Latest News from UFAW



Laboratory mouse welfare and possible olfactory effects of routine husbandry procedures


UFAW is supporting a project aimed at improving the care of mice used in research. In the European Union alone, approximately 7 million mice were used for experimental and other scientific purposes in 2011* Refinements in mouse husbandry therefore have the potential to greatly impact the lives of many animals.


Mice have a well-developed sense of smell and use olfactory signals to communicate information about danger, sex, kinship, fertility and dominance. With this in mind, a team from the Royal Veterinary College, London are assessing whether standard laboratory handling and cleaning procedures, products and their associated smells, affect mouse welfare. Noelia Lopez-Salesansky, Dr Charlotte Burn and their team aim to provide recommendations, which may enhance the welfare of the many mice used in laboratories every year. 


* Seventh Report on the Statistics on the Number of Animals used for Experimental and other Scientific Purposes in the Member States of the European Union, 2013



ISAWEL Symposium 2014


Dr Anna Zamansky asks an interesting question: “Can we take advantage of state-of-the-art scientific achievements in informatics and artificial intelligence to improve animal welfare?” Dr Zamansky, Senior Lecturer at the University of Haifa, Israel, chaired a Symposium, supported by UFAW, entitled: ‘Intelligent Systems for Animal Welfare’ (ISAWEL’14). ISAWEL’14 was attended by people working in Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI), neural networking, robotics, and animal welfare, the aim being to “bring together animal scientists who could provide expertise on welfare problems, and computer scientists who could provide insights into their possible technological solutions”.


One paper discussed how to design a ‘smart toy’ for the cognitive enrichment of elephants. Other presentations looked into how animals could be provided with more control over their environment, which has been shown to improve welfare. One such paper investigated the requirements for a dog ‘smart kennel’, which would integrate interactive and monitoring technology to allow dogs to control elements of their surroundings (eg privacy screens, exit flaps to outside areas, interactive toys) and also to assist staff in monitoring dog welfare through recording welfare-salient information. Another paper considered a means of empowering assistance dogs via a dog-activated alarm which would allow dogs to trigger a software sequence to call for outside help if their owner became incapacitated.


The ISAWEL'14 team consider the inaugural ISAWEL Symposium to have been a success and hope to run similar meetings in the future.



Animal Welfare Student Scholars' Meeting

Newcastle University

Wednesday 3rd December 2014

Featuring talks by students who undertook UFAW & HSA (Dorothy Sidley) Animal Welfare Student Scholarships in 2014

Free but places are limited

For further details and to book a seat please contact

Dr Stephen Wickens (



Herd of donkeys.jpgAnimal Populations – World Resources and Animal Welfare

UFAW International Animal Welfare Science Symposium

Zagreb, Croatia

14-15th July 2015


For further details go to the Symposium webpage






UFAW invites applications for 3 awards

UFAW Animal Welfare Student Scholarships

UFAW Young Animal Welfare Scientist of the Year award


UFAW Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science



The field of animal welfare is a cross-disciplinary area of study that seeks to offer guidance and find solutions to the challenges raised by our caring for and interactions with both kept and wild animals. As part of its on-going commitment to improving animal welfare through increased scientific understanding of animals’ needs and how these can be met, This regular meeting, which will be held in York, aims to provide a forum at which the broad and growing international community of scientists, veterinary surgeons and others concerned with animal welfare can come together to share knowledge and practice, discuss advances and exchange views.

Call for papers:
We would like to hear from anyone interested in making a contribution to the conference on the subject of recent advances in applied ethology, veterinary and physiological science and the other disciplines that inform our understanding of animals and their welfare. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 22nd November 2013. 

Click here to go to the Conference webpage




New Edition of the Management and Welfare of Farm Animals: The UFAW Farm Handbook - Now available

Published by Wiley. Edited by John Webster. March 2011.

Price £38.50.  Order direct from Wiley.








Announcing the sixth title in a major UFAW Animal Welfare Series


Eqine Welfare

C. Wayne McIlwraith (Editor), Bernard E. Rollin (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-4051-8763-3 Paperback 504

A rational exploration of the ethical and welfare issues in all areas of equine use. This book addresses controversial and emotive issues surrounding these iconic creatures, providing a reliable source of information to support informed debate. It will enable all those with an interest in horses and the uses they are put to gain an awareness of the problems and abuses that occur. The book draws on the expertise of a range of acknowledged leaders in equine health and welfare. The first part of the book explores general issues of the horse’s needs and nature. The second part contains chapters each covering a specific human use of horses and the abuses that arise as a result.

