Animal WelfAre Research in an enlarged Europe
AWARE will increase the European research capacity in FAW activities, through integrating the underutilized human and knowledge potential in the new and candidate countries. The project will result in faster and more comprehensive FAW knowledge transfer across Europe. It will also build for the future by drawing young scientists into FAW research and providing a base for harmonized implementation of FAW legislation in the enlarged EU.
VYZKUMNY USTAV ZIVOCISNE VYROBY V.V.I. UHRINEVES
€ 188 213
Marek špinka (Dr.)
Sort by EU Contribution
€ 30 816
UNIVERSITAET FUER BODENKULTUR WIEN
€ 55 158
UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
€ 73 990
€ 43 067
USTAV BIOCHEMIE A GENETIKY ZIVOCICHOV SLOVENSKEJ AKADEMIE VIED
€ 59 920
INSTYTUT GENETYKI I HODOWLI ZWIERZAT POLSKIEJ AKADEMII NAUK
€ 59 385
INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE
€ 69 458
€ 74 044
SLOVENSKA POLNOHOSPODARSKA UNIVERZITA V NITRE
€ 119 626
Ss. CYRIL AND METHODIUS UNIVERSITY IN SKOPJE
€ 99 510
€ 40 392
UNIVERSITY OF ZAGREB-FACULTY OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
€ 21 667
STICHTING WAGENINGEN RESEARCH
€ 64 681
Grant agreement ID: 265686
1 March 2011
28 February 2014
€ 1 157 610
€ 999 927
VYZKUMNY USTAV ZIVOCISNE VYROBY V.V.I. UHRINEVES
Cooperating to improve farm animal welfare
Grant agreement ID: 265686
1 March 2011
28 February 2014
€ 1 157 610
€ 999 927
VYZKUMNY USTAV ZIVOCISNE VYROBY V.V.I. UHRINEVES
Final Report Summary - AWARE (Animal WelfAre Research in an enlarged Europe)
The EU funded project AWARE project (KBBE – 265686) started in March 2011 with the main aim of developing sustainable and actively expanding Europe-wide networks of farm animal welfare scientists, farm animal welfare university lecturers and students, and stakeholder platforms active in farm animal welfare knowledge transfer and implementation. It did so in 4 steps.
First, AWARE mapped the current situation in the areas of welfare research, education and societal awareness. The research ‘map’ was completed by 126 respondents in 29 different countries across Europe. In addition 98 educational centres and 210 courses in 36 countries were identified and described. The survey on stakeholder views yielded answers from 51 participants from 17 countries in South and Eastern Europe. These results were the basis for the next steps.
In the second step, AWARE actively promoted networks of institutions and experts on animal welfare. It organised 17 so called ‘Road Shows’ in 14 Eastern European countries with an attendance of more than 1,000 people. It subsequently organised 2 dedicated workshops for scientists and educators, in May 2012 in Bratislava and in October 2012 in Athens. Also in 2012 AWARE co-organized a workshop at the 46th Congress of the ISAE in Vienna and a special session at the 64th EAAP meeting in Bratislava. The project supported participation of 45 Eastern European researchers at the ISAE Regional Meeting in 2013 in Skopje. Four meetings of Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) were organised in the Eastern regions of Europe (Baltic, East Central, Eastern Balkan and Western Balkan). The different RAC stakeholders discussed animal welfare issues on regional level. Finally, a ‘Mobility Desk’ was set up to bring job seekers and job offers together.
The third step strengthened the skills of researchers and lecturers from the new and candidate EU countries through their involvement in specialized workshops. Two workshops to write research proposal for EU grants were organised. AWARE also established several exchange visits between pairs of universities in East and Western Europe with similar research and teaching profiles. The RAC’s met with representatives of pan-European platforms (FVE, DG SANCO, OIE, RSPCA, Copa Cogeca, and UECBV) in workshops in Belgrade, Prague, Tallin, Istanbul and Ohrid. At these meetings, European information campaigns and training materials were presented and discussed.
Finally, the project set out to describe future strategies to support pan European collaboration on animal welfare. The main conclusions are that: A) a relatively limited budget can significantly support the networking between different countries, especially through linking regional activities to existing pan-European platforms and through initiation of twinning activities B) the European animal welfare reference centres proposed by the Commission are likely to further promote the growing collaboration across Europe. C) there is a substantial amount of good quality animal welfare educational material which should be shared across Europe. D) current and future teachers need to be given the opportunity to develop their own skills in animal welfare education. E) there is need for additional financial and expert advice to support Eastern European countries to further develop research and project participation. F) improvements in animal welfare require social changes that can be facilitated through strategies in education (at general, vocational and university levels), communication (between stakeholders groups and by sharing best examples across borders) and policy (by applying tailored policy improvements cycles). G) to promote mobility of scientists and students regional structures should be used, visibility of resources in the more Eastern European countries increased, and open tools for potential applicants and institutes provided.
Details regarding all of these conclusions are presented in the final report of the AWARE project.
Project Context and Objectives:
Background to the project
The Protocol on Protection and Welfare of animals annexed to the EC Treaty by the Amsterdam Treaty obliges the European Institutions to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals when formulating and implementing Community legislation. EU citizens have expressed a growing appreciation for high farm animal welfare standards as animal welfare can have both a direct and indirect impact on food safety and quality. However, there are marked differences between states and between geographical regions in the general perception and understanding of farm animal welfare as well as in the feeling of being able to influence animal welfare through the willingness to pay, the informed consumer choice and through political and societal (e.g. NGOs) means.
Parallel to this, there are clear differences and often also substantial gaps in farm animal welfare research, education and legislation implementation. While the differences can be employed to achieve mutually enriching cross-fertilisation, the gaps need to be bridged because they hamper transnational collaboration, obstruct the participation of scientists from the enlarged EU and candidate countries in Community funded research on animal welfare and slow down knowledge transfer. Uneven quality and quantity of research and education may hamper the understanding of European values and scientific knowledge that underlies the EU animal welfare policies. Uneven implementation of animal welfare legislation undermines the real impact of the common policies. As research, education and information clearly support each other in the field of animal welfare, the most effective way to bridge the gaps, to utilize the differences for mutual enrichment and achieve an integrated European farm animal welfare policy is to address the three aspects simultaneously. In this project, we aimed to achieve this integration through specific actions to incite immediate Europe wide collaboration in farm animal welfare research, educational activities, information and implementation, thus seeding durable working networks of people and institutions that will spread the effects across research institutions, academia, state bodies and society. In parallel, the same activities will also create a network of resources that will multiply the opportunities for knowledge transfer and synergies utilization.
Objectives of the project
The AWARE project had one main goal: to develop sustainable and actively expanding Europe-wide networks of farm animal welfare scientists, of farm animal welfare university lecturers and students, and of stakeholder platforms active in farm animal welfare knowledge transfer and implementation.
It undertook to achieve this through each of these areas in separate Work Packages (WPs): farm animal welfare research (WP1), animal welfare university education (WP2) and animal welfare awareness and implementation (WP3). These three areas mutually supported and strengthened each other, thus increasing the impact of the project. The specific objectives for each of the WP’s were:
Work Package 1: To promote animal welfare research in new member states and candidate countries and to improve the integration of this research in an enlarged Europe
Work Package 2: To stimulate collaboration and cross-fertilisation in university education in farm animal welfare across Europe, thus enhancing the opportunities for young scientists in new and candidate countries to start research careers in farm animal welfare.
Work Package 3: To enhance awareness, knowledge, acceptance, and implementation of EU animal welfare policies in an enlarged Europe, and in particular in the new and candidate countries.
Work Package 4: To support mobility of students and researchers active in farm animal welfare across Europe through a dedicated Mobility Desk.
