About us
  Animal Welfare
Animal Ethics
Critical Thinking

Who we are

Cambridge e-Learning Institute is a private organisation based in Cambridge-UK working on the development of courses and resources in the life sciences.

At CEI we feel that education should be made available to all, bringing subjects that are usually taught in Higher Education, to the public.

We work with different partners to deliver online courses, face-to-face workshops, training and develop subject-based educational resources.

CEI is based in the UK but our work expands internationally. Our areas of expertise range from secondary education in science to specialist professional subjects. Here are some examples of what we do:

CEI's  mission  is to  promote the understanding of ourselves and  of  our surrounding world through science and an ethical framework based on sustainability and welfare values. 

Our history

CEI was founded in year 2000 to respond to a need in professional development in animal welfare and related sciences. Dr Pinto, the founder and executive director of CEI, worked for ten years working with Professor Don Broom, the first professor of animal welfare based at the Animal Welfare Group at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge. There we identified a need to provide educational support to veterinarians aiming to take the exam for Certificate of Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law (CAWEL) at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Thus CEI set up an online Animal Welfare course which was open to all veterinarians in the world. Many non-veterinarians applied to do the course as continue development and the course was then open to everyone wanting to learn about animal welfare.

This was the seed which prompted us to develop more courses to complement a deeper knowledge about animals, their environment and their place in society. Other courses followed, namely a course on animal ethics and another on critical thinking. These courses were so successful that we decided to run them as multi modal CEI certificates.

Today CEI has a nucleus in Brazil, to support students from South America and another in Portugal for students of the European Union.

The ethos of CEI and our courses aim to  promote respect for animals and the environment. To do this we  provide scientific education with a focus on conservation, biology, behaviour and welfare.

More recently  the CEI  network has expanded  to include  more partners  bringing a large range of expertise in other scientific fields.

We at CEI share the same enthusiasm for the importance of science as a means of  understanding  the world and ourselves. We also believe that learning is a life-long process  which does not stop when we leave school or university.

Cambridge e-Learning Institute is registered with the UK Register of Learning Providers: UK Provider Reference Number is 10092520.



The idea for Cambridge e-Learnning Institute (CEI) was born when Dr Pinto-Poulton was a member of the Animal Welfare Group at the University of Cambridge. The development of our courses owes much to the collaboration and input from the colleagues integrating the group at the time, however CEI is not part or in any way related to the University of Cambridge even though some of our part-time collaborators can be recruited from this University.










In 2002 CEI won a UFAW award for the development of our online education in animal welfare.

What the students say

"I am a busy veterinarian, and I always wanted to learn more about animal welfare but I did not have the time nor the possibility to move to another city in order to study. This course allowed me to learn in my own time. The tutors were very supporting and the communication with students from all over the world was very enlightening". (Patrick O'Hara. Ireland.AW Course 2002-2003)

"When I took the online course in animal welfare, in 2002, I was a bit nervous about the materials being in English. However the tutors in the Portuguese forum where so helpful, that after a while I became quite comfortable with reading the materials in English. This course opined new horizons to me and I became very interested in exploring further the subject. After some years, CEI invited me to become a tutor for the Brazilian course and I am very proud to be now part of the team." (Vânia Plaza Nunes. Brazil. AW Course 2002-2003)

"I describe myself as an abolitionist, and before I took the CEI course, I was pretty confused about concept such as animal rights and animal welfare. The CEI course, helped me to understand that these are two different concepts and the goals of each one of them. I still hold an animal rights philosophical standing, but I now understand better the good work done by those who work in animal welfare" (Daniela Sartori. Brazil. AW Course 2001-2002)

"I always thought that animal welfare was the equivalent of a group of crazy activists shouting out loud against the use of animals. After I took the CEI course I understood the difference. Animal Welfare is a serious science which aims to reduce animal suffering while still making use of animals. It introduces respect for animals and has made a difference in my work as a vet in dealing with my "clients"." (Manolo D'Arriba. Spain. AW Course 2007-2008)

"I am a biologist working in conservation. I was always worried about the role of animals in society, the biosphere and our relationship with them. To learn more about animals and social issues I took the course in animal ethics. I was delighted to learn all these new concepts. This course helped to clarify many of my questions about animals, humans and how we see life in general" (Gabriela Goldsmith. Austria. AE Course 2003-2004)