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University LINKs Scheme

Estonian University of Life Sciences (Estonia)

Dr David ArneyDr David Arney,
Institute of Veterinary Medicine & Animal Sciences
Email: david.arney@emu.ee


The UFAW link scheme recently supported a ’Back to school’ project for students at the university. Students returned to their schools to give talks on animal welfare subjects that they were particularly interested in. The schools ranged from primary schools to an agriculture vocational college, and the students included a PhD student and a first year veterinary student.

The feedback was that the talks were well received and successful, the students enjoyed doing them, and the schools were very pleased too. The talks addressed a range of subjects, see below, including the keeping of dogs as pets, animal welfare problems ecountered in intensive farming systems and fish tagging and conservation.




Katrin Tähepõld

Torma Põhikool

Keeping dogs as pets

Epp Üleväino

Hugo Treffneri Gümnaasium

Experience as a volunteer at an animal shelter

Anni Nool

Põlva Ühisgumnaasium

Problems in intensive farming (in terms of animal welfare)" (classes 10-12) and "Animal protection and welfare" (classes 7-8).

Nadezda Savtsenko


General animal welfare

Kaisa Velström

Tallinn school no. 21

Zoo welfare

Marko Kass

Lüllemäe Elementary School

Agriculture and welfare

Triin Merisalu


Farm animal welfare and food quality

Oksana Burimski

Tartu Vene lütseum

Fish tagging and conservation

A report written by Kaisa Velström for the university newspaper can be found here, on page three: http://www.emu.ee/userfiles/Ajaleht%20Maaylikool/2011/14aprill2011%20veebi.pdf

A translation of which is as follows:

Talk on the subject of welfare in Zoos to schoolchildren in Tallinn, Estonia.

I recently visited Tallinn School no 21 to talk to elementary school children on the subject of “Zoos in the 21st century”. I gave an overview about the birth of zoos and their development through time, giving them some interesting facts from the past and from today.

I started to get more interested in this subject when I got a chance to participate in a project with European Minks (Mustela Lutreola)  in Tallinn Zoo.

It is important to emphasize the need of zoos in today`s world. I explained to them how zoos are working each day to improve and enrich the living environment of the animals at the maximum level possible. The resources that are needed to keep the animals from boredom and stress. This contributes to improvement of their overall welfare and the attempt towards providing them with as natural environment as possible.

One of the most important aspects is of course the maintenance of the genetic pool and ideally the restoration of a viable number of the species in situ.

I gave examples through history of how it has been managed to rescue some species from extinction. I tried to give examples from different zoos in the world and to explain that a zoo is not a place where animals are kept in captivity just for the fun of it.

I got the idea to give talks on animal welfare from my previous lecturer, David Arney. He also introduced me to the work of UFAW (Universities Federation for Animal Welfare) which is an independent registered charity that works to develop and promote improvements in the welfare of all animals through scientific and educational activity worldwide. UFAW promotes and supports developments in the science and technology that underpin advances in animal welfare. It also provides information, organises symposia, conferences and meetings, publishes books, videos, technical reports and the international quarterly scientific journal Animal Welfare. In 2009 I received an endowment from UFAW to participate in a conference in London- “ Primate Stress: Causes, responses and consequences” ( Primate Society of Great Britain). Overall, over time, I have come to feel more and more interested in animal welfare.

Kaisa Velström
4th year veterinary medicine student ( Estonian University of Life Sciences) 2011


Student from Estonian University of Life Science will visit Sri Lanka to cure dogs.

Finnish third course veterinary student, Saara Hiippala, has received a stipend from Great Britain to cure homeless dogs in Sri Lanka.

I have been in Asia several times and wanted already, before going to study in Tartu, to go there to study homeless dogs, “ said Saara Hiippala. As there was a possibility to apply for this stipend, the young lady seized this.

At first she was looking for suitable clinic from Thailand and then from Bali, but finally she found in Sri Lanka a rescue centre, where homeless dogs with the parasitic disease ehrlichiosis were cured.

Dogs can acquire this disease from ticks, and if this disease is diagnosed at an early stage, it is curable with antibiotics during first month. If it is discovered later, the disease will usually end in death.

“In western countries it is possible to perform all necessary laboratory analyses to detect this disease, but in Sri Lanka it is difficult to diagnose, because it is possible there to use only microscope examination,” said Hiippala.

“I want to study possibilities for easier and more reliable diagnosis,” said Hiippala.

She was awarded a scholarship worth 1600 € from the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare for this project.

The purpose of this scholarship is to encourage students to develop their skills in animal welfare research, explained David Arney, who is Associate Professor in the Estonian University of Life Sciences, in the Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences.

“It is the second time that a student from the Estonian University of Life Sciences has received this scholarship. This indicates high level of our students and increases our international reputation,” said Arney.