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The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW),[1] is an animal welfare science society. It is a UK registered scientific and educational charity.[2][3][4]

UFAW works to improve animals' lives by promoting and supporting developments in the science and technology that underpin advances in animal welfare. It organises symposia, conferences and meetings, and publishes books, videos, technical reports and the quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal Animal Welfare. Its work has primarily been funded by donations, subscriptions and legacies.

Research and education grants and awards

UFAW has supported a wide range of project types, through the following:[5]

  • Hume Animal Welfare Research Fellowships
  • Research Training Scholarships
  • Animal Welfare Student Scholarships
  • Small Project and Travel Awards
  • Research and Project Awards
  • UFAW 3Rs Liaison Group Research Studentships[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]


In 1926, the University of London Animal Welfare Society (ULAWS) was founded by Major Charles Hume. As its support base amongst academic institutions grew and as more institutions and people came to know about and champion the scientific approach to animal problems that ULAWS stood for, the name of the society was changed, in 1938, to the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). UFAW's aims were:

  • To enlist the influence of university men and women on behalf of animals, wild and domestic;
  • To promote, by educational and other methods, interest in the welfare of animals in Great Britain and abroad;
  • To lessen, by methods appropriate to the special character of a university organisation, the pain and fear inflicted on animals by man;
  • To obtain and disseminate accurate information relating to animal welfare;
  • To further and promote legislation for the protection of animals.

Since its foundation, UFAW has initiated many advances in animal welfare including the first handbook aimed at improving the care and management of laboratory animals (now on its 7th edition),[14][15] the first programme of research on environmental enrichment (in zoo animals) and involvement in the Brambell Committee whose report into the welfare of animals kept under intensive livestock husbandry systems led to the formation of the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (later Farm Animal Welfare Council – FAWC) and the concept of the Five Freedoms.

Examples of more recent activities include funding of the work, at the University of Bristol, investigating the use of the concept of cognitive bias to assess the subjective emotional state of an animal – pessimistic or optimistic – and hence their welfare.[6] UFAW has also supported work on genetic welfare problems of companion animals and produced a web resource[16] that describes a range of genetic conditions that affect companion animals and which explains their welfare consequences – the impacts on the animals' quality of life.

UFAW established the Garden Bird Health Initiative (GBHi)[17] to develop and publish guidelines about garden birds aimed at maximizing their welfare and conservation. A new strain of avian pox, for example, is an area of developing concern within the UK.

As part of its remit to educate and inform on animal welfare, UFAW has also produced a series of books, in collaboration with Wiley-Blackwell Science, that seek to provide an authoritative source of information on worldwide developments, current thinking and best practice in the field of animal welfare science and technology.[18]

In 1987, the Council Members became also the Trustees of the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA). The HSA and UFAW are financially independent but have worked closely together for many years to advance farm animal welfare. The HSA works to improve farm animal welfare 'beyond the farm gate' – during transport, at markets and at slaughter.

The Three Rs

UFAW originated and supports the principle of the 'Three R's' in the use of animals in scientific procedures.

In 1954 UFAW's founder, Charles Hume, together with other members of UFAW's Council, wished to see laboratory techniques become more humane for the animals concerned and appointed an Oxford zoologist Dr William Russell to undertake a programme of research into this subject. UFAW Research Fellow Dr Russell, along with his laboratory assistant and co-author Rex Burch, published the results of their work in 1959 as The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique (reprinted in 1992).[19] This publication introduced the concept of the 'Three Rs' – of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement – which in due course came to be adopted as the guiding principle for the welfare of research animals worldwide and is now required by regulatory authorities in many countries.[20] The Three Rs are:

  • Replacement – the use of non-animal subjects wherever possible, and research into development and validation of new non-animal research and testing models;
  • Reduction – where replacement is not currently possible, the minimising of the number of animals used by, for example, better research design, appropriate statistical methods and use of information databases;
  • Refinement – improvement of experimental procedures and aspects of housing and husbandry so as to minimise risks to welfare.

A good deal of UFAW's work, including the Hume Animal Welfare Research Fellowship, the Animal Welfare Research Training Scholarship and other research grants, the UFAW 3Rs Liaison Group, and participation in working groups, has been focused in areas directly related to promoting the Three Rs.[7][10][11][12] A special edition of UFAW's Animal Welfare journal devoted to the Three Rs, and including an article by Professor Russell entitled The Three Rs: past, present and future,[21] was published in 2005 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the project leading to the publication of the book.

