Animal welfare researchers under one roof for the first time
Press release issued: 1 May 2009
One of the world’s best-known naturalists and broadcasters, Sir David Attenborough, will officially open a new state-of-the-art Animal Welfare and Behaviour building at the University of Bristol’s Vet School today [Thursday 30April].
The Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group, based within the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, is a centre of excellence in animal welfare science, influencing national and international agendas, innovating in all aspects from fundamental to applied research, and working with farm, companion, laboratory, zoo and working animals.
The new £3.9 million building has a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) ‘excellent’ rating for sustainability in design, materials and energy usage. This will provide substantial energy savings to the University over the medium term but will also provide a focus for research sponsors from the UK and Europe with an interest in sustainability.
The new building and its facilities will help the group maintain and build on its current position as a world leader in animal welfare research.
The group’s four main research areas are: fundamental behaviour, cognition, emotion and stress; risk factors and solutions; human-animal interactions; strategies for change. Through these research areas the group will focus on the following priorities:
· To carry out high quality fundamental research into animal motivation, cognition and emotion, including the development of novel approaches, to underpin new and better methods for animal welfare assessment.
- To increase understanding of human factors influencing animal welfare and behaviour.
- To define husbandry risk factors and develop practical solutions for existing and emerging welfare problems.
- To develop and evaluate implementation strategies which promote human actions that improve the welfare of animals, at all levels from individuals to populations.
- To develop and utilise biostatistical, epidemiological and mathematical modelling approaches in the study of animal welfare and behaviour.
Professor Mike Mendl, Head of the Animal Welfare and Behaviour research group, said: “The group is renowned for its work in animal welfare and has a significant role in shaping the agenda in what is becoming a very important, rapidly growing area of research.
“Public interest in animal behaviour and animal welfare continues to grow, with widespread implications for the way in which animals are treated, used and included in society. This new building provides us with facilities that will enable the group to continue to be a major player in animal welfare research throughout the world.”
Facilities within the building include office accommodation for up to 75 people, two small meeting rooms, and a larger seminar room, which will also provide web conferencing facilities.
Further informationAs part of the University of Bristol’s wider drive to improve its sustainability the Dolberry Building, which will house the Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group, is the first University building to attain a BREEAM excellent rating and has many sustainable features. It has been designed with a high thermal mass constructed within an external insulation layer. This keeps the building cool in the summer (without the need for mechanical cooling) and retains heat in the winter. During hot spells of weather, the windows are controlled, through the building management system, to open and cool the building interior at night. The prime heating source utilises waste heat from a nearby building, which otherwise would be wasted. A green roof significantly enhances biodiversity.
Sir David Attenborough
Sir David Attenborough is Britain’s best-known natural history film-maker. His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned nearly five decades and there are very few places on the globe that he has not visited.
Over the last 25 years he has established himself as the world’s leading natural history programme maker with several landmark BBC series, including: Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), The Private Life of Plants (1995), The Life of Birds (1998), The Life of Mammals (2002) and Life in the Undergrowth (2005).
‘The final chapter in the Life series, Life in Cold Blood is surely a grand finale to David’s survey of life on earth.‘