Student Talks

AWF offers free talks on animal welfare to students of veterinary medicine and nursing. This year talks are being offered virtually and can count towards EMS at some universities – please contact your EMS co-ordinator to confirm. 

We will organise a speaker and provide up to £200 for refreshments so that students at your school can learn more about animal welfare and prepare themselves for the challenging issues they might face in practice. 

The talks are usually followed by a Q&A or a debate and are delivered by speakers with a wealth of experience in their field.

Topics available:

Dangerous dogs: it’s complicated!

This talk will cover signs of aggression, who and why dogs might bite and how aggression may be prevented. We will also cover the Dangerous Dogs Act and other legislation surrounding dangerous dogs.  The talk will finish with a case study to start discussion on how the issue of aggression might be handled in practice.

Puppy Farming

This talk will cover different aspects of puppy farming, including: definitions, numbers, locations, legislation, the consequences of puppy farming, and what actions are needed to help tackle the issue. The talk will also include a case study around identifying and dealing with suspected cases of puppy farming in practice.

How to respond to requests from clients for the euthanasia of healthy companion animals

Depending on the speaker this talk may cover: definitions of euthanasia, potential reasons for euthanising an animal, how to manage the process, ethical considerations from the perspectives of different stakeholders (animal, owner, veterinary staff, wider society), and alternatives to euthanasia.  This will be followed by a selection of interactive case studies about euthanasia in practice.

Sheep are not stupid

This talk will cover research into sheep behaviour, as well as examining welfare indicators and human behaviour that affects sheep wellbeing.

Is farm animal welfare being overlooked in favour of production?

The efficiency of UK livestock production has doubled over the last 30 years, with larger herds and flocks producing greater volumes of meat milk and eggs from the same number of stock. But in this drive for agricultural productivity, has the welfare of farm animals suffered? What role should vets have in livestock farming in the 21st Century? And how can veterinary professionals help farms achieve sustainability without compromising welfare.

Welfare at slaughter

This talk will cover the welfare of animals on farm and during transport, processes at slaughterhouses, welfare during slaughter and different methods for stun and non-stun slaughter.

When should the farm vet reach for the gun?

This talk will consider the different conditions in farm animal species which might require euthanasia, the different methods of euthanasia, and what might be the most appropriate method depending on the animal and condition.

A Jump too far: the ethics and welfare of using horses in sport

This talk will look at the equine industry with particular focus on British horse racing, the design of horses and what it means for them as performance animals, the role of the vet in providing high quality and immediate veterinary care, and how the ethical questions surrounding horse racing might affect the vet involved.

The welfare of exotic pets

Hoarding is not kindly shelter – a variety of cases of animal hoarding




  1. “All in all an excellent talk which I’d highly recommend to anyone who wants a knowledgeable speaker with a wealth of experience and advice to impart to future vets.”

    How to respond to requests from clients for the euthanasia of healthy companion animals with Liz Ormerod at Edinburgh University.
  2. “The talk proved extremely popular with a huge turnout of around 120 students and not a seat left unfilled in the theatre. It was a brilliant evening that incited some really thoughtful questions.”

    Dangerous Dogs with Chris Laurence at Liverpool University.
  3. “We are very grateful to AWF for facilitating the talk – it’s excellent to be able to offer additional talks at the vet school from external speakers about topics that are not ordinarily covered, thus widening education and interest.”

    Sheep are not stupid with Kate Hovers at Cambridge University.
  4. “Excellent presentation with an effective slideshow and images to aid and support understanding of topics. Clear and confident and engaging. Jacqui was really approachable and lots of people came and spoke to her after the talk. ”

    Exotic Vet in Practice with Jacqui Paterson at Liverpool University.

How to set up a talk:

Our speakers get booked up quickly so we encourage you to give us at least two month’s notice and provide a selection of dates.

  1. Book your talks using the form below.
  2. AWF will set up a speaker and send a marketing pack to help you publicise your event.
  3. Give us your feedback! Organisers should collect feedback from the attendees and send us a report after the event.
  4. Organisers will be offered a free ticket to the next AWF Discussion Forum, which takes place in London in June.


Useful documents:

Student feedback form

Organiser Report Form

Claim form for refreshments

Our student talks are being accepted towards EMS at some universities – please contact your EMS co-ordinator to confirm. 

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