Animal Behaviour and Welfare Personal Statement
Submitted by Mica
While I have always had an interest in animals and their behaviour for some time now the first time I realised I wanted to work in the area of animal behaviour and welfare was when I was abroad. Here I came across a large number of stray cats living in on a piece of land next to our hotel. The conditions they were living in obviously impacted on their health which was very visible. This shocked me, and with the added astonishment that apparently no one was taking responsibility for the animals and caring for them sparked a passion in me to study and work in this area to both educate people who choose to have pets and protect those animals that are being neglected or abused. Since identifying this specific area of interest with animals I have been lucky enough to sit through a short lecture about frogs in a lab and the level of stress they are put under, their behaviour when under this level of stress and how the stress was identified and measured and how to support to reduce the level of stress for these animals. The lecturer also identified the need to identify a wider need of why we may want to reduce the levels of stress for the frogs to ensure funding and an interest from those working with frogs. This was identified as a level of skewed results from animals under stress when testing for drugs that may go onto to being used by humans. This short lecture sparked a real interest and passion for me which reinforced my desire to study in this area. While my main area of interest is working with domestic animals, I am keen to learn about the behaviour and welfare issues of animals in the wild and gain some hands on experience in this area too.
I have also held a great deal of compassion for animals which lead me to volunteer at a dog’s kennel. Here I spent my time cleaning out the kennels and taking dogs for a walk. I felt strongly about spending more time with the dogs that were demonstrating some level of stress through pacing up and down and behaviours such as ears back, tails tucked in and licking of lips. Our family are also on a dog/puppy fostering list for the school holidays and have been lucky enough to foster a puppy for just under a week. Here I learnthow important it was for the puppy to undergo socialisation with humans and other animals to avoid stress in the future for the animal which could result in aggression and other everyday activiteswhich the puppy had not experienced such as entering a car, experiencing unusual noises such as emergency service sirens and building work; which for us humans seem ‘normal’ and not stressful at all. I also hope to volunteer at a rescue centre when I turn 18. To further my understanding in the area of Animal Behaviour and Welfare I am working through an online Animal Behaviour and Welfare MOOC course from the University of Edinburgh. I am very much enjoying gaining more knowledge in this area through the on line training.
I am I currently study biology and psychology at A level as I recognise gaining a grounding in these subjects are essential when considering further study in the area of animal behaviour and welfare. I particularly enjoy learning about the animal studies in psychology, for example Harlow’s study demonstrated that comfort was more of a security for the baby monkeys when frightened than food.
My outside interests are playing netball and playing the piano. I love feeling a part of a larger community and look forward to accesses clubs and societies at university.
I feel very strongly about the welfare of all animals and would like to learn more about this subject area allowing me to work successfully to support animals to be protected from neglect and harm and are given the environment and interactions they need to be happy and content.