The WP’s in AWARE did not work in isolation from each other, in fact they each ran in parallel and in four subsequent, yet overlapping main steps. First, AWARE mapped the current situation in farm animal welfare research, education, awareness and implementation across Europe. As part of that, it redefined a previously developed help desk (the Mobility Desk) aimed at connecting people looking for employment in animal welfare with institutes that offer positions in this field. Based on the mapping information, AWARE facilitated and actively promoted networks of institutions and experts that are active in animal welfare research, education and implementation in an enlarged Europe. The Mobility Desk connected employers and potential employees through its promotion of vacancies on animal welfare. Thirdly, the AWARE team aimed to strengthen the skills of researchers and lecturers from the new and candidate EU countries through their active involvement in specialized workshops and courses. Finally, AWARE set out to develop open networks of resources and information platforms in farm animal welfare science that will enhance information transfer and further improve networking ability and provide networking possibilities for farm animal welfare scientists, lecturers, students and professionals across the enlarged EU and candidate countries.
Each of these four steps and their outcomes are described in the following paragraphs of this final report. It will conclude with general conclusions and recommendations towards the main goal of AWARE: to develop sustainable and actively expanding Europe-wide networks on farm animal welfare.
AWARE step 1: Mapping science, education and stakeholder involvement in Europe
The main aim of this first step was to get an overview of research institutions and higher education establishments dealing with animal welfare or related fields. It also provided information on the distribution and detail of animal welfare relevant educational and research activities, and it identified regional differences in funding, involvement in international networks, and type of research and education in various parts of Europe. Regarding stakeholder involvement this step aimed to provide the baseline information needed to identify the strengths and weaknesses in animal welfare information and resources in south-eastern Europe.
The objective of the Mobility Desk in this first step was to provide updated information for students looking for a host institution and for training opportunities. This task used the information provided by the surveys done by the WP1 on the research resources, and by the WP2 on the education resources. Also the design of the Mobility Desk tools developed in a previous project (Framework 6 IP ‘Welfare Quality®’) was checked and revised with sections added on educational background and research interests.
Step 1 Activities
The mapping of farm animal welfare research and education was accomplished during the first 12 months of the project. We use the term ‘mapping’ here to indicate our focus on the geographical distribution of institutional research and education activity in animal welfare. Data were collected by distributing a link to a web-based questionnaire to project partners and potentially relevant other institutes in all EU member, candidate and associated countries. The aim of the initial pilot questionnaire was to establish contacts with the potential survey participants from universities and research institutes. A link to a second electronic questionnaire was sent to these participants. Research and education questionnaires were sent separately to the relevant institutes.
The research questionnaire focused exclusively on farm animal welfare research, asking for detailed information about the type or research, number of personnel involved, funding, laboratory and animal facilities, and research priorities of that institute.
The education questionnaire focused on farm animal welfare courses at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels in veterinary medicine and animal science programmes of the European universities.
In a separate process, a stakeholder questionnaire was designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses in animal welfare information resources in South-Eastern Europe. It was send to active participants who were identified as stakeholders in the process of implementation of farm animal welfare policies in different regions of Eastern Europe.
All questionnaires were distributed and communication with external participants maintained through the regional structure of AWARE. The structure consisted of eight geographical regions, each having one hub institution that coordinated AWARE activities in the region.
The Mobility Desk questionnaires for institutes offering positions and for potential candidates for vacancies were updated during the first 6 months of the project. Both questionnaires were hosted on the INRA website / server, with a link on the AWARE site.
Before publishing the questionnaires on the website of the AWARE project, they were validated on a sample of students and potential host partners of the AWARE project.
The Mobility Desk opened to the public on February 2012 with access to the “job offer” questionnaire to encourage research institutions to fill in and to send job positions (Month 10, Deliverable D4.2). The access to the self-evaluation questionnaire was opened in a second step (Month 12).
The self-evaluation questionnaire was originally aimed at applications for a PhD or Post-doctoral position. In order to broaden the scope of the mobility support, a simplified questionnaire was developed for young researcher looking for a short term mission (<6 months). The processing of this questionnaire could be achieved within a shorter time.
From the surveys conducted by WP1 and WP2 in the mapping phase of AWARE, data were extracted to build two tables: one with the list of the institutions and research groups willing to host, the second one with the list of farm animal welfare courses. Both tables summarised the main information on research topics and training/courses, with the contact details. For developing new collaborations, updates of the database and the contact points was necessary. The updating was done by AWARE hub leaders who collected the data at national and regional levels.
The two tables were uploaded on the external AWARE website on Month 13 and 18 respectively, accessible by a link in the webpages of the Mobility Desk (Table of potential host institutions and Table of education resources).
Step 1 Outcomes
The research questionnaire was completed by 126 respondents of which 52 were from the Eastern hubs (Baltic 5, East Central 18, East Balkan 23 and West Balkan 6) and 74 from the Western hubs (Mediterranean 22, West Central 20, North West 19 and Nordic 13). The responses revealed differences between the Eastern and Western hubs, but also within the group of the four Eastern and four Western hubs. The largest differences between the Eastern and Western hubs were in funding. A relatively large proportion of respondents from the Eastern hub, working or interested in farm animal welfare research, especially from the Baltic and Western Balkan hubs, did not have funding for such research. There were also differences in the degree of networking and the number of active collaborations, and involvement in (for example) the ERA-Net scheme, all of which were lower in the Eastern hubs. Most of the respondents expressed their interest in further activities aiming to improve this situation.
Although the education questionnaire did not manage to reach all countries and all educational institutes, it is still probably the largest study of university level animal welfare education to date (36 countries, 98 educational centres and 210 courses that deal at least partly with farm animal welfare).
There was an uneven distribution of education in animal welfare, with the Nordic and North West Europe regions dominating in number of hours of teaching. There did not seem to be regional differences in the topics (welfare assessment, legal issues of farm animal welfare, ethology, stress physiology and ethics).
There also seemed to be good possibilities for exchange of students and teaching experiences as many courses are taught in English, within a limited block of time. There did seem to be some tendencies for the education in West Central Europe to be ‘traditional lecturing’ i.e. didactic compared with the more ‘interactive’ North West European method of teaching using problem solving approaches which are student rather than teacher-based. The results of this questionnaire have been written up as a scientific paper and accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Animal Welfare (Illmann et al., 2014: Mapping farm animal welfare education at university level in Europe. Animal Welfare, in press). The information in the database collected during the questionnaire survey is available on the server of the SUA partner for future studies and will be available through the AWARE website as long as the site is active.
Due the considerable regional effort, the response rate for this survey was a considerable 60 %. The lack of a response from a university or college may reflect a lack of interest in animal welfare education. Therefore it is possible that the mapping covered more than 60% of the institutions with focused involvement in farm animal welfare education. A better return rate was achieved when AWARE collaborated with the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe regarding animal welfare education only within veterinary schools. A second scientific paper based on the AWARE survey and focussing on animal welfare in the veterinary education is in preparation (Ilieski, V. et al. A survey of education in farm animal welfare for veterinary students throughout Europe. In preparation). A third paper will address the relationship between data collected in the research and education questionnaires.
The total number of participants that took part in the stakeholder survey on information resources was 51. The participants responding to the survey came from 17 different countries in South – Eastern Europe and the participants were representative of different stakeholders in their countries. The spread of stakeholders represented three main categories: from academia, government and from non-governmental organisations such as animal welfare groups and veterinary organisations. The study indicated that questions remain whether, in terms of improving animal welfare and creating awareness in society, legislation per se and ‘alone’ will be sufficient. Rather, there is a need for all stakeholders to take steps in education and information transfer. The results also provided evidence of the type of stakeholder institutions and their level of involvement in the process of introduction and implementation of legislation. In Eastern European countries and candidate countries, the competent authorities, veterinary organizations and farmer associations are the stakeholders which were found to be the most involved in animal welfare policy, whilst producers were found to be ‘moderately involved’ and retailers were currently the least involved. This was because animal welfare was not seen as an economical or priority issue. NGOs are active to a various degree and have different focus in different regions of Europe. In some countries main activities of NGOs are related to companion animals including stray dogs (e.g. Balkan countries and Turkey) leaving less room for farm animal welfare activities. In some countries (e.g. Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia) NGOs campaign actively for higher awareness in the society about farm animal welfare standards, sometimes in collaboration with pan-European platforms such as Compassion in World Farming. The predominant activity of the stakeholder associations is in implementation, i.e. in creation, development and enforcement of legislation. However, at the national and regional levels, there also seems to be increasing activity promoting awareness about animal welfare, e.g. in areas such as education of consumer’s organizations and education of children. According to the participants of the survey, the most common methods for achieving this were through professional support via veterinarians, training activities and events, publications, Internet, brochures, leaflets and media.