March 2011, Wiley-Blackwell £44.99 / €54.00. Order direct from Wiley



Recent advances in animal welfare science

UFAW Animal Welfare Conference

30th June 2010

York Merchant Adverturers' Hall



Click here to go the the Conference web page.




Humane Control of Rats and Mice

Guiding Principles in the Humane Control of Rats and Mice is now available on the UFAW website. Click here to download a copy.

Click here to download a copy of the Press Release



UFAW Announces winners of the 2009 Companion Animal Welfare Awards

Click here for further details



UFAW International Symposium 2009

Darwinian selection, selective breeding and the welfare of animals

Click here to visit the Symposium web page





8th UFAW Vacation Scholarship Meeting held at the University of Bristol - December 2005

Animal Welfare Special Issue marks 50th anniversary of the Three Rs - November 2005

Paignton Zoo wins 2005 UFAW Wild Animal Welfare Award - November 2005

UFAW makes three major research awards totalling over a quarter of a million pounds - October 2005

UFAW SAWI Fund sponsors animal welfare conference in Israel - September 2005

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University Links Seminar

In a joint venture, the UFAW link representatives from the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow have invited Professor Peter Sandøe, Professor in Bioethics at The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, to give a seminar at Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow on 25th April 2007. Professor Sandøe will be speaking about ‘Veterinary treatment of companion animals – What are the ethical limits?’ The talk will be given in the McCall lecture theatre and will start at 1.00pm.


Professor Sandøe is Chairman of the Danish Ethical Council for Animals and president of The European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics and since 1990 the major part of his research has been within bioethics with particular emphasis on ethical issues related to animals, biotechnology and food production. He is committed to interdisciplinary work combining perspectives from natural science, social sciences and philosophy.


Anyone interested in intending this meeting should contact UFAW’s Glasgow link representative Dr Dorothy McKeegan (email: to confirm their place.


UFAW Workshop on Rodent Control Methods

Many of the current methods of rodent control fall short of the humane ideal of bringing about effective population control, or individual culling, without causing pain, fear or other unpleasant feelings. Some methods fall considerably short of this ideal. Around the world very large numbers of rodents are subject to control methods and so the subject is one of major animal welfare importance. However, compared to many other animal welfare concerns, rodent control is a 'Cinderella' subject that has received relatively little attention (or investment). James Kirkwood organized a workshop meeting held in London in January 2006 to review this subject.

The purpose of the meeting, which was attended by scientists involved in this field, representatives of the pest control industry and policymakers, was to discuss whether any approaches to improvements can be identified and, if so, how these might be pursued. Future research priorities (potential new directions for humane rodent control - lethal or by preventing breeding, and the potential for improvements or refinements to existing methods) were considered, as was the need for best practice guidance about the use of current methods.

A number of meetings have been held subsequently and three avenues have been identified through which improvements could be pursued:

  • Education  
    • to raise awareness of the need to take welfare into consideration
    • to provide best practice guidance about selection of control methods from welfare and other perspectives
  • Regulation
    • to address an apparent need for the regulation of trap design based on assessment of humaneness
    • to explore streamlining of registration, in one country, of products registered in another
  • Research
    • Ways need to be developed to encourage, promote and fund research into more humane control methods – either novel approaches or refinements to existing methods

Continuing discussions include the development of best practice guidance leaflets, initially aimed at the general public, and the possibility of a research project investigating the addition of analgesics to rodenticides.


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Animal Welfare Journal goes online

From the start of 2006 (volume 15), subscribers to Animal Welfare receiving printed copies in the usual way will also have free access to the journal via the world wide web - current and all previous issues.

UFAW’s primary aim in publishing the journal is to help promote advances in animal welfare through wide dissemination of the results of high-quality animal welfare science and debate about related issues. Making the journal available on line will facilitate access to the journal around the world.

