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14th Animal Welfare Student Scholars’ Meeting 2012

scholar writingWednesday 5th December 2012

Animals Department,
Harper Adams University College,
Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB

The annual Animal Welfare Student Scholarships proved another popular draw this year. Kindly hosted by Harper Adams University College, a large crowd of students and staff from Harper and other institutions listened to an excellent series of presentations on the work carried out by those who had been awarded a scholarship in 2012. Amongst those presenting were two scholars from the Austrian University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences – Bernhard Schwed and Verena Grössbacher – one of the universities that form part of the UFAW link scheme.

A wide range of subjects were covered in the talks including ‘Assessing and reducing transport induced stress in horses’ and ‘Retrospective analysis of bovine caesarian section clinical outcome data’. The quality of the work and the talks was, once again of a high standard. This was typified by Alice Fodder’s study (Newcastle University) on the humanness of argon as a method of rodent euthanasia. The new European Directive on the use of animals in scientific research, which came into force in January, has for the first time included argon as one of the acceptable techniques for euthanasia but Alice’s work shows that rats find argon aversive. More importantly, they find it significantly more aversive than the currently commonly used CO2, indicating that argon should not be the first choice euthanasia agent in rats. Dr Claire Richardson also presented some of the findings of the work she carried out as part of her Three Rs Liaison Group doctorate on ‘Refining research procedures by assessing distress in laboratory rodents’.

Thank you to all the student scholars who presented their work and those who attended. Particular thanks are extended to Dr Mark Rutter and Dr Louise Buckley (herself a previous recipient of a student scholarship in 2003) for their enthusiastic support for the meeting and efforts on UFAW’s behalf. They were much appreciated.