Step 1 Future actions
Future actions in research. The results of mapping were published at several AWARE public events and on international scientific conferences (further details available at http://www.aware-welfare.eu/aware/46037/5/0/60). An important outcome of mapping was the database of contacts without which the further AWARE activities would not have been possible. A link to this database which is published on the AWARE web also provides a tool which could facilitate future networking, by enabling researchers to find potential project partners according to their research interest. Further funding would be necessary to keep the database updated after the end of the project.
Future actions in education. The difficulty for the AWARE education mapping, and for any future surveys, is the large variation in how education is organised across the different countries and centres and within different educational programmes (veterinary, agriculture, biology etc). This experience, that it is very difficult to design a questionnaire that is clear for everybody, emphasises the need for personal contact to help ensure that the answer that is finally given best reflects the intention with the question. Future surveys could consider using methods used for curriculum mapping (e.g. Bell et al, 2009: Getting started with curriculum mapping in a veterinary degree program, J Vet Med Educ. 36(1):100-106. doi: 10.3138/jvme.36.1.100) which are particularly useful to define objectives of course and quality assurance when welfare is being taught in several different courses. The technique has been used for the veterinary curriculum of several veterinary schools.
It is likely that within veterinary education, because it is a professional qualification, there will be continued tracking of the animal welfare education for example by the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe and the European College of Animal Welfare Ethics and Law. This would not be the case for courses taken within other programmes which lead to students working with animals, e.g. agriculture, biology. Such university students should have a basic understanding of animal welfare as they are destined to be the industry leaders and teachers of the future. A greater awareness of the importance of animal welfare would be beneficial in the future for the improved implementation of the EU Acquis on animal welfare. Therefore there is a need for monitoring as a minimum at national level of non-veterinary courses for animal welfare to ensure availability of expertise for animal keepers.
Future actions in awareness and implementation. The AWARE survey indicates that the activities aiming to influence the awareness of society and implementation of animal welfare legislation in eastern European society, can be developed in two directions;
• Practical implementation. i.e. transfer of knowledge and best practice especially in relation to small and medium farms and industries. These activities are related to work with farmers groups, industry veterinarians, and industry stakeholders who have the most prominent position with regard to capacity for changing the husbandry routines on farms. In this way, implementation of already accepted animal welfare legislation will be facilitated.
• Socio/economic measures to improve the awareness of society and to create an all wider ‘community’ of acceptance of changes associated with the implementation of animal welfare. Specifically, increases in the awareness of consumers, and work with retailer to promote ‘welfare choices’ in animal products can lead to positive changes in farm animal welfare.
Future actions in mobility. The databases were publicly available on the frequently visited Mobility Desk module of the AWARE web page. Future updates of the databases could be organised at regional level and collated, for instance through the planed network of European reference centres on animal welfare issues. European academic platforms such as UFAW or global scientific communities with established region structure, such as International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) could support such activity.
AWARE step 2: Promoting collaboration by creating links across countries
The main aim of this second step was to generate interest in farm animal welfare research and university education with people in Eastern Europe who work in related disciplines. This step also stimulated the development of personal and professional links between scientists, educators and stakeholders in different parts of Europe.
The Mobility Desk aimed to support the development of these links and contribute to the exchange of scientific and teaching personnel across Europe.
Regarding the stakeholders in the animal welfare debate this step aimed to establish Regional Advisory Committees to a) promote the implementation of animal welfare legislation in new Member States, and b) to stimulate the development of Europe-wide networks of stakeholder institutions.
Step 2 Activities
Several activities underpinned this second step. AWARE organised so called ‘Road Shows’ in Eastern European countries, it set up workshops for scientists and educators, it held satellite symposia in collaboration with other international organisations, it installed Regional Advisory Committees to allow stakeholders to discuss animal welfare issues on regional level, and it operated the Mobility Desk to bring job seekers and job offers together.
A total of 17 road shows in 14 countries were organized, with an attendance of more than 1000 participants. There were 6 road shows organized in the Western Balkan (in Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia Herzegovina), 6 in the Eastern Balkan (3 in Turkey, 1 in Greece and 2 in Romania), 4 in the East Central Europe (in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic), and 1 in the Baltic hub (in Estonia).
Half-day seminars consisted of presentations on the concept of animal welfare and how to measure it, with examples from current successful research programmes, as well as teaching animal welfare at undergraduate and graduate level. Specific topics of interest related to animal welfare in the country and region where the roadshow took place were included to ensure the roadshows were relevant and engaging. These presentations were supplemented by reports on the current situation regarding farm animal welfare research, education and implementation by representatives of the host region or country. A database with contact data of researchers and lecturers interested in the upcoming AWARE activities was established.
AWARE organized two workshops for research leaders and educators, the first one on May 31 – June 1 2012 in Bratislava, Slovakia and the second one on October 4-5 2012 in Athens, Greece. At the workshop in Bratislava participating the delegates came from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, while at the workshop in Athens participants came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. Most of them had previously attended regional road shows. The programme of both workshops had a similar design. They were aimed at scientists on the first day, and educators on the second.
The first day, aimed at research leaders, started with an introduction of the AWARE project and its possibilities. After that the programme allowed the participants to introduce themselves and their institutions. The third part of the programme was devoted to European experts speaking about current research and future trends in the field of farm animal welfare. A combination of lectures on fundamental research as well as more applied on-farm topics was presented. The fourth part of the first day was dedicated to project proposal writing and management. This information was complemented by the experience of successful participants of the European animal welfare projects from the given region. The last part of each workshop consisted of a general discussion with all participants and speakers on improving the involvement of the corresponding regions in European farm animal welfare research. Further details of workshop leaders are available from http://www.aware-welfare.eu/aware/46043/5/0/60.
Day two was titled ‘Lecturers helping lecturers’ and started with an initial introduction followed by a short update summarising the results of the education mapping exercise. Experienced lecturers then gave presentations covering methods of promoting student interest and engagement in the subject, how to introduce ethical considerations to the curriculum, and how to evaluate whether teaching has improved student knowledge or changed their attitudes. Work in smaller groups focussed on specific aspects of developing an outline curriculum for a short course in farm animal welfare, and the outcome was then discussed in the entire workshop. A final wrap-up discussion led to an exchange of information about where existing materials and media could be obtained to support farm animal welfare teaching and to new connections between the workshop participants
Together with other EU-funded animal welfare related projects (AWIN, ANIHWA), AWARE organized in 2012 a workshop at the 46th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) in Vienna, Austria and a special session on ‘Animal welfare research and education in an enlarged Europe’ at the 64th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Bratislava, Slovakia. In 2013 AWARE presented its activity at Behaviour 2013 congress in Newcastle-Gateshead, UK.
AWARE also supported participation of researchers, especially from the Balkan and East Central European regions, at international scientific meetings related to animal welfare. The most significant was the Joint East and West Central Europe ISAE Regional Meeting initiated by AWARE and co-organized by the ISAE on October 9-10 2013 in Skopje, Macedonia. Three invited plenary lectures, 23 oral presentations and 9 posters were presented during the two days of the conference. The meeting was attended by 66 participants from 17 countries, and out of this total, 41 participants were from 8 Balkan countries. To fulfil the mission to bring applied ethology and animal welfare science closer to the researchers from the Balkan region and the researchers from the East Central part of the Europe, both ISAE and AWARE provided travel grants for students and researchers to attend this meeting.