Subscribers will be provided with a code which will enable full access to the journal via Ingenta (

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8th UFAW Vacation scholarship meeting, University of Bristol

The 8th annual UFAW vacation scholarship meeting was held in the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Bristol in December 2005. Introduced in his inimitable style by Professor John Webster the staff and students of Bristol, and the other universities, colleges and other institutions that attended, were treated to a wide variety of talks covering topics as diverse as measuring the welfare of horses used in therapeutic riding programmes, investigating the effects of tree cover on the range on the welfare of free-range layer hens and the impact on parasitic load and welfare of mixed species housing of zoo animals. Speaking at the meeting were two ex-vacation scholars who have gone on to pursue further research careers in animal welfare science: Dr Vicky Melfi (1997 vacation scholar and acting head of research at Paignton Zoo) who talked on ‘Integrating zoo animal welfare science: a case study using Abyssinian colobus monkeys’, which demonstrated how integrating a scientific approaach to proposed changes in husbandry and management could yield many valuable insights into the impact of the latter on welfare, and Kerry Westwood (2001 vacation scholar) who talked on the ‘Effects of cage size, space allowance, environmental enrichment and their interactions on behaviour, stress, immune function and welfare of laboratory mice’; work she has undertaken as part of her PHHSC supported PhD.

UFAW would like to thank the staff at Bristol University who helped in the organisation of the meeting and all those, including the vacation scholars, who made the day such a success.

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Promoting Alternatives in Animal Research
- Three Rs 50th Anniversary Marked by UFAW

Cover Animal Welfare

The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) has marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the study by UFAW Research Fellow Dr William Russell and his assistant Mr Rex Burch which led to the development of the ‘Three Rs’ principles (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement), now guiding the use of animals in scientific procedures throughout the world. A special issue of the UFAW scientific journal Animal Welfare has been published, including a review by Professor Russell, The Three Rs: past, present and future.

The outcome of the UFAW study by Bill Russell and Rex Burch was the concept of the ‘Three Rs’ as set out in their book, published in 1959, The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. The principles of ‘Replacement, Reduction and Refinement’ have been adopted throughout the world as the key guiding principles in the humane use of animals in research, and are now incorporated into the legislation and regulations of many countries, including the UK, and the European Union. They have stimulated a great deal of work into finding replacements of the use of live animals with non-animal methods and procedures, into seeking ways of reducing the numbers of animals used and into refining experimental methods, animal housing and care to minimise risks to welfare.

There is a growing number of organisations involved in developing and promoting this work, including the UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research set up by the government in 2004, and the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) which, with others inspired by the Three Rs, continues to render obsolete increasing numbers of animal based procedures. The number of animals used in research in the UK is now roughly half what it was 30 years ago.

UFAW continues to promote research and application of the Three Rs as an important part of its work - through its programme of research awards, educational activities, working groups such as those run in collaboration with the British Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Fund (BVA AWF), the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) and the RSPCA, and through the provision and dissemination of information and advice.

The charity focuses particular effort in Refinement which, while extremely important for welfare, is often less well-supported than the other Rs. UFAW established the Pharmaceutical Housing and Husbandry Steering Committee (PHHSC), for example, in 1998 - a coalition of industry and welfare organisations which funds research into improving and enriching housing and care for research animals.

"UFAW’s scientific journal Animal Welfare has been an important vehicle for promoting work in the Three Rs," said UFAW Chief Executive and Scientific Director Dr James Kirkwood, "and it is fitting that a special issue should mark their 50th anniversary. Not long after starting the project, Bill Russell gave a presentation at the UFAW AGM in 1955 in which he said of his study ‘I believe it is also one of immense promise for the welfare of large numbers of animals, and I can only hope that its outcome will be as gratifying to look back upon as the other achievements we have heard about tonight’.

"In view of its undoubted profound impact for animal welfare, we hope that Professor Russell does find it duly gratifying to look back upon his project. We are delighted to have published his review of the Three Rs past, present and future as the introductory paper to the special issue of Animal Welfare."

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Improving Zoo Primate Welfare:

Paignton Zoo wins 2005 UFAW Wild Animal Welfare Award

2005 Wild Animal Welfare Award

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has received the 2005 UFAW Wild Animal Welfare Award for their work with Colobus monkeys. The Wild Animal Welfare Award is made annually by UFAW in recognition of innovations that aim to improve the welfare of captive wild animals or which alleviate or prevent harm from human activities to animals in the wild.

