Scotland’s Animal Welfare Education Forum

Scotland’s Animal Welfare Education Forum (SAWEF) is a group of various organisations that all work within the education sphere to combat animal cruelty and increase animal welfare awareness. The Scottish SPCA organised this forum to bring together people from across the sector to share best practice, strengthen links and discuss topical issues.

SAWEFWithin each organisation there is a desire to improve animal welfare and attitudes towards animals in future generations, so it makes sense to come together to discuss our approaches and tackle any common issues.

There has been UK-wide animal welfare education forums prior to this, but here in Scotland we have a very different curriculum with unique issues and goals. We are delighted to be working in partnership with other charity organisations to improve the education offering across Scotland.

It is our belief that animal welfare should be included in the curriculum for excellence. As such, one of the key aims of this forum is to discuss how to make that possible.


Blue corss

Pets are at the heart of everything the Blue Cross do. Each year, thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses turn to their animal hospitals, clinics and rehoming services for treatment and to find them the happy homes they deserve. Meanwhile, their Education and Behaviour Teams prepare future pet owners to take responsibility and look after their pets for life. They also provide a listening ear through their Bereavement service for anyone who has sadly suffered the loss of a loved pet.

Dogs trust

Dogs Trust mission is to bring about the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction. Dogs Trust Education Team have been delivering workshops in schools and in the community since 2003. Educating children about responsible dog ownership and safety is an important part of what they do at Dogs Trust. By helping young people learn about the responsibilities and commitment involved in dog ownership and dog safety we believe that we can reduce the number of dogs that are mistreated and/or abandoned.


Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home has been part of the fabric in their city since 1883, working in partnership with Police and Local Authority services by welcoming lost or abandoned pets from all corners of Edinburgh and the Lothians. The Home’s success rate in reuniting lost animals with their owners is 55% meaning that happy endings are common. When an owner cannot be found after 7 days, their rehoming process kicks in – a structured programme that aims to make the best possible match between pet and human. Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home has an open-door policy, accepting any dog or cat that comes to them in need, whatever the size, breed or medical condition.  They will never put a healthy dog or cat down and work tirelessly to find loving forever homes for each one.


The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE), is part of the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.  JMICAWE’s principal aim is to improve the quality of life for all animals through education, training and by influencing policy at the highest level. JMICAWE aims to achieve greater awareness of the use of alternatives to animals in teaching and research worldwide.  JMICAWE aims to expand the opportunities for students to study and work internationally through creating good links with educational partners and others for exchange opportunities.


The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) aims to provide the opportunity for young people and teachers to learn about food, farming and the countryside.  They do this though offering free farm visits, providing teacher training and delivering events across Scotland.



OofEChildren, Adolescents and Animals Research (caar) within the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Edinburgh focuses on a range of aspects of child-animal interactions that affect health, wellbeing and welfare. We investigate children’s attachment to pets and the impact of pet ownership on children’s development, children’s cruelty to animals and cruelty prevention interventions, and animal assisted intervention for children and for mental health. Our collaborative research with the Scottish SPCA ensures that our research has an impact on animal welfare education and cruelty prevention policy and practice.


The RSPB is the country’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with their partners, they protect threatened birds and wildlife so that our towns, coast and countryside will once again teem with life.


RZSSThe Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is a registered charity which has been working to promote awareness and conservation of rare and endangered animals for over 100 years. RZSS owns and runs Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park as well as supporting a wide variety of research and conservation projects here in the UK and around the world.

EO with child

Prevention through Education

Our free Prevention through Education programme for Scottish primary schools reaches more than 245,000 children every year.

We passionately believe our programme will have a huge and positive impact on animal welfare in Scotland for generations to come.

The results have been immediate, with fewer children being involved in animal cruelty.

Find out more about our programme.