In total, AWARE supported participation of 55 researchers from the countries belonging to the Eastern hubs of the AWARE project. Further information about the satellite symposia are available at http://www.aware-welfare.eu/aware/46047/5/0/60.
Regional Advisory Committees
The network of RACs was an interdisciplinary platform where stakeholders met researchers and educators from educational and research institutions. This benefited the farming, commercial and state stakeholders as well as provided very useful dialogue and interaction for the educational institutions. For the stakeholders it was perceived that the main benefit was to create links with institutions capable of providing them with essential instruction, guidance and support in how implementation of legislation can be performed in the most effective way. There were also clear benefits for the educational institutions in their involvement in the process of structuring core curricula so that they meet the needs of the stakeholders.
The Regional advisory committee (RAC) structure consisted of 4 Eastern hubs (Baltic, East Central, Eastern Balkan and Western Balkan) in corresponding countries with the presentation of different stakeholders (farmers, veterinarians, NGOs, veterinary officers, educators). During the lifetime of the project, four different meetings with RAC members were organized. For further details of membership of the RACs see Deliverables 3.2 at: http://www.aware-welfare.eu/aware/44986/5/0/60
The meetings organised with RAC members were used to present the database developed on the AWARE web site: http://fvm.ukim.edu.mk/aware. Presentations were seen as a tool for access to information on training materials aimed to increase animal welfare awareness, and practical information aimed to promote animal welfare, as well as information on existing initiatives such as conferences, online information, paper publications, campaigns, and training initiatives. The cooperation of members of the Western Balkan regional advisory committee and invited stakeholders from the regions was sought, to encourage active participation in establishing the database. The main priorities of these meetings were to develop recommendations for ‘best practice’ (as opposed to basic legal requirements) especially in the development of information resources compiled from sources obtained through contacts in the network of RACs.
The Mobility Desk
The services of Mobility Desk were freely available to potential applicants and hosting institutes from outside the partnership of the project. Access to the Mobility Desk personnel was through the completed questionnaires. The joint analysis of the self-evaluation and job questionnaires by the Mobility Desk aimed to help the hosting institute in their choice between applicants matching their wishes, from a report done on each application on the strength and weakness of the skills and motivations taking into account the expectations of the position. The final selection was made by the institute.
The webpages of the Mobility Desk were published in Month 13, with new links and new information added over time. New information was also regularly advertised on the home page (in the “news” part and through the social network Twitter).
The information on the Mobility Desk was disseminated widely through various means. An announcement letter of the opening of the Mobility Desk and a fact sheet encouraging people to use the Mobility Desk and to send hosting proposals were sent by email to contacts identified in the surveys on research and education resources (from WP1, WP2). It was also sent to the hub leaders of the AWARE project and was forwarded to their regional contacts. The heads of the European Networks involved in animal welfare and animal production (ISAE, UFAW, FAO, AWIN, WQNetwork, French websites AgriBEA and SFECA) were also sent the details to ensure a large dissemination. The announcement was also published in the newsletters of all websites contacted. In addition, the functioning of the Mobility Desk was presented in conferences related to the AWARE project (annual meeting in Warsaw 2012, research Leader conference in Bratislava may 2012, roadshow in Warsaw March 2012) and in international conferences (ISAE Vienna July 2012 and Florianopolis June 2013, EAAP Bratislava August 2012). A banner has been also added to the home page of the AWARE project. We obtained the agreement of several networks (ISAE, UFAW, AWIN, FAO, AgriBEA), to add to their websites a web link to the Mobility Desk. The number of visits to the WP4 webpage between December 2012 and February 2014 was 28 % of all the AWARE pages visited (with the exception of the home page of the AWARE project), so it was in the range of about 60-80 visits per month.
Step 2 Outcomes
Each of the specific tasks described in the previous section (road shows, workshops for research leaders, satellite symposia, regional advisory committees) helped the participants to build professional networks in a particular way.
Road shows. The road shows were highly successful in raising the profile of farm animal welfare research in countries with little tradition in this field. Interest in applied and fundamental research was demonstrably high, and new connections and personal contacts were formed between participants.
The general experience of the road shows was very positive. It was a way of reaching teachers and students, in their own cities and/campuses, who would not normally have travelled to attend such presentations. Knowledge exchange took place in both directions though, with the AWARE team learning much about the different political and economic backgrounds underpinning farm animal welfare in the new and acceding member states. The impact of these roadshows was very obvious in the interest in the subsequent workshops, but it probably had a wider ‘ripples in the water’ impact.
Workshops. The road shows and workshops for research leaders that formed part of the AWARE project were successful in engaging that participants and displaying the range of farm animal welfare research undertaken in Europe, through highlighting results from completed studies. Many participants were not previously aware of the range of farm animal welfare research undertaken and so brief portraits were presented. The ideas and the instructions received at the workshops for research leaders in Bratislava inspired some AWARE partners to submit new national research projects, such as the project concerning the assessment of horse welfare by the Polish partner.
Although often knowledgeable about specific aspects of animal welfare science, it was found that many participants of the Lecturers-helping-Lectures lacked knowledge of how to present a balanced overview of animal welfare, for example when building a course curriculum, and little experience of modern pedagogic approaches to enhance student learning. The workshops identified a need for future activities to develop teaching animal welfare and to facilitate future sharing of knowledge. Participants agreed to create an email list for lecturers interested in education in animal welfare, listing also people’s areas of knowledge for teaching and their teaching experience. They agreed to work to expand the network by making the list open to others not at the workshop, and to create a website to profile the network and to link this network to other existing networks.
Adjoining workshops for research leaders and lectures-helping-lecturers events proved useful and confirmed the synergy effects of promoting both research and education aspects of farm animal welfare at the academic institutions of south-eastern Europe.
Satellite meetings helped to disseminate the AWARE ideas of more Europe-wide collaboration in field of animal welfare in the scientific community. Travel grants to international meetings and especially the regional ISAE meeting in Skopje provided an opportunity to young scientists from the Balkan region and East Central Europe to meet and exchange ideas with scientists from the other European countries. It also further supported the networking within the region.
Regional advisory committees: At the meetings, members of regional advisory committees and representatives of pan-European platforms discussed the current situation with regard to animal welfare in their regions from different perspectives. First, they addressed different aspects of compliance with EU Directives such as: practical difficulties, costs and access to resources necessary for implementation. They also considered the future activities associated with the EU Strategy for Animal Welfare. These requirements were explored through creation of an ‘expression of needs’ for training materials for stakeholders. The regional committee members concluded that the biggest gaps between western and eastern European countries are in the education of citizens, especially in their role as consumers, and also for retailers in relation to adoption of animal welfare as part of their buying and sales strategies. Additionally, gaps were identified in the awareness of veterinarians and farmers. It was considered that this situation was due in major part to the introduction of EU animal welfare legislation in the process of accession of Eastern European countries to the European Union, without sufficient support for the changes in attitude and experience, and for consumer information, choice and their expectation.
The meetings recommended that priority should be given to consumers and retailers and that they should be encouraged to take part in discussions about educational activities in animal welfare so that consumers were realistically informed about biological bases of animal welfare requirements for each farmed animal species. Promotion of “animal welfare-based” products would be desirable.
Consumers are seen as key ‘actors‘ in the evolution of animal welfare, therefore they should have sufficient information to make responsible choices when buying. Consumer demand could provide economic incentives to the business sector and so (potentially) to create better levels of animal welfare. Consumers´ organisations could be also educated about animal welfare issues in the context of better quality of food and sustainable food production. Retailers are seen as key in providing communication between farmers and consumers therefore they should and could be involved in almost all steps of welfare marketing campaigns. Retailers, which include animal welfare in their corporate social responsibility schemes, should be recognized for their marketing and promotion of higher welfare products.
