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Academic recognised for outstanding contributions to animal welfare science

Professor Mike Mendl (right) receives the UFAW Medal from Dr Robert Hubrecht, UFAW Chief Executive, at the UFAW conference held at the York Merchant Adventurers’ Hall on 26 June

Professor Mike Mendl (right) receives the UFAW Medal from Dr Robert Hubrecht, UFAW Chief Executive, at the UFAW conference held at the York Merchant Adventurers’ Hall on 26 June

Press release issued: 9 July 2014

An academic from the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences is one of the 2014 winners of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science.

Mike Mendl, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare in the University's School of Veterinary Sciences and Professor David Fraser of the University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, each received the UFAW commemorative medal and £3,000 in recognition of their exceptional achievements in the advancement of animal welfare over many years.  The 2014 winners were announced at the UFAW conference ‘Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science’ held in York last month [26 June]. 

Professor Mendl is a leading animal welfare researcher and has worked on a wide range of species including companion, farm and laboratory animals, publishing over 100 peer-reviewed papers and 15 book chapters in both fundamental and applied research. Mike has been a pioneer in the study of ‘cognitive bias’, investigating the links between cognition, consciousness and emotion in animals with co-researchers Liz Paul, Emma Harding, Oliver Burman and others. His first work on this subject, published in Nature, was highlighted by the Faculty of 1000 research panel as a ‘must read’ and has since inspired close to 50 published studies by other researchers. Mike’s applied work, for example on factors affecting aggression and tail-biting in pigs, has also yielded knowledge of practical benefit to improving welfare.

Professor Fraser’s work has greatly influenced the quality and direction of research in applied ethology and animal welfare science for more than 40 years. He conducted some of the earliest research on the welfare problems of pigs, including individual housing of sows and early weaning of piglets. He also did pioneering work on the use of vocalizations to identify emotional states in animals, and studies of wildlife including the causes and prevention of highway collisions. David has written several highly cited theoretical papers on the scientific study of animal welfare, summarized in his book Understanding Animal Welfare: The Science in its Cultural Context, published in the UFAW Wiley-Blackwell book series. Together with colleagues Dan Weary and Marina von Keyserlingk, he has built a program of animal welfare science at the University of British Columbia that is internationally recognised as one of the best of its kind. David also plays a leading role in the development of global policy on animal welfare through his work with the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. His work is highly respected across disciplines including animal management, animal ethics and veterinary science.

Further information

About the UFAW                 

The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) is an internationally recognised, independent scientific and educational animal welfare charity. It works to improve knowledge and understanding of animals’ needs in order to achieve high standards of welfare for farm, companion, research, captive wild animals and those with which we interact in the wild.

UFAW improves animal welfare worldwide through its programme of awards, grants and scholarships; by educational initiatives, especially at university and college level; by providing information in books, videos, reports and in its scientific journal Animal Welfare; by providing expert advice to governments and others, including for legislation and ‘best practice’ guidelines and codes; and by working with animal keepers, scientists, vets, lawyers and all those who care about animals.

This work relies on the support of members, subscribers and donors.

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