The science journal Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare[22] is a scientific and technical journal, first produced by UFAW in 1992. It publishes the results of peer-reviewed scientific research, technical studies and reviews relating to the welfare of kept animals (e.g. on farms, in laboratories, zoos and as companions) and of those in the wild whose welfare is compromised by human activities. Papers on related ethical and legal issues are also considered for publication.

UFAW Handbook

Hare coursing: Until the 1970s, there was a dearth of scientific evidence on the welfare impact of hare coursing. The first thorough study was carried out in 1977–1979 by UFAW.[23]

The UFAW Handbook on the Care and Management of Farm Animals was first published in 1971 and in 2013 reached its fourth edition.

The UFAW Handbook on the Care and Management of Laboratory and other Research Animals was first published in 1947 and reached its eight edition in 2010.

See also


  1. ^ The Black Pig Design Co Ltd, The Sty, 47 Upper King St, Royston, SG8 9AZ, 01763 222 333. "UFAW - Universities Federation for Animal Welfare - Founded 1926". maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Yeates, James (2013). Animal Welfare in Veterinary Practice. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4443-3487-6.
  3. ^ "Universities Federation for Animal Welfare". Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Universities' Federation for Animal Welfare". Nature. 149 (3778): 353–354. March 1942. doi:10.1038/149353d0. PMC 1581699. PMID 20323107.
  5. ^ The Black Pig Design Co Ltd, The Sty, 47 Upper King St, Royston, SG8 9AZ, 01763 222 333. "UFAW - Universities Federation for Animal Welfare - Grants & Awards". maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b Harding EJ, ES Paul and M Mendl (2004) Animal behaviour: cognitive bias and affective state. Nature 427(6972):312–312
  7. ^ a b Sherwin CM (2003) Social context affects the motivation of laboratory mice, Mus musculus, to gain access to resources. Animal behaviour 66(4):649-655
  8. ^ Mason G, R Clubb, NR Latham and S Vickery (2007) Why and how should we use environmental enrichment to tackle stereotypic behaviour? Applied Animal Behaviour Science 102(3):163–188
  9. ^ Latham NR and GJ Mason (2008) Maternal deprivation and the development of stereotypic behaviour. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 110(1):84–108
  10. ^ a b Mettam JJ, LJ Oulton, CR McCrohan and LU Sneddon (2011) The efficacy of three types of analgesic drugs in reducing pain in the rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 133(3):265–274
  11. ^ a b Gaskill BN, SA Rohr, EA Pajor, JR Lucas and JP Garner (2009) Some like it hot: mouse temperature preferences in laboratory housing. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 116(2):279-285
  12. ^ a b Gaskill BN, CJ Gordon, EA Pajor, JR Lucas, JK Davis and JP Garner (2012) Heat or insulation: behavioral titration of mouse preference for warmth or access to a nest. PLoS ONE 7(3):e32799
  13. ^ Packer RMA, A Hendricks and CC Burn (2012) Do dog owners perceive the clinical signs related to conformational inherited disorders as' normal' for the breed? A potential constraint to improving canine welfare. Animal Welfare 21(Supplement 1): 81-93
  14. ^ Worden AN (1947) The UFAW handbook on the care and management of laboratory animals; with an appendix on statistical analysis. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare: London, UK
  15. ^ Hubrecht R and JK Kirkwood (Eds.) (2010) The UFAW handbook on the care and management of laboratory and other research animals. Wiley-Blackwell
  16. ^ The Black Pig Design Co Ltd, The Sty, 47 Upper King St, Royston, SG8 9AZ, 01763 222 333. "genetic welfare problems". maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ The Black Pig Design Co Ltd, The Sty, 47 Upper King St, Royston, SG8 9AZ, 01763 222 333. "UFAW - Universities Federation for Animal Welfare - Founded 1929". maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ List of books in the UFAW Animal Welfare Series published by Wiley-Blackwell
  19. ^ Russell WMS and Burch RL (1959. Reprinted 1992). The Principles of Humane Experimental Technique. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare: Wheathampstead, UK
  20. ^ Fenwick NP and D Fraser (2005) The Three Rs in the pharmaceutical industry: perspectives of scientists and regulators. Animal Welfare 14:367-377
  21. ^ Russell WMS (2005) The Three Rs: past, present and future. Animal Welfare 14:279-286
  22. ^ The Black Pig Design Co Ltd, The Sty, 47 Upper King St, Royston, SG8 9AZ, 01763 222 333. "UFAW - Universities Federation for Animal Welfare - Animal Welfare Journal". Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ Hunting With Dogs HANSARD, 18 March 2002.