Founder of the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust
Receives Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa
from the University of Edinburgh

On the 24th November 2010, Jeanne Marchig the Founder of the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor honoris causa by the University of Edinburgh in recognition of her outstanding global contribution to animal welfare and animal welfare education.  The honour was conferred on her by Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, the Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University.

In giving the Laureation Address, Professor Susan Rhind of the University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies informed the large audience that from an early age, Jeanne Marchig wanted to work for the protection of nature and the defence of ill-treated animals or those threatened with extinction.

 In 1986, she founded in memory of her late husband Giannino Marchig, the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust. Through the Trust she has supported thousands of projects and organizations, not only in the UK, but throughout the world.  These included the veterinary care and treatment of animals in the developing countries notably sterilisation, welfare and re-homing programmes for companion animals; the care, protection and rehabilitation of wildlife; educational and campaigning work against cruelty; and against the cruel exploitation of animals for profit or pleasure, especially fur-trapping, canned hunting, whaling and bullfighting. The Marchig Trust also gives annual awards to organizations and individuals for significant achievements in “hands on” animal welfare work.


Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea confers
upon Jeanne Marchig in University tradition,
the Honorary Degree of Doctor honoris causa
“in recognition of her outstanding global contribution
to animal welfare and animal welfare education”.


Her most recent project had been through the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies where Jeanne had contributed to the establishment of an International Centre for Animal Welfare Education. The Centre aims to be a focal point for Animal Welfare Education across the globe.  It will be a key resource of expertise for animal welfare education and will help establish new veterinary courses, collaborating with international partners to improve the understanding of animal welfare and protection issues.  The Centre will also engage with politicians and governments with the aim of improving animal welfare and seeking alternatives to the use of animals in education and in all other areas of research.  The Centre will seek to achieve far-reaching changes in people’s attitudes and knowledge through engagement, instruction and training at all levels.

In conclusion, Professor Rhind noted the comment made by the Reverend Professor Andrew Linzey, Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics: “Madame Marchig has been a magnificent advocate for the animals. There is hardly a part of the world in which animals have not benefited from her generosity. Single-handedly, she has made the world a better place for animals”.

After receiving her Honorary Degree of Doctor honoris causa, Jeanne Marchig thanked Sir Timothy O’Shea and said that she was deeply moved and honoured to receive this award from this renowned University.  She also thanked Professor Susan Rhind for her Laureation Address.

Jeanne Marchig responds to her award.

Jeanne Marchig after the ceremony.

Jeanne Marchig said that the animal kingdom has no voice of its own, only those who are prepared to speak up on their behalf.

Twenty five  years ago when she  established the  Marchig Animal Welfare Trust  she  decided to be one  of  those  voices.. She was appalled at the abuse, suffering and cruelty being inflicted on animals throughout the world.

Now as she looks  to ways to  continue  her Trust's  work,   she has  chosen  the internationally  recognized  Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary  Studies  in Edinburgh as a key partner in that work.  The School under the leadership of its Dean Professor Elaine Watson has become a centre of excellence with global relevance and she hoped that the International Centre which bears her name within the School, will achieve far reaching changes in people’s attitudes towards animals through instruction and training at all levels.

The world needs veterinarians who are not only professionally competent but also compassionate.

Therefore, in concluding her remarks Jeanne Marchig made a plea to the veterinary students that were graduating: “Abide at all times by the ‘Oath’ that you take - that your constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals”.

At the end of her remarks, Jeanne Marchig received a spontaneous standing ovation from the audience.

3 January 2011



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