Mobility Desk support for host institutions and mobility applicants
Contacts with host institutions. The Mobility Desk published on the website 16 PhD, post doc and research positions offered by universities in 9 different European western countries. When contacted by the Mobility Desk, the hosting institutes were always interested in the questionnaires and the help proposed. However, just 6 of these institutions fully went through the Mobility Desk process until their job questionnaire was filled.
Promoting the improvement of the application and the dissemination of information for young researchers
Contacts with mobility applicants. The webpages of the Mobility Desk helped applicants looking for a position through six successive steps. These included clarifying their professional plan (Step 1), offering access to the AWARE database on research institutions willing to host applicants (Step 2) and to the database with training resources (Step 3). Furthermore, Mobility Desk communicated with the applicants about possibilities to get financial support (Step 4) and about administrative issues for going abroad (Step 5). The final Step 6 included filling in the self-evaluation questionnaire:
In total, this help was provided to 42 applicants (24 PhD or post doc and to 18 Short Term Mission). Twenty two of them fully completed the self-evaluation questionnaire. The applicants came from 13 different European countries, including 7 countries from the four eastern hubs of AWARE, namely Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, FYR Macedonia, Romania and Slovakia. There was a lot of interaction between the Mobility Desk and young researchers, in different steps of the procedure of securing mobility as described in steps 1-6 in this paragraph. Few of the students and the young researchers interacted with the Mobility Desk in all the six steps. Nevertheless, in most cases applicants finally found a position for themselves by direct contacts with institutes. Four applicants looking for a Post Doc and 2 for a PhD (1 Estonia, 1 France) were engaged in the follow-up by the sub-contractor.
Satisfaction of applicants. The satisfaction level of the applicants determined by both self-evaluation questionnaire and phone interviews was high. Applicants found the help useful for defining their motivation and their career expectation, and for identifying strengths and weaknesses in their applications. They also liked the information on the webpages on the financial support.
Support for additional twining through mobility
Based on the successful Twinning activity organized by Work Package 2 (see deliverables D2.3 and D2.5) the individual AWARE partner organizations were encouraged to extend the twinning activity. Help in finding suitable twining partners was provided both by the AWARE Mobility Desk through the established databases and through the regional hubs structure of AWARE. Within a period of four months, another eleven successful twinnings were established. This success showed when enough information about potential partners is available, then small funding provided for mobility can start concrete research and teaching collaboration between previously non-linked institutions across Europe.
Step 2 Future actions
Future actions in promoting research collaboration. To encourage further active participation in animal welfare research, potential researchers need to understand the current forefront and emerging research priorities and opportunities for funding in this area. According to the AWARE experience, this could be achieved by workshops that presented the current and future research priorities of funding bodies (H2020, programmes by DGs, research councils, NGOs, industry and governments) combined with participation of successful individual researchers and research teams. This would allow new participants a view of work that they could engage with, rather than work that is completed. A second-generation of workshops should be themed both around important research questions (e.g. early life influences on farm animal resilience; pain and nociception) and around particular welfare problems (e.g. approaches to reducing mortality and feather pecking in free-range production) that are relevant across Europe but actively addressed in only a few countries. The specific topics could be agreed using the networks established by AWARE. Another way to maintain momentum is to organise satellite or regional symposia similar to those successfully accomplished in AWARE, preferably with support of existing platforms such as ISAE of UFAW.
Future actions in promoting education collaboration. Grass root actions could be taken to promote the inclusion of animal welfare in all animal science and veterinary programmes. More effort could be made to establish a culture among international visitors to universities to incorporate information on animal welfare education in their presentations in addition to their typical focus on animal welfare research. This could raise motivation to teach animal welfare as a high profile subject, since the target audience for research and education is likely to be the same. The high attendance at AWARE road shows confirms the importance of taking this message closer to home.
Futhermore, models of existing teacher support networks, such as www.noviceproject.eu in veterinary education could be multiplied for a similar network within agriculture or biological sciences. In some regions, an option would be to build upon a previously existing animal welfare network, e.g. www.welanimal.aku.edu.tr .
Future actions in promoting awareness and implementation. Some important conclusions from the meetings of the RACs were to provide better implementation and awareness of animal welfare legislation in the future by;
• Verifying the awareness and knowledge of consumers and retailers in animal welfare
• Comparison of best practices to raise animal welfare while reducing production costs
• Easy-to-use technologies, which could enable the improvement of animal welfare in the production process
• Identify the factors of production that have the greatest impact on animal welfare for each animal species (risk factors)
• Measurable indicators of animal welfare for each animal species, and an understanding of the regional variation related to the different aspects of practical farming such as farm size, level of intensification, external conditions such as climate
• Optimization of measurable factors of production for each animal species in terms of their impact on animal welfare
• Effective controls by supervisory bodies and transparent use of incentives and sanctions based on exchange of knowledge and experience among supervisory bodies
• Optimization of measurable factors of production for each animal species in terms of their impact on animal welfare
An ‘expression of needs’ for appropriate training and promotional activities in the region and in different countries was collected and presented, in order to prioritise the areas of interest. The conclusion on prioritization and quality assurance was that each country/region should develop a standard for how training materials should be selected in order to provide the most effective forms of education of stakeholders in the field of animal welfare. There was agreement that the organization of good training courses (incl. E-learning), creation of a team of qualified lecturers, organization of workshops, lectures, (webinar) conferences would be most likely to have the greatest impact. While regional prioritisation is important, a shared database of animal welfare training materials in Southeast European regions would be a very valuable resource. Therefore, a continuous support for the database established by the UKIM partner will be vital. There is continuous need for the training and educational materials to be expanded through
• translation (books, training materials, leaflets, fact sheets etc.)
• adaptation of translated existing European info-materials
• production of original training materials, e-learning courses and investigation
• the creation and running of a digital animal welfare library
• organising visits to high welfare farms and the production of video materials
Future actions in supporting mobility. It was clear that the individual modules of the Mobility Desk were very useful for young academicians seeking mobility opportunities from the Eastern hubs. However, the whole complex procedure from start to end was rarely used by a particular applicant. Therefore the future actions for mobility support in an enlarged Europe should be more open and flexible for utilization by blocks or tools, and linked to already existing and durable organizations and platforms. Bilateral collaborations between research or education institutes of the new and candidate EU countries, and institutes in the European Union already involved in animal welfare would be a way to encourage both partners to host and to exchange young researchers.
AWARE Step 3: Improving skills
The aim of this activity was for the researchers and university lecturers from the new member and candidate countries of the EU to develop skills in networking, developing international collaborations and preparing research proposals. In terms of mobility, the aim was to establish partnerships to facilitate short, medium and long term student and staff exchanges within an enlarged Europe and candidate countries. In relation to awareness and implementation, the aim was to bring important stakeholders in farm animal welfare (including national authorities, veterinary representatives, farmers, NGOs, food industry and retailers) into contact with well-established pan-European platforms. This collaboration aimed at promoting active current and future roles of the main stakeholder groups in enhancement of FAW in the recently accessed and candidate countries.
Step 3 Activities
Networking and proposal writing for international research projects
Two workshops took a ‘learning by doing’ approach. The participants produced an exemplar research proposal with a group of researchers with different skills, expertise and character (who were not very familiar to each other at the beginning). The delegates were invited according to their activity and participation in previous AWARE activities. During the first workshop (Brussels on 20 – 21 November 2012) the participants were provided with information on the animal welfare policies within EU as well as successful research programmes in the field. After the first meeting, clusters of 5-8 participants developed an exemplar project proposal according to the latest EU format. The proposals were evaluated by three reviewers. During the second meeting (Uppsala on 18-19 September 2013) the clusters presented their proposals and these were discussed in the light of the evaluators’ comments. Finally, the groups summarised what they had learned in the process. Moreover, ongoing research at SLU with examples of EU-funded projects was presented.
