Dr Nathan Cooper’s visit to The Gambia

Dr. Nathan Cooper visited The Gambia last week as part of a team of three researchers investigating the feasibility of using smart water pumps to improve access to water for people in remote villages.

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Nathan interviewed village water committee members in order to better understand the existing socio-legal framework governing local water resources, and to begin to explore the potential implications for this framework of new smart pump technology. One village chief also gave permission for a water pump to be filmed using a motion sensor camera, that documents who uses the pump, when and for how long. This information will further inform the researchers’ understanding of the cultural context in which access to water operates.

Nathan and colleagues were also invited to meet the Honourable Mr. Gomez, the newly appointed Minister for Water, in Banjul. The potential of smart pump technology to help meet the country’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals was discussed at length, particularly in relation to Goal 6a and b and the inclusion of international partnerships and local communities. The Minister expressed his interest in developing ongoing dialogue with the researchers, and in following the success of the smart pump field trials, which will be completed in April.

British Society of Criminology Victims of Crime Symposium

Professor Matthew Hall delivers plenary address at British Society of Criminology Victims of Crime Symposium

Last week, Prof. Matthew Hall of Lincoln Law School delivered a closing plenary address at Northumbria University, Newcastle, to the annual Symposium of the British Society of Criminology’s Specialist Victims Network. In his talk, Prof. Hall discussed the future directions of victimology and how those working within this field might inform policy making in the context of recent political upheavals around the world: including Brexit and a general shift towards more nationalistic thinking. In particular, Prof. Hall challenged the audience – made up of leading thinkers in the study of victimisation as well as representatives of the victim support community and a number of police and crime commissioners – to think more broadly about the group we label as ‘victims’, reflecting more culturally-informed (rather than a legally informed) notions of ‘victimisation’, ‘suffering’ and ‘trauma’. Drawing on examples including the 96 victims who died as a result of the Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster of 1989, the Ched Evans rape trials and the recent attention paid to historical child sexual abuse, Matthew argued that previous cultural and legal narratives about who ‘counts’ as a victim of crime is changing and that official pronouncements to this end are not as readily accepted. This has significant implications for those tasked with supporting victims both now and in the future. Prof. Hall also emphasised the importance of speaking to victims directly in order to learn more about their needs and to tailor support mechanisms appropriately.
Professor Hall said “This has been a wonderful day of debate and discussion, emphasising how far we have come in supporting victims whilst also exposing the work that is still needed to truly do right by victims of all kinds of crime, and indeed of wider social harms”.

Diane Ryland: Animal Welfare Management

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Specification (TS) 34700
Animal welfare management – General requirements and guidance for organizations in the food supply chain, 01-12-2016 [ISO/TS 34700:2016(E)] has just been published, and is available at :

http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=64749

The drafting of this management tool has been the subject of negotiation in Working Group 16, prior to adoption by ISO Technical Committee 34 Food Products comprised of 78 Member Countries world wide. Diane Ryland, Senior Lecturer, Lincoln Law School, has attended and participated in three significant contributory Working Group 16 meetings held at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), 12 Rue de Prony, Paris, in May 2015, December 2015 and September 2016, respectively [The OIE having Observer Status].

Its purpose is to provide requirements and guidance so as to ensure the welfare of animals raised for food or feed production. A primary objective is to facilitate the implementation of the animal welfare principles as described in the introduction to the recommendation for animal welfare of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (TAHC) (Chapter 7.1.) Its provisions apply to those aspects for which a species-specific animal welfare chapter has been adopted in the OIE TAHC, currently beef cattle, broiler chicken, and dairy cattle, production systems, together with the chapters on slaughter and transportation of animals. The scope will be revised and extended commensurate with the adoption/amendment of OIE TAHC animal welfare provision. It is also anticipated that its use will provide guidance for the implementation of public and/or private standards that meet at least the OIE TAHC, facilitative, thus, of the integration of animal welfare principles in business to business relations.

It is a landmark document, which presents very many opportunities, one of which is to act as a bridge between the public and private sphere in the setting and monitoring of animal welfare standards. Working towards the implementation of the animal welfare standards of the OIE, which are embedded in science, will serve to establish a minimum floor of animal welfare protection, and be a determinant of market access for agri-produce. It is to be hoped that, while meeting at least the animal welfare standards of the OIE TAHC, the scope then to elevate standards of animal welfare by private animal welfare standards and certification bodies will be practised in a global market for added value agricultural produce raising the threshold of animal welfare protection. Animal welfare governance has evolved into a hybrid concept and it will be a very interesting exercise to see how this Technical Specification will be used.