Animal Welfare


What is Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law?

Who we are?

Animal welfare Science, Ethics and Law is a subspeciality of the European College on Animal Welfare and Behavioural medicines. We bring together diplomates who are familiar with animal welfare science and research, the philosophical principles of ethics, ethical analysis including devising frameworks for decision making, moral agency and responsibilities of humans (and animals?), and have a working knowledge of other related ethical areas of concern, e.g. ethics surrounding healthcare, the environment, and particularly veterinary practice and practices and their inherent inconsistencies.  Comparative professional ethics and etiquette are also of interest.  For law we expect a working knowledge of EU laws relating particularly to farmed animals, current EU concepts on labelling, international trade, and on farm evaluation of animals’ welfare.

Veterinary leadership in animal welfare?

These fields are expending rapidly as increasingly legislation for the protection of animal is passed nationally, internationally and supra-nationally.  It is important that the veterinary profession retains a strongly interest and expertise e.g. through the production of recognised specialists, in these areas.  The public expect the profession to take a leading role in both the drawing up and the implementation of animal welfare, i.e. the mental and physical health of animals.

The aim of our post-graduate programmes are to produce highly qualified specialists who can take these fields forward through research and practice and provide leadership for the public as well as for the profession.

Do similar degrees exist in other countries?

In the UK these subjects have been a post-graduate qualification for over a decade, and other countries such as Australia and New Zealand and, most recently, the USA have followed suit.  We aim to harmonise our requirements and liaise closely with them, as we recognise that animal welfare has no borders.

AVMA college link

AWSELVA UK link 1  link 2

Australian and New Zealand link

The de-facto period ended on 15 April 2016. From now on, all candidates have to go through the residency training. Re-credentialing will also start. Each Diplomate will have to be re-evaluated  every five years, starting five years after they first became a Diplomate and will be required to demonstrate his/her professional activities in the last 5 years. For the AW sub-speciality, the re-credentialing criteria and form will be available from October 2016.

Re-certification of diplomates

In accordance with EBVS policy, each Diplomate has to be re-certified  every five years.  Tbis will be carried out by the AW Credentials Committee.

Diplomates will need to complete the re-certification form, certifying that they fulfil the requirement of practising the specialty for more than 60 per cent of their time, based on a normal working week (accepted by the EBVS as 40hr), and in  addition that they fulfil the requirements of the standard procedure according to a credit point system. In addition, Diplomates should ask 2 colleagues or authorities to send to the College a letter of reference certifying that the Diplomate has been active in practising his/her speciality for the last 5 years at the specialist level.

Examination Programme

The first examination will be either in autumn 2017 or 2018. More details will be published here in the next months.