Partnerships between pairs of universities
The AWARE project established partnership agreements between pairs of universities with similar research and teaching profiles. This was done by a systematic process coordinated by the partner SUA. Through a step-wise selection, partner universities from the “old” 15 EU members states and from the new and candidate countries could find a well-matching partner, based on description of teaching and research activities in farm animal welfare. Of particular importance for the evaluation was the strategy for how the collaboration was expected to continue and be financed after the end of the AWARE project. A fixed amount of money was then allocated to each partnership to facilitate the start of the process to arrange the long term twinning according to their approved submitted plan.
While the twinning process was going on, lists of programmes and organisations that could potentially help in student exchanges in the future was created.
Identifying 'gap filling' resources for stakeholders
Stakeholders organised in Regional Advisory Committees (representing farmer’s unions, veterinary organisations, NGOs, state veterinary offices and consumer organizations) met with representatives of pan-European platforms (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, DG SANCO, OIE, RSPCA, Copa Cogeca, and UECBV) in the Workshop in March 2012 in Jastrzebiec and at the meetings organized in Belgrade, Prague, Tallin and Istanbul. At these meetings, European information campaigns and training materials aimed at increasing awareness and supporting promotion of animal welfare were presented., The Work Package 3 leaders used this opportunity to present the database established on the AWARE web site. The meetings provided an opportunity to prioritise the areas of interest for the development of future training materials based on regional needs. To achieve the most effective outcomes of the meeting, members of the RAC compiled existing animal welfare training materials collected from their region. Special attention was given to potential vocational training in relation to the implementation of animal welfare legislation. ‘Expressions of needs’ were collected for appropriate training and promotional activities in the regions which were summarised on the basis of national needs in different countries.
Step 3 Outcomes
Through the challenging but effective method of “learning by doing” participants of the proposal-writing workshops improved their networking and project writing skills. Participants indicated that the group work and the research plans described will likely have a long lasting positive effect and may lead to concrete new initiatives and collaborations. Some aspects of the proposals may serve for them as a core for real projects (national or international) in the field of farm animal welfare
Twelve partnerships between universities were fully established. The partnership included exchanges of teaching staff, under-graduate students, and/or PhD students as well as initial modules of research collaboration such as participation in specific experiments and planning of common projects. Another 11 twinning processes were initiated, mostly through short-term visits, during the last four months of AWARE. More detailed information is provided in deliverables D2.3 and D4.3.
The AWARE Database was established by the partner UKIM as an organized, comprehensive array of training and teaching materials including: examples (case studies) of high welfare farms in Europe; fact sheets and video footages from intensive farms, leaflets for public education and social network involvement
Step 3 Future actions
Future actions in promoting research and education collaboration skills. The project writing exercise proved to be an excellent form to strengthen skills needed for building consortia and setting up projects that can successfully bid for EU-funded research in the field of animal welfare. Therefore a similar format should be used in the future to teach these skills to PhD students and young researchers. Based on the successful twinning activity, AWARE encouraged its individual partner organizations to use the same pattern of starting further twinning activities which will be continuing beyond the end of AWARE. This additional ongoing task is described in the final deliverable D4.3 by Work Package 4.
Future actions in promoting mobility. The database established by the Mobility Desk based on the results of AWARE mapping will continue working (through links at the AWARE website) for finding suitable twining partners.
Future actions in promoting awareness and implementation. The networks of stakeholders established in the form of Regional Advisory Committees and their links to pan-European platforms, as initiated in AWARE, could continue working. This could happen either through reforming the RACs into advisory bodies to competent authorities or rather through turning them into informal bases for collaboration across stakeholder roles and across country boundaries, focusing on the regional awareness and implementation needs as identified by the AWARE actions in Work Package 3.
Areas of impact
One of the aims of the AWARE project was to develop strategies for sustaining the ideas of AWARE and to ensure a lasting legacy of this project. Therefore, the general strategy in AWARE was to generate such networks, skills and resources in the mutually supporting realms of farm animal welfare research, education and implementation that will continue to develop beyond the end of AWARE.
The following impact generating strategies were developed as outcomes of the project.
Area of impact 1: More Europe-wide networking in the field of animal welfare research
Making new bilateral contacts proved to be an effective way of stimulating collaboration. AWARE helped animal welfare scientists from the new and candidate countries to create contacts with colleagues from countries with established research in this field. Knowing each other facilitates building consortia when it comes to bi- or multilateral programmes, mostly funded by single member states. For example, based on contacts made during AWARE road shows a bilateral collaboration between Austria and Kosovo was established in the field of on-farm dairy cattle welfare assessment and improvement. Along the same lines a HigherKOS project, again funded by Austria, was initiated with an additional partner from Macedonia. One of the aims is to provide post-graduate training to young researchers from Kosovo in order to build up academic capacities in the country.
The successful twinning of universities was related not only to education, but also to research. Eight pairs of universities indicated that through being stimulated by the AWARE twinning programme, they have started initial steps in interest in joint research activities in field of animal welfare .
The greatest achievement of AWARE in the field of multilateral collaboration is the fact that the major part of the AWARE consortium was involved in the successful application for and realization of the DG SANCO funded project Coordinated European Animal Welfare Network in 2013 (EUWelNet). EUWelNet investigated the feasibility and usefulness of establishing a network of institutions having a recognised knowledge of animal welfare and independent of private interests to assist the competent authorities and the stakeholders in improving the implementation of EU legislation on animal welfare through targeted knowledge strategies. The consortium was built on two existing knowledge networks: the Welfare Quality Network and the AWARE project. The organisational legacy of AWARE in terms of regional structure worked extremely well for EUWelNet especially when data needed to be collected for which regional knowledge was crucial. The resultant consortium of 16 Universities and 10 research and technical Institutes from 16 different EU countries clearly demonstrated that a coordinated network of knowledge providers can work successfully together and deliver extremely useful support for the implementation of European legislation on animal welfare (e.g. with regard to the provision of appropriate manipulable material for pigs). In short, this brief pilot project provided firm proof of principle for a functional Coordinated European Animal Welfare Network. One of the main recommendations of this project is that the Coordinated European Animal Welfare Network could best work if organised as a network of regionally based Reference Centres. Thus, the principle of regional organisation that has its root in the hub structure of AWARE is proving to be a valuable output of the AWARE project that influences further development of the animal welfare policies in an enlarged Europe.
There are more examples showing that institutions from an enlarged Europe identified throughout their participation in AWARE activities were invited to join the EU projects international consortia. For example, Slovak partners of the AWARE project were invited to join the consortium of the project ANICARE, within the call FP7-KBBE-2013-7. Partners from outside the AWARE project consortium contacted them based on information found on Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS). AWARE partners were also invited to express interest to participate in a consortium that will apply for large H2020 research project. Similarly, AWARE partners now participate in a COST action proposal focused on monitoring of farm animal welfare.
A further way to improve involvement of less well-connected research institutions would be to hold Brokerage events which serve as a ‘market-place’ of ideas and contacts in the course of pending or future European/multilateral calls for proposals (see for example ERA-net Core Organic Plus Brokerage event on December 18, 2013, Brussels; http://www.coreorganic.org/Pages/partner_search.html).
Area of impact 2: Collaboration with international organisations
Collaboration with those international organizations whose agendas overlap with AWARE aims, was identified as a workable strategy of sustaining AWARE ideas, activities and functions into the future.
Particularly fruitful collaborations were formed with two such organizations. First, a number of joint activities were organized alongside the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE), thus confirmed joint interests. AWARE organized a workshop about its activities at the 46th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) in Vienna, Austria in 2012, later AWARE initiated and co-organized the Joint East and West Central Europe ISAE Regional Meeting in Skopje in 2013. For the first time was such an event organized in the Balkan region. In the same year, Anna Valros, Senior Vice-President of the ISAE participated at the AWARE Strategies workshop in Prague. Another example of collaboration with the ISAE related to research is the mobility desk (WP4), sharing employment opportunities with the ISAE webpage.
