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University LINKs Scheme

Unitec New Zealand (New Zealand)

Dr Caralyn Kemp
Environmental and Animal Sciences
Email:  ckemp2@unitec.ac.nz


Animal welfare seminar series

Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand (LINK Dr Kris Descovich / Caralyn Kemp)


With support from the UFAW LINK scheme, Unitec ran the first of what they intend to be a series of animal welfare seminars in 2018. These seminars gave students the opportunity to hear about a range of animal welfare research and initiatives being conducted in NZ and were well attended.

The seminars covered the following topics:

·       August 2018: Dr Karen Stockin (Massey University) Marine mammal strandings: Welfare and conservation

·       September 2018: Debbie Busby (Evolution Equine, UK) Behaviour matters. Understanding the importance of behaviour in assessing and assuring companion animal welfare

·       October 2018: Dr Alison Vaughan (RNZSPCA) Potty training cows. The future of dairy farming?

Specific LINK support was used to cover expenses associated with the Debbie Busby’s talk. Debbie, who is a UK clinical animal behaviourist was in New Zealand to speak as a keynote for the New Zealand Companion Animal Council and Unitec took the opportunity to have her speak as part of the series, and covered the cost of her extending her stay in Auckland in order to do so.

Dr Descovich thanked UFAW for supporting this initiative, which she said  ‘….has allowed us to extend our student’s knowledge of animal welfare science and strengthened our relationships with animal welfare scientists within NZ.’


The following paper was possible thanks to the UFAW-Link fund, which supported the work of Ashley Keown.

AJ Keown, MJ Farnworth & NJ Adams (2011): Attitudes towards perception and management of pain in rabbits and guinea pigs by a sample of veterinarians in New Zealand, New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 59:6, 305-310.

To read this article please follow this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00480169.2011.609477


Unitec student Ellen Schubert received money from the UFAW link scheme in support of her project into the provision of care for rabbits in New Zealand and reasons for their adoption. A synopsis of this study can be found here.

Megan Young was supported to investigate the impact of plastic pollution on the welfare of wild seabirds was supported. A short communication detailing her findings can be found here.

We were lucky enough to receive a public lecture from Professor Alistair Lawrence in his whistlestop tour of the Antipodes. Student and public reaction was overwhelmingly positive and the lecture "Animal Welfare: Who cares and what do we do about it?" successfully brought together both specific research and major economic, environmental and ethical concerns which impact upon the field. It served to remind students that no scientific field stands alone and also to revitalise and embed their years of learning about Animal Welfare Science. It also had a small dose of celebrity affirmative action.