The College has a purpose-built Animal Management Centre, which continues to expand and grow to meet rising expectations and standards of animal welfare. Recent developments include a range of new facilities for small mammals and extensive renovation of our reptile and amphibian housing.
Our Veterinary Nursing Centre is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and is used by them for veterinary nursing examination purposes.
The facility is equipped to represent a contemporary veterinary practice which allows our students to gain realistic experience in a work setting. Our students are able to use these facilities to relate their theory work to relevant practical elements of their future careers.
The large number of species accommodated within the animal collection enables students to develop handling and husbandry techniques with animals typically found within the animal management industry.
The animal collection incorporates a variety of bird species including small aviary birds, rare breed poultry, pheasants, waterfowl and rhea – a large flightless South American bird. A number of our bird species are listed as endangered and form part of either a national or international breeding programme. For example, the College collaborates with organisations such as the World Pheasant Association and Rare Breeds Survival Trust who manage the conservation of these animals.
The Animal Management Centre has developed an exemplary collection of herptiles that includes an extensive range of snakes, lizards, chelonia (tortoises, for example) and amphibians. A number of these species are listed as endangered, and through our industry links we are fortunate to have a number of rare species that contribute to a variety of international conservation initiatives.
Our herptile collection proves popular with Higher Education students who welcome the opportunity to carry out research projects with such unusual animals requiring specialist husbandry techniques. A dedicated research room has been established to focus on developing and refining husbandry techniques for a variety of critically endangered amphibian species in collaboration with our colleagues in industry.
Our large animals represent species that may be kept in a small holding or zoological collection and include species such as goats, llamas and alpacas. Other more unusual species accommodated in our outdoor sections include wallaby and mara. The College farm operates commercially and provides opportunities for the routine handling of farm animals within the pig, dairy and lambing units.
Zoo Licence and BIAZA
Having achieved the status of a licensed zoo in 2006, the Animal Management Centre is able to accommodate exotic species such as red panda, meerkats, tenrecs and several species of lemur. The College is a full member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquarium (BIAZA) and this, together with our zoo licence, underpins the development of our conservation work.
Members of staff actively contribute to BIAZA committees and focus groups and the department values its links with other member organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. Members include zoological collections and wildlife or safari parks and opportunities are provided for student projects, particularly in a number of nutritional, behavioural and husbandry related studies.
The College has strong connections with wildlife and conservation organisations which have proved invaluable in this important area of animal management. Students can work with public bodies such as Natural England, wildlife trusts and local authorities, and various wildlife charities both in the UK and abroad.
Commercial organisations also provide valuable work experience for our students. A number of students have carried out research with external organisations for dissertation purposes. As a result they have been involved in publishing papers and the delivery of their papers at research meetings.