Following discussions with ISAE representatives, possible ways that ISAE can help in sustaining the legacy of AWARE include organizing an ISAE congress in the Balkan region. The possible future organization of this international scientific event in the Balkan region could affect positively research in this region, similar to the organization of the 31st International Congress, Prague, Czech Republic, in 1997, which stimulated development of animal welfare research in East Central Europe. Further activities of ISAE may lie in developing the Nordic region of ISAE to involve more participation from Baltic countries (Nordic – Baltic collaboration) and in extending the East Central Europe region which is the only ISAE region specifically covering countries of the Eastern Europe. All these activities will strengthen the scientific network both within Eastern Europe and with other research groups.
The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) is another organization with an overlap of its aims with the AWARE objectives. Meeting of our representatives proved the possible future activities sustaining AWARE mission. UFAW is willing to help maintain and build on momentum for developments in animal welfare science in the Eastern part of Europe. It intends to organize an international conference on Advances in Animal Welfare (alternatively a series of conferences) in 2015 in Zagreb, Croatia. Another exciting offer from UFAW is the possibility of inviting key animal welfare scientists from the AWARE network to become UFAW ‘Links’. Two potential UFAW ‘Links’ out of the AWARE partners have already been nominated. UFAW ‘Links’ on the one hand act as key contact in order to spread information on UFAW in the regional institution (e.g. distribution of reports and news-sheets, announcement of symposia) but on the other also benefit from a free subscription of the UFAW journal Animal Welfare and receive small sums of money to support animal welfare science related activities.
Area of impact 3: The use of internet tools for promoting AWARE ideas and results
AWARE used the Topshare (www.topshare.com) webtool for internal communication among the partners. This proved to be a very efficient tool for communication, sharing and archiving and reposition of data (minutes from meetings, meeting action points, deliverables etc.). Thanks to agreement between AWARE and the representatives of Topshare, this tool can continue with limited functionality for some time after the project ends. Another efficient low cost tool that proved to be effective way of communication between the network partners were the Skype teleconferences. The communication of AWARE partners via Skype can help to maintain links between partners after the project ends without special budget requirements. The first Skype meeting of (former) AWARE partners is planned for May 2014 and will discuss both the impacts of AWARE and the possibility to maintain a regular rhythm (e.g. every 4 month) of post-AWARE Skype meetings, e.g.to share informally possibilities for co-operations and funding possibilities.
The web page of AWARE can remain functional with relatively low expenses (domain registration fee and web hosting fee). However, renewal of its content is problematic without budget. The AWARE web page contains information about partners that can serve as a contact points for future activities. Freely accessible is also a database of contact people in the field of research based on the AWARE mapping. The content of this database enabling search for fellow researchers can help in facilitating networking. AWARE partner SUA will maintain the database however, it will be up-to-date for a limited extent only.
Area of impact 4: A pan-European platform for sharing existing curricula and education materials
AWARE contributed to promote the exchange of best teaching practices by supporting the development of skills and by exchanging materials.
1. Promotion of a sustainable exchange platform to help teachers further develop their animal welfare education skills.
Here the focus is on sharing experiences to promote and support teachers who are less experienced in animal welfare education rather than on sharing material. The sharing works both ways and the platform should be arranged to be beneficial to both partners. Experienced lecturers in animal welfare will benefit from becoming better informed about the animal welfare realities and husbandry practices. For the less experienced teacher the focus should be on the use of modern pedagogic methods applied to animal welfare examples that are relevant to their region or country and to their specific discipline.
2. Contribute in a constructive way to the coordination of freely available animal welfare related teaching material on a reputable long term platform.
The main way to do this is by using the large AWARE network to contribute to the reviewing process of material developed by others, or in other projects, and to helping translate some of this material. The main advantage is the diversity of the network and its strong academic grounding and experience of teaching animal welfare. The contribution will be most effective if its efforts can be targeted towards a limited number of monitored (objective) open access websites and there is no reason why this platform should not be global rather than European. This is presently much better organised within the veterinary area than in agriculture or biology. The network could also contribute to reviewing books and proof reading translations.
AWARE supported the exchange of specific examples, practical tips, group discussions or practical exercises that work well, and could be incorporated into courses. This repository of ideas for education in animal welfare, which are intended as an ‘inspiration’ for teachers, can initially be developed in collaboration with the ISAE and put on their website. ISAE is already involved in education in the broader area of applied animal behaviour.
Area of impact 5: Raising stakeholder awareness
A multi-stakeholder workshop was held on October 7-8 in Ohrid, Macedonia to discuss strategies on further support to increased public awareness and to smoother implementation of European animal welfare policies.
It was found important to create awareness among the widest possible spread of stakeholders. Also, it is crucial to establish, both at the local and the state level, communication between all the stakeholders involved in FAW implementation. A good example is the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) in the UK. These types of platforms are missing in south eastern part of Europe. It would appear to be very important to develop, foster and support the discussion process between stakeholders on the implementation and /or introduction of legislation. Further development of this collaboration should be strengthened not only during the process of adoption of legislation but also during of process of implementation.
To generate impact in relation to consumers, the potentially most effective action to promote their role in FAW implementation could be:
• raising consumer awareness through provision of accurate yet easy-to-understand information about EU FAW policies, their background and implication.
• stimulation of consumer expectations about the quality of animal produce including the FAW standards, thereby increasing the demand for high-welfare products.
• education of young people about FAW in school curricula, based on examples such as Tierschutz macht Schule in Austria
To generate impact in relation to farmers, the most productive support would be
• to provide training and vocational education (see below)
• to develop, with involvement of farmers, technical information how the individual provisions of FAW legislation are best implemented and provide it in accessible way for farmers
• use model farms as an effective way to demonstrate how things can be done and give support to farmers in showing examples of methods and processes
To generate impact in relation to competent authorities and state veterinarians, it would appear to be very important
• establish training through a vocational education curriculum, ideally shared, at least partially, with the farmers and producers
• establish communication platforms with farmers, consumers, and other stakeholders
• facilitate communication with competent authorities in other EU countries to share best examples of FAW legislation implementation
Area of impact 6: Policy advice
From outcomes of the workshops we can conclude that different situations and contexts within the EU mean that there is no single optimal policy instrument for the EU as a whole, but rather appropriate policy instruments should be selected according to the stage of development and Animal Welfare priorities of a country.
Policy advice scheme and instruments
Due to the wide variation it appears necessary to develop tailored welfare policy in each country such that the current problems of meeting minimum EU standards are resolved and the opportunities for higher welfare products are opened. This approach should take into consideration the economic development, environmental protection, social justice, cultural and religious values and animal welfare, as a whole, and will be defined by the country specifics.
Education is considered to be one of the major instruments for increasing animal welfare awareness. To create impact, the main objectives of any educational programme should be to create programmes resulting in educated professionals and informed members of society capable of responding to local animal welfare challenges and problems in ways which are in accordance with the EU regulations. Therefore a strategy for education on animal welfare could be developed, primarily focusing on the three main pillars:
• Academic education on universities to create knowledge centres about farm animal welfare. Work Package 2 of AWARE proposed possible actions to support development on this level
• Basic and continuing education of professionals, mainly in the form of vocational training, including education of animal owners and breeders
• Raising awareness in society through incorporation of animal welfare topics into general education as a part of life-long learning process. The policy implementation of the education should be focused on different objectives, levels and target groups. For instance, citizens and consumers may differ in the way of different actions regarding animal welfare.
Inspection and enforcement is another important instrument as inspection and enforcement of a regulation can be as important as its design. Overzealous enforcement can hinder a competitive economy and waste resources. Monitoring and inspections should be risk based and focused where the risks to society are greatest. The principles of good regulation require that all regulatory functions should be transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent, and targeted only at cases in which action is needed.
