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Cathy to champion animal welfare

"Cathy Dwyer has been named as chair of the new Scottish Animal Welfare Commission"

An animal welfare expert at Scotland’s Rural College has been named as chair of the first-ever independent Scottish Animal Welfare Commission.

Cathy Dwyer, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare at SRUC, will oversee the Commission’s work protecting wild and companion animals and providing scientific and ethical advice to the Government.

The Commission was announced as part of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, setting out its actions for the coming year and beyond.

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “Animal welfare is a subject that I feel very passionately about so I’m delighted to announce Professor Dwyer as the first chair of the independent Scottish Animal Welfare Commission who will bring a depth of expertise and knowledge to the role.

“I have tasked the Commission to look specifically at how our current policies take account of the welfare needs of sentient animals, what improvements could be made and report back to me with their conclusions.

“I’m proud of Scotland’s high standards when it comes to animal welfare and believe this step will strengthen those standards even further. I look forward to working with Professor Dwyer to ensure we have the highest standards of welfare for our animals.”

Professor Dwyer, who is also director of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I am deeply honoured to accept the position of chair of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission and am excited about the opportunity to make a difference to the welfare of all Scotland’s animals.

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government recognises the importance of animal welfare for wildlife, farmed and companion animals and that acceptance of animal sentience will be central to government policy relating to animals.

“After 25 years working in research and education in animal welfare, I am looking forward to the new challenges ahead.”

Dean of the SRUC Central Faculty David Hopkins said: “Professor Dwyer’s appointment as chair of the Animal Welfare Commission is both recognition of her expertise and the contributions of the Animal Behaviour and Welfare research team to scientific understanding.

“SRUC is rightfully proud of its expertise which contributes to the development of policy and the sustainability of Scottish agriculture.”

The Commission will look at:

  • how the welfare needs of sentient animals are being met by devolved policy
  • possible legislative and non-legislative routes to further protect the welfare of sentient animals
  • the research requirements to provide an evidence base for future policy development

Posted by SRUC on 24/09/2019

Tags: Appointments, Research, Faculty and Staff
Categories: Animal Welfare | SRUC and Campuses