Animal welfare pioneers launch groundbreaking portal

December 01, 2015

An interactive resource for up keeping animal welfare standards, is being launched today at the University of Sydney.

One welfare

Experts from across the nation and overseas are finalising Australia’s first tertiary animal welfare and ethics project, culminating in its launch at the University of Sydney today at 3:30 p.m. by the ‘father’ of animal welfare science, the UK’s Emeritus Professor John Webster.

Emeritus Professor Webster is among international and local experts who have helped develop the One Welfare portal – an online, interactive resource being launched today – which has brought together all the veterinary faculties in Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Webster, from the United Kingdom’s University of Bristol, arrived in Australia last week and will embark on a national speaking tour until 10 December.

Leading author Professor Webster is a key proponent of the Five Freedoms. Developing the framework from a call for basic rights, such as the ability to stand, stretch and lie down, to a proposal encompassing a stress-free environment and enabling the expression of normal behaviour through conditions that avoid mental suffering.

“There is a growing expectation as society is increasingly relying on animals for consumption and even companionship, that we have a responsibility to do this in a more humane manner,” says Webster.

To improve animal welfare across Australia and remain abreast of emerging issues, a consortium led by the University of Sydney applied to the Australian Government’s Office of Learning and Teaching for funding for what has become the One Welfare portal.

“This has been a truly national collaboration involving animal welfare scientists who are leaders in their fields,” says McGreevy, the chief investigator for the project.

Among the resources that the portal now boasts are: dozens of veterinary scenarios showcasing ethical dilemmas; a validated online reflection tool for students to use on annual basis to assess their views on animal sentience; a custom-built online debating tool called Chatterbox™; over 300 essays on animal welfare science and an app (doglogbook) that has been developed for dog owners to report their dogs’ day-to-day activities and help veterinarians assess the animals’ quality of life.

Australian and New Zealand veterinary schools have been participating in workshops from Monday 30 November through to Wednesday 2 December at the University of Sydney as part of the One Welfare program.

Participating universities in One Welfare, being launched today, comprise: University of Sydney; University of Queensland; Charles Sturt University; University of Melbourne; University of Adelaide; Massey University; James Cook University and Murdoch University.

WHAT: One Welfare portal launch, Wonder Dog tricks
WHEN: 3:30–4:30 p.m., 1 December
WHERE: Darlington Conference Centre, City Road, near Butlin Avenue, University of Sydney

This article was first shared by The University of Sydney on 1 December 2015. 

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