Head of Animal at Hartpury University driving improvements in welfare law


Hartpury University’s Dr Wanda McCormick is playing an active role in driving forward engagement in shaping and improving animal welfare law in the UK. 

Dr McCormick, Head of Animal and Agriculture at Hartpury University, has jointly organised an Animal Welfare Research Network-funded (AWRN) virtual workshop with Dr Simon Sneddon and Helen Tedds, both from the University of Northampton.

It coincides with the launch of a new masters degree course at Hartpury University focusing on animal welfare and the UK legal system – MSc Animal Welfare, Policy and Legislation.

This week's two-day workshop entitled ‘Engaging with relevant stakeholders to improve animal welfare law’ (22-23 April) will provide opportunities to engage in meaningful discussions with government and industry bodies.

Breakout sessions will help to promote research collaborations and allow more in-depth conversations and about affecting influence and the procedures for changing law related to companion animals, captive exotics, livestock and laboratory research animals.

Speakers will include Steve Wickens, chair of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare; Paula Sparks, chair of the UK centre for Animal Law (A-Law); Andrew Voas, veterinary advisor to the Scottish Government; Samantha Gaines, head of the companion animals department within the RSPCA’s science and policy group.

Dr McCormick said the knowledge gained from the free workshop, open only to A-Law and AWRN members, would also help to inform new and existing programmes at Hartpury University, which offers a range of industry-led animal and agriculture qualifications.

Dr McCormick, who will chair the final session, ‘What can we do now?’, said: “It is important that everyone involved in improving animal welfare, now and in the future, is aware of how science can drive calls for changes to the law, the legislative processes involved and the way that the law is applied.

“The workshop will appeal to researchers and stakeholders alike as it covers everything from the fundamentals of animal welfare law to animal welfare law in practice and how science can support legislation.

“It will provide researchers and industry professionals with opportunities to enhance their knowledge and help to promote collaboration projects between the various industry bodies committed to enhancing animal welfare.

“The event is particularly timely because we are at the start of what is likely to be a lot of potential change in some areas of legislation, especially agriculture, following the UK’s departure from the European Union.”

Hartpury University’s new MSc Animal Welfare, Policy and Legislation programme, which will be mainly delivered online, will cover content applicable to a wide range of animal industries, including livestock farming, zoos and the management of feral animals.

It will be delivered by a core team of staff complemented by a wide range of visiting lecturers who are experts in their field of research or are important within industry.

All research activity at Hartpury University, which offers PhDs, postgraduate and undergraduate degrees in the areas of sport, equine, animal, agriculture and veterinary nursing, either directly or indirectly informs not only current industry practice but also the curriculum.

Research is fully integrated within teaching, with staff research active in the areas in which they teach and many dissertations embedded in larger scale research projects.

Picture: Wanda McCormick, Head of Animal and Agriculture at Hartpury University

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