The presentation of the 2005 Award was made on behalf of UFAW on November 15th at Paignton Zoo by Dr Miranda Stevenson, the Director of BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums). Dr Robert Hubrecht, Deputy Director, represented UFAW.

Paignton Zoo Research Associate Dr Vicky Melfi received on behalf of the Zoo a cheque for 1000, a plaque to put up by the Colubus enclosure and a certificate. Her work involved training individual Colobus monkeys to take fruit juice from syringes, so providing a more welfare-friendly method of delivering medication.

Dr Melfi’ study looked at the impact of training on the welfare of Colobus monkeys. The results showed that training as part of the husbandry regime made for healthier animals and had no adverse effect on natural behaviours. It meant staff could perform routine health checks and deliver medication without having to catch and tranquilise individual animals.

Dr Vicky Melfi said "Our results showed that training Colobus monkeys at Paignton Zoo led to significant welfare benefits. It is important to remember that different species may respond differently, so more research in this area is vital. This project was highly collaborative, involving science, mammal and veterinary staff at the zoo."

The judges considered her work to be important to the advancement of zoo animal welfare, describing the project as "A model of how to apply science to a practical issue."

Dr James Kirkwood, UFAW’s Chief Executive and Scientific Director, said "What stood out about this application was their rigorous and well-thought out approach to a practical problem that they had encountered with their Colobus. Not only did they identify that training the Colobus would improve the health of the animals by facilitating regular veterinary inspections, but that it also presented an opportunity to collect information about the impact of training on the welfare and behaviour of the animals. Such information is a valuable addition to the on-going debate about the role of training in improving captive wild animal care."

The money from the award will be used to support further research at Paignton Zoo and contribute towards the cost of hosting a second mammal training workshop for other zoo professionals.

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UFAW makes three major research awards totalling over a quarter of a million pounds

In addition to various project grants and other awards, the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare has recently made three major research awards, totalling in excess of a quarter of a million pounds:

UFAW Hume Research Fellowship

Thanks to the generous support of its members, UFAW has been able to fund a second Hume Research Fellowship. This prestigious international award is given to promising animal welfare scientists near the start of their research career. The Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Johanneke van der Harst at the Utrecht University. Dr van der Harst will use the award to develop a new method of assessing the internal mental state of animals based on their behaviour prior to receiving a positive stimulus, such as food. If successful, the research might be used to develop better welfare assessment tools for the assessment of the welfare of animals on farms, zoos or even in the home.

UFAW Animal Welfare Research Training Scholarship

UFAW research training scholarships are given to outstanding graduate students who wish to study for a PhD in Animal Welfare. Fish welfare is often neglected, perhaps because there has been disagreement as to whether they are capable of feeling pain. Nonetheless, we exploit fish in many ways that might result in suffering. Moreover fish are increasingly being used in research, for example environmental monitoring. Further research on the capacity of fish to suffer is needed so that appropriate safeguards can be drawn up. Ms Jessica Mettam, under the supervision of Dr. Lynne Sneddon, plans to study this issue together with the effect of fish analgesics so that any pain caused during husbandry or experimentation can be more effectively relieved.

UFAW Pharmaceutical Housing and Husbandry Steering Committee (PHHSC) Research Studentship

The PHHSC was established by UFAW in 1998 to encourage research into the development of practical refinements for the use of animals in research. This year as a result of the very generous support of the PHHSC member organisations, we have been able to award the 4th studentship to Ms Anjanette Harris working under the supervision of Dr Susan Healy at Edinburgh University, is to support research into the effects of enrichment of housing on the quality of scientific work involving rodents. Work in this field is of crucial importance in helping to generate world-wide implementation of better welfare housing and husbandry regimes in research using animals.

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UFAW SAWI Fund sponsors animal welfare conference in Israel

Recently, UFAW sponsored the 10th Annual ‘Animals & Society’ Conference: Animals in Society: Status, Perspective and Awareness, which was held at Tel Aviv University in July 2005. With over 600 delegates from a variety of fields, topics discussed ranged from ethical and legal approaches to animals, through discussions of how to improve animal welfare in agriculture and industry and how to construct positive attitudes to animals among children and adults, to the different approaches taken by other countries and what can be learned from them.

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