising litter picks around campus
  • placing stickers on all garden machinery to advise users to check for hedgehogs before use
  • writing a 

The team is now working on our bid for Silver accreditation. For further information email MSc Animal Welfare student Carol Cook, or follow us on Twitter.

Winchester Animal Welfare student wins CAW/IFAW Essay Competition

Congratulations to MSc Animal Welfare student Francesca Bandoli, who has won the Centre for Animal Welfare/International Fund for Animal Welfare Essay Competition 2019 for her essay ‘Surviving in the Anthropocene: the study of animal cognitive abilities as a conservation tool’.

Animal welfare at Winchester: image of elephant-friendly beehive fence deterrent in Africa

Beehive fence in Africa, an animal welfare-friendly way of deterring elephants from entering human settlements (image from the winning essay)

"Francesca’s work highlights certain fundamental changes of animal behavioural and cognitive characteristics in response to human activity", explained Prof. Andrew Knight, CAW Director and Programme Leader for the MSc. "It demonstrates how understanding of such animal characteristics can be used in conservation efforts. It is an excellent essay on a topic which is both fascinating and important."

"It's great to be providing this award to a student who has such a healthy interest in the topic", added IFAW 's new Director James Sawyer. "The nexus between animal welfare and conservation is a critical one, and further understanding of how the disciplines can be of benefit to each other is needed. As population sizes diminish in the wild, the wellbeing of the individual animal becomes ever more important."

Read the full essay here: winning essay CAW IFAW Essay Competition 2019

Read all about it! Winchester Animal Welfare students and graduates featured in latest edition of Animal Justice UK e-zine

Don't miss Animal Justice UK Volume 7, Dec. 2019, which includes articles by graduate Hannah Wade, who discusses her undergraduate research into the important area of humane education; BA student Tom Gooch, who recounts his experiences volunteering for Orang Utan Appeal UK, and MSc student Alice Oven who talks about studying animal law as a postgraduate.

Read Animal Justice UK Volume 7, Dec. 2019 online

For more news from Alice Oven, see below.

For pet and planet: Winchester Animal Welfare student highlights potential of cell-based meat for pets in new book

Dec. 2019 saw the launch of MSc Animal Welfare student Alice Oven's new book The Clean Pet Food Revolution. One of the first books to cover alternatives to traditional pet foods, including plant-based diets, this engaging book makes an important contribution to an emerging field of key importance to animal welfare.

Animal Welfare student Alice Oven

"There are an increasing number of studies on human willingness to consume cell-based meat, yet attitudes to feeding pets these novel proteins have yet to be formally investigated, despite the existence of three cell-based meat pet food start-ups", explains Alice, who has also recently published the article 'The unexpected potential of cell-based meat for pet food' in the International Animal Health Journal (read it HERE). In February, she will be presenting a poster on cell-based meat for pets at the Companion Animal Nutrition conference.

Invasive animal research contributes little to combatting Major Depressive Disorder, argue Winchester animal welfare experts

Winchester PhD student Constanca Carvalhio, based at the University of Lisbon, and CAW Director Prof. Andrew Knight along with other co-authors, have just published a paper demonstrating that invasive animal research provides few worthwhile contributions to combatting Major Depressive Disorder, one of the world’s most serious mental health disorders. They carried out a comparative analysis of the literature and found that human-based approaches were considered to be more relevant, usually cheaper and less ethically contentious than non-human primate (NHP) studies.

Read it online: Carvalho, C. et al. (2019). The relevance of in silico, in vitro and non-human primate based approaches to clinical research on major depressive disorder. Altern Lab Anim, 47(3–4), 128–139

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