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13th Animal Welfare Student Scholars’ Meeting 2011

cat writingWednesday 7th December 2011

University of Cambridge,
Department of Veterinary Medicine,
Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ES

Whilst it is an exaggeration to say that the sun shone on those who attended this year’s animal welfare student scholarship, certainly the balmy conditions were a world away from the snow of the previous year. An audience of sixty of so listened to a very interesting and diverse range of high-quality talks, from dental pain in captive Sun bears to the immunological response to canine atopic dermatitis. Amongst those presenting were two previous scholars: Dr Louise Buckley (VS2003) of Harper Adams University College who, in addition to reporting her work on trying to unpick the food choices of hungry broiler breeders – those hens who have to have their food intake restricted to ensure that they are able to produce the next generation of meat birds, also brought along a minibus of her students to experience the day. The other, Rowena Packer (VS 2008), talked about some of the work she has carried out as part of her on-going doctoral research at the Royal Veterinary College investigating whether dog owners of brachycephalic breeds, like bulldogs, recognised the clinical health signs of breathing distress in their dogs, caused by their shortened muzzles. (A: They do as an abstract issue but tend to downplay it in practice in their own pet, regarding it as ‘normal’).

This year the prize for the scholar who travelled furthest to attend the meeting went to Randy Do, student at the Canadian UFAW link university, the University of Guelph. Randy discussed the impact on mortality rates of providing food and water to the shrew Soricomorpha soricidae, live-trapped as part of an on-going survey of small mammal population levels in the Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. She found that whilst provision of water did not reduce over-night mortality rates, provision of food, in the form of mealworms, did.

Thanks to all the present and previous scholars who talked at the meeting who helped to make the day so enjoyable, and to those who attended and provided a receptive audience. Special thanks too to Dr David Williams and the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge for hosting the meeting and making all so welcome. These free meetings are open to all, so if they sound of interest why not come along to the 2012 meeting (see UFAW website for further details or email Dr Stephen Wickens wickens@ufaw.org.uk)