Another important instrument is the support for development of national and private higher welfare standards. The EU Acquis provides possibility for a Member State to have legislation and policies, which result in higher standards of animal welfare for animals and products nationally traded. Retailers may adopt such higher national standards and indeed some develop different standards. Trade between companies in new Member States, candidate countries and such companies would have to meet the higher standards. It is therefore important for each sector to consider the market opportunities for their products in setting the welfare policies for their sectors.
Policy improvement cycles
To maximise impact, the above policy instruments should be employed in policy improvement cycles. Using the policy cycle approach enables a more professional standard of developing, implementing, monitoring and revising policies. It involves government working with stakeholders to identify the issues to be addressed and to provide focus on the clear outcomes of the policy It is important that policies are evidence based and use the best available evidence, draw on sources of innovation inside and outside government and consider a sufficiently wide range of possible solutions. The policy improvement cycle should be based on monitoring of defined indicators (to assess outcome success). In addition, continuous measurement of effectiveness of the policy, verification of measures and possible amendment of the legislation should be an essential part of the policy improvement cycle.
Area of impact 7: Welfare strategies for the development of a pan-European platform for promoting mobility and hosting of young researchers
AWARE Mobility Desk provided an integrated platform that will promote mobility across Europe by helping applicants to build their application, by matching the application with the expectations of the institutions offering positions, by giving advice on administrative and financial issues of mobility and by offering databases of research groups and educational resources across Europe. The experience of running the Mobility Desk for two years is that despite multifaceted efforts to publicize it, this integrated system was not frequently used in its entirety. Nevertheless, the individual modules of the Mobility Desk proved very useful for the promotion of mobility across enlarged Europe. Based on the AWARE experience, as well as in other animal welfare related European projects and platforms, it was apparent that the mobility of farm animal welfare researchers in the enlarged Europe can be promoted using the following principles:
1. Use of regional networks and hubs to promote mobility
The contribution of the regional “hub” structure to the stimulation of mobility was very apparent during AWARE. The results of the mapping were a key resource on which the Mobility Desk activity was based. The Mobility Desk, in turn, contributed with newly acquired contacts and information to the success of the Twinning activity. The regional collaboration has also proved its natural strength in already existing platforms such as the global scientific society International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE). The ISAE regional structure is successfully used for regional activities such as meetings and symposia that promote mobility through bringing students and young researchers into contact with experienced scientists. AWARE collaborated with ISAE in organising the regional meeting in Skopje in 2013 where several links that resulted in the subsequent twinning activity were made. Bilateral and multilateral collaboration involving mobility also arose from other regionally based formal and informal platforms, such as the Western Balkans Veterinary Network, the Czech-Austrian KONTAKT programme, the tradition of the Czech and Slovak Ethological Society, collaborations of Baltic and Nordic countries in animal welfare science etc.
Therefore one future strategy for increased mobility among animal welfare researchers in the east of Europe is to utilize the existing formal and informal regional structure as well as to promote more such structures. One specific opportunity might be the planned European Network of Reference Centres for Animal Welfare. The recommendation by DG SANCO project EUWelNet is to organise the network on regional principle. A mobility desk affiliated to such a network could have the format of a network of regional contact points devoted to the promotion of mobility within and between the regions. The Desk could act as a location for students to identify a potential host institute, find information about financing and administrative conditions, self-check one own’s expectations etc, as it was possible in the individual steps of the AWARE Mobility Desk procedure.
2. Reinforce the visibility of the research and education resources in the more Eastern European countries
The AWARE Mobility Desk created research and education activity in work packages 1 and 2. The databases proved very useful for further activities of the Mobility Desk in the networking step of AWARE. The Slovak University of Agriculture (SUA), pledged to host the databases for at least the next three years and maintain them accessible through the AWARE website and links to them will be distributed to other websites thus creating a wide visibility especially in the Eastern countries. Eventually, the need for an extra visibility of the resources and research groups in the more Eastern countries may subside as farm animal welfare research and education become more integrated across enlarged Europe. Nevertheless, for the coming years the promotion of mobility through easily accessible databases of research labs and educational resources seems important.
3. Provision of tools for helping applicant and hosting institute to build their applications and their proposal
It was clear that the questionnaires developed in the Mobility Desk can be useful for applicant to assess the strength and weaknesses of their skills and motivation, and to think about their career (self-evaluation questionnaire). For institute willing to host it was useful to define clearly their expectations on the candidates (job offer questionnaire).
With the cessation of activity by the Mobility Desk at the end of AWARE, the solution is to make the questionnaire publicly available on the internet and to encourage the applicants to develop their own assessment. Hosting institutes with less experience in hosting international young researchers may take inspiration in the job questionnaire for better formulation of the job description and in the self-evaluation questionnaire for a more targeted evaluation of applicants A future network of animal welfare centres may also use these or modified questionnaires for the promotion of mobility between research groups within the European Research Area.
Assessment of AWARE impact by external participants
In order to assess the impact of AWARE activities on farm animal welfare activities of concrete people in the eastern regions of enlarged Europe, AWARE asked “external participants”, i.e. persons that actively participated in one or more AWARE actions but were not members of AWARE consortium for a structured feedback. Twenty people from 16 countries were asked to provide the feedback and 15 (from 12 different countries of the Eastern part of Europe) provided it, either as a presentation at the final AWARE meeting in Zagreb, or through email or phone call.
The main question was “In which way your participation in AWARE helped you in your farm animal welfare (FAW) activities, e.g. in your involvement in FAW research, teaching activities, practical activities in raising awareness and/or implementation of FAW policies?” The main answers can be summarized as follows:
Benefits in networking / professional contacts:
• AWARE served as an example of efficient networking and pan-European collaboration
• AWARE provided unique opportunity for meeting experienced and young motivated people involved in FAW activities, both from top EU universities and from “next door” regional AW knowledge centres
• AWARE initiated, through the twinning activity, intensive collaborative contacts between pairs of universities and research institutions across the East-West gap. Most of these paired collaborations involved institutions that were not members of the AWARE consortium proper
• The twinning in some cases had spill-over effects so that other departments from the same pair began collaboration
• AWARE action provided motivation to develop regional collaboration based on local farm animal welfare topics
Benefits in research skills and collaboration:
• AWARE provided very useful training in project writing by experienced researchers and team leaders
• AWARE provided understanding how cooperation is useful for animal welfare research and that this needs long – term planning
• AWARE Mobility Desk improved skills when applying for research position, gave advice how to profile yourself in the EU research community
• Based on the contacts with top animal welfare laboratories, department heads, deans of eastern knowledge centres got persuaded about the scientific value and practical importance of animal welfare research
• AWARE increased the motivation to initiate/participate in farm animal welfare projects at the home university
Benefits in education:
• AWARE stimulated lecturers to learn new teaching methods, especially those involving active participation of students
• AWARE brought lecturers into contact with international educational programmes
• The twinning activity enabled lecturers to contribute to courses at the other university
• AWARE enabled access to education resources
Benefits in implementation:
• AWARE facilitated contacts with people engaged in implementation of farm animal welfare policies at the European level
• AWARE facilitated contacts with people with similar roles in the implementation process who work in other regions of Europe
• AWARE stimulated contacts between representatives of different stakeholder groups within the regions
List of Websites:
The public website of AWARE is http://www.aware-welfare.eu
AWARE project coordinator
Department of Ethology
Institute of Animal Science
104 00 Praha – Uhříněves
Phone +420 267 009 596
Mobile +420 731 650 834
Grant agreement ID: 265686
1 March 2011
28 February 2014
€ 1 157 610
€ 999 927
VYZKUMNY USTAV ZIVOCISNE VYROBY V.V.I. UHRINEVES
Deliverables not available
Grant agreement ID: 265686
1 March 2011
28 February 2014
€ 1 157 610
€ 999 927
VYZKUMNY USTAV ZIVOCISNE VYROBY V.V.I. UHRINEVES
Grant agreement ID: 265686
1 March 2011
28 February 2014
€ 1 157 610
€ 999 927
VYZKUMNY USTAV ZIVOCISNE VYROBY V.V.I. UHRINEVES