Experts from across the nation and overseas are launching Australia’s first-ever national tertiary animal welfare and ethics project. The United Kingdom's Emeritus Professor John Webster, a pioneer of animal welfare science, was part of the collaboration to develop the One Welfare portal – an online, interactive resource, which has brought together all the veterinary faculties in Australia and New Zealand.
“This has been a truly national collaboration involving animal welfare scientists who are leaders in their fields.”
Experts from across the nation and overseas are launching Australia’s first-ever national tertiary animal welfare and ethics project.
Leading animal science expert, the University of Bristol's Emeritus Professor John Webster, is among international and local experts who have helped develop the One Welfare portal – an online, interactive resource being launched today – which has brought together all the veterinary faculties in Australia and New Zealand.
Leading author Professor Webster is a key proponent of the Five Freedoms. Developing the framework from a call for basic rights, such as the ability to stand, stretch and lie down, to a proposal encompassing a stress-free environment and enabling the expression of normal behaviour through conditions that avoid mental suffering.
“There is a growing expectation as society is increasingly relying on animals for consumption and even companionship, that we have a responsibility to do this in a more humane manner,” Professor Webster said.
To improve animal welfare across Australia and remain abreast of emerging issues, a consortium led by the University of Sydney applied to the Australian Government’s Office of Learning and Teaching for funding for what has become the One Welfare portal.
“This has been a truly national collaboration involving animal welfare scientists who are leaders in their fields,” said the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science Professor Paul McGreevy, the chief investigator for the project.
Among the resources that the portal now boasts are: dozens of veterinary scenarios showcasing ethical dilemmas; a validated online reflection tool for students to use on annual basis to assess their views on animal sentience; a custom-built online debating tool called Chatterbox™; more than 300 essays on animal welfare science and an app (doglogbook) that has been developed for dog owners to report their dogs' day-to-day activities and help veterinarians assess the animals' quality of life.
Australian and New Zealand veterinary schools have been participating in workshops from Monday 30 November through to Wednesday 2 December at the University of Sydney as part of the One Welfare program.
Participating universities in the One Welfare program comprise: University of Sydney; University of Queensland; Charles Sturt University; University of Melbourne; University of Adelaide; Massey University; James Cook University and Murdoch University.