AWRN Funded Workshops 2016/17
The vision of the AWRN is to foster enhanced collaboration and cohesion within the animal welfare research community, with a view to increasing successful grant-funded research and promoting the impact of outputs from research. As an important strand of its activities, the AWRN will fund two or three workshops each year by means of an annual competitive call for AWRN members to bid for funds of up to £2,000 per workshop.
The aims of the network, and of the workshops, are to stimulate discussion between members, including providing training and information exchange, and to provide the opportunity for interaction with relevant industry, researchers in other disciplines, and other stakeholders, to identify research gaps and potential future research areas. The workshops may provide a forum for discussion of research activities, engage with industry and other stakeholders regarding animal welfare research, enhance the development and training of researchers, support early career researchers, or undertake other activities that clearly further the aims of the network.
The 2016/17 call opened in June 2016. Successful workshop applicants were:
MEASURING POSITIVE WELFARE
Professor David Main (University of Bristol), Professor Cathy Dwyer (SRUC), Dr Marie Haskell (SRUC), Dr Siobhan Mullan (University of Bristol), Dr Jessica Stokes (University of Bristol)
This proposed AWRN workshop would provide a unique opportunity for welfare scientists in the AWRN to directly contribute to animal welfare policy. Bristol & SRUC are currently collaborating on a Scottish Government funded project aimed at identification of possible positive welfare measures that could be used by farm assurance schemes for dairy cattle and sheep. The project has been funded as the industry is keen to measure aspects of positive welfare alongside more negative parameters that have been included in farm assurance schemes ( e.g. AssureWel project). The Bristol / SRUC collaboration is an 18 month project which is due to finish in Summer 2017, involves a literature review, dairy farm focus groups, pilot testing on farms and stakeholder policy forums.
The workshop will aim to evaluate the validity, feasibility and reliability of existing positive welfare measures and to define priorities for future research This AWRN workshop will enable other welfare scientists not directly involved in the project to become involved, to understand the potential application of welfare assessment and to inform the UK farm assurance scheme policy process.
UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF ECONOMICS IN ANIMAL WELFARE ASSESSMENT AND POLICY DESIGN
Professor Dominic Moran (SRUC), Dr Luiza Toma (SRUC), Dr Taro Takahashi (University of Bristol & Rothamsted Research), Dr Bouda Vosough Ahmadi (European Commision DG Joint Research Centre (JRC) & SRUC)
This one-day workshop aims to explore the use of key economic concepts in the supply and (measurement of) demand for animal welfare. We will explore how concepts can be integrated with welfare science and the gaps that handicap the development of national and international welfare policy. The workshop will bring together invited welfare scientists, economists, industry and government stakeholders to develop a common picture of the latest developments in economic research of relevance to animal welfare research and policy development.
Recent “grand challenge” rhetoric provides a contemporary entry point to consider how we can include welfare status and its value in economic calculus of farm productivity. The grand challenges narrative has emphasised sustainable intensification (SI) and resource use efficiency to increase productivity while minimising harmful externalities. Managing animal welfare is implicitly included as an important externality, but there is a clear tension between some forms of agricultural intensification and implied welfare status (e.g. large housed animal production).
There is also a knowledge gap in terms of how we should incorporate animal welfare into other indicators of social wellbeing including the ecosystem services framework and adjusted measures of (national) growth. The latter begs further questions about cross-country progress with respect to the ‘supply’ of animal welfare and the varied status of the demand structure (or willingness to pay) for high welfare.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE MEDIA AND PRESS
Katja Stoddart (AHDB), Dr Jenny Gibbons (AHDB), Dr Mary Vickers (AHDB)
There is a gap in addressing the needs of welfare researchers to communicate scientific and technical information. This workshop will ensure welfare science is better understood and used by all relevant stakeholders.
The morning session will include topics such as why scientist involvement in communication of animal welfare science is valuable, connecting with your audience, making the most of the media and digital media. In the afternoon, there will be choice of up to three breakout sessions options: 1. writing about science, 2. making the most of the media, 3. Putting research into practice and measuring impact. Breakout session 1 and 3 will be specifically targeted at early career researchers whereas breakout session 2 will be targeted at experienced researchers (at least 8 years post-PhD).
We will draw on the pool of expertise from the AHDB press, communication and digital teams to deliver components of the workshop. The team are experienced in delivering media training to staff and farmers.
At the end of the workshop researchers will be able to elegantly deconstruct, define and communicate their science to scientific and non-scientific communications alike, and to effectively address animal welfare challenges under the media spotlight. There will be resources available to take home (e.g. making the most of the media – an easy guide).