From our range of extra curricular student activities to our animal welfare conference, AWF is supporting the next generation of animal welfare advocates

Before AWF was set up in 1983, animal welfare was not on the veterinary curriculum nor recognised as a topic worthy of research. We bridged this gap by establishing the Colleen McLeod Chair of Animal Welfare in Cambridge in 1986. This resulted in Donald Broom becoming the world’s first Professor of Animal Welfare, paving the way for many more animal welfare educators to follow in his footsteps – there are now about 40 animal welfare professors in the UK, and around 300 in the world.

In 2003, AWF established animal welfare lectureships in Bristol, Glasgow, and Liverpool Universities and worked towards integrating animal welfare into the veterinary curriculum. AWF lecturers, David Main, Jennifer Duncan and Dorothy McKeegan, worked together to develop a new framework for animal welfare teaching in the UK. Each post covered slightly different, but complementary, aspects of welfare: applied welfare assessment and improvement; quality of life assessments; and epidemiology/bio-security. The four-year lectureship project became permanent in 2008 with the determined support of all three universities, laying the foundations for animal welfare to become a key part of veterinary education.

Thanks to AWF’s £1M investment into the chair and lectureships, a generation of vets has qualified with a deeper understanding of animal welfare.

Today, we continue to support the next generation of animal welfare advocates aiming to educate and inspire students to become future leaders in animal welfare. We do this by offering free student talks, free downloadable case studies and evidence-based guidance to support veterinary professionals in their work.

Finally, we provide free animal welfare advice resources for owners, approved by vets on a variety of topics including euthanasia, poisons, exercise and puppy purchasing.

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  1. Meet the speaker: Meghan Barrett

    … Meghan Barrett is assistant Professor of Biology at Indiana University Indianapolis & Director at the Insect Welfare Research Society. She researches insect neurobiology, thermal adaptations, and the welfare of […]
  2. Meet the speaker: Jo Hockenhull

    … Jo Hockenhull is an animal welfare researcher with a particular focus on the influence of human perceptions and attitudes on decision-making and welfare. She currently is Head of Research […]
  3. April is National Pet Month!

    As we celebrate #NationalPetMonth, AWF’s team shares facts about their beloved furry (and sometimes feathery!) companions, as well as some welfare advice. You will find below some key facts and […]
  4. Health and welfare over looks

    Extreme conformation refers to breeding practices that result in exaggerated physical traits in animals, often at the expense of their health and welfare. … Nearly 40% of veterinary professionals in […]
  5. AWF presents at BVA Council

    … This morning at BVA Council, AWF Chair of Trustees Julian Kupfer presented one of the most innovative and significant research projects funded by AWF. The research project, called “Pandemic […]
  6. 3 common mistakes when applying to an AWF student grant

    Since launching the Student Grant Scheme in 2016, AWF has invested over £75,000 in student research projects, from exploring imported rescue dogs’ health and behaviour issues to investigating the impact […]
  7. Meet our student researchers: Victoria McCulloch

      … Although not a student anymore, Victoria McCulloch benefited from the AWF Student Grant Scheme back in 2017 when she was studying veterinary medicine at the University of Edinburgh. […]
  8. 3 reasons to become an AWF student grant supervisor

    Our 2024 Student Grant Scheme, which aims to give students in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing, animal welfare studies, agricultural sciences, zoology or social sciences the opportunity to develop their research […]
  9. “Is calf welfare good enough?”

    On Thursday 19th October, AWF hosted a though-provoking debate on calf welfare at BCVA Congress as part of a new initiative, the “BCVA Forum”. Despite notable progress in calf welfare, […]
  10. Meet our student researchers: Tobias Hunter

    … University of Liverpool student Tobias Hunter  focused his AWF research project on “Importing overseas rescue dogs: An investigation into issues seen in UK veterinary practice”. … Q: Tell us […]