Episode 75 – Killing them softly

Killing them softly

The welfare of farm animals is an issue very much in the public eye. While we often think about welfare in terms of animals’ quality of life, a less-considered aspect is the quality of death. In this episode, University of Glasgow researcher Dr Dorothy McKeegan tells us about her research in this area, which aims to ensure that the slaughter of animals for human consumption is done in the very best way possible.  

During this podcast, we mention the 3Rs prize (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of use of animals for research) of the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body. The winners of this prize were:

Seonagh Henderson, senior research support/animal health technician at the University of Glasgow, for her development of a sifting cage change method to improve welfare in laboratory rats. The concept was to remove the stress involved when transferring the rats to a clean cage, allowing them to be reintroduced into a ‘clean’, faeces-free cage that still retained their own scent. The results from this change in handling were fast and effective: the rats went from being nervous and difficult to handle to being more placid and naturally inquisitive. Correction: this recipient was incorrectly named in the interview.

Prof Sue Barnett & Dr Susan Lindsay for their project “The use of cultures to study the repair of the central nervous system”. This is a tissue culture system that could allow spinal cord injuries to be studied in vitro, without the requirement of animal models.

More information about the Institute’s Master’s program in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics & Law can be found in our previous Naturally Speaking podcast “Masters of Science – Time to get Ethical“.

This podcast was edited by Keila Meginnis and Taya Forde.

Feature image: Original artwork courtesy of PhD researcher Eleni Christoforou, 2019©

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Intro and outro music sampled from: “The Curtain Rises” and “Early RiserKevin MacLeod [CC BY 3.0]

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