Queen’s University animal-welfare expert appointed to UK government committee
Dr Gareth Arnott at the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) and the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast has been appointed to a high-level UK government committee.
Arnott has been selected to join the Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) which advises the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as well as the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments on the welfare of animals, including farmed, companion and wild animals kept by people.
Dr Arnott is one of seven new members of the AWC for the term January 2023-December 2026. The other new members are Ms Emily Craven, Professor Simon Girling, Dr Julian Kupfer, Stephen Lister and Dr Julia Wrathall, who come from a range of veterinary and zoology backgrounds across academic, industry and regulatory fields. A new AWC chair, Professor Madeleine Campbell, a former chair of the British Veterinary Association’s Ethics and Welfare Advisory Panel, was also appointed.
A Reader in IGFS and the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s, Dr Arnott teaches and researches the biology of animal welfare and behaviour in both vertebrates and invertebrates. He has a particular interest in animal contest and play behaviour and has published widely on aggression and stress in a range of species including dairy cattle, dogs and pigs.
Since January 2022, he has been the Lead for the UK-wide Animal Welfare Research Network, set up in 2016 to promote high-quality science to underpin policy decisions and legislation. It is currently funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and DEFRA.
Commenting on this latest development, Dr Arnott said: “I am very grateful to have received this appointment and see it as an ideal opportunity to use my science and research experience to contribute to developments in animal-welfare policy and legislation.”
IGFS director Professor Nigel Scollan added: “This is a great honour for Dr Arnott and very well deserved. It places him at the centre of animal-welfare policy in the UK, helping ensure that future legislation and guidelines are based on rigorous, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence.”