Who we are
The present committee and officers of the Association are:
Chair, Sarah Hulbert
Sarah has an MA from St Andrews University and has been a veterinary and animal science editor at Veterinary Times, CABI books and currently with 5m Publishing where she founded the animal welfare series and commissioned several books on animal welfare and ethics. Sarah's role as AWSELVA's secretary is to assist with co-ordinating events and communications. She has a particular interest in animal welfare, human-animal bond and One Health issues.
Senior Vice Chair, Prof Siobhan Mullan
Following graduation from the University of Glasgow Veterinary School in 1997 Siobhan worked in mixed and then small animal practice whilst concurrently studying for the RCVS Certificate and then Diploma in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law (AWSEL). She has gradually spent more time researching animal welfare and her research interests have ranged from pet rabbits to farmed pigs. Her research is focussed on applying the results of welfare assessment to initiate improvements in animal welfare. Siobhan also co-ordinates the Everyday Ethics column in the In Practice veterinary journal and is a founder member of the European Veterinary College sub-speciality of AWSEL. When she's not working Siobhan can be found spending time with her family, riding her bike or playing her bagpipes - but not all at the same time.
Junior Vice Chair, Dr Vanessa Ashall
I am an interdisciplinary health researcher and qualified veterinary surgeon. I am interested in the meaning and significance of human-animal relationships in the context of health and medicine. I am a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and a European Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law. I have 15 years of clinical experience working as a veterinary surgeon in the clinic and in the laboratory.
My Masters degree in medical ethics and law developed into an interest in the concept of comparative medical ethics and I was awarded a Clinical Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust in 2014 to research the social and ethical implications of using companion animals as living donors of blood and tissue for veterinary use.
I have published on the ethics and regulation of animal research, veterinary involvement in animal research, informed consent and sociological and ethical aspects of human and animal blood donation. I have influenced policy and practice within the UK and EU through the provision of expert opinion and the development of ethical decision making tools. My current project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, uses the sociological concept of interspecies entanglement to explore end of life care from an innovative interspecies and interdisciplinary perspective.
Treasurer, Dr Ellie Wigham
I graduated from the University of Cambridge Veterinary School in 2015, after which I spent a year in New Zealand working for the Ministry of Primary Industries. Returning to the UK in 2016 to undertake a PhD at the University of Bristol Veterinary School. My thesis was focused on the impact of welfare training on animal welfare and product quality in cattle and poultry slaughter plants. During my time at Bristol, I also started an Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law residency as part of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine, and I am hoping to sit the board exams in summer 2022.
After my PhD I returned home to Scotland to start a lectureship in Veterinary Public Health at the University of Glasgow Vet School. I spend half of my time teaching and the other half pursuing my research interests, primarily animal welfare at the time of slaughter. When not at work I can be found exploring the Scottish countryside with my dog Reggie or exploring the Glasgow food and drink scene.
Secretary, Dr Claire Corridan
Claire qualified as a veterinary surgeon from University of Glasgow Veterinary School (1999), after which she worked in many areas of small animal veterinary practice: charity clinics, small animal & wildlife clinics, emergency medicine & veterinary behaviour referral practice. She decided to specialise in veterinary behavioural medicine and started a PhD in Animal Behaviour & Welfare at the University of Lincoln - her thesis was on ‘The role of owner expectation in development of a successful human: bond’. Alongside her studies, she worked part-time as a small animal vet and started teaching Animal Welfare Science to undergraduates, helping to organise public debates on current companion animal welfare topics. Claire was involved with the BSAVA specialist behaviour group the British Veterinary Behaviour association (BVBA previously CABTSG) serving on their committee for nearly 12 years (Honorary Secretary for 4 years). She was also a member of the European college of Veterinary Clinical Ethology (ESVCE) and served on their Board (2010/11). Claire & her husband then opened a dedicated Human: Animal bond centred veterinary practice which offered first opinion small animal veterinary work and veterinary behaviour referrals. After a move to Ireland, Claire continues to combine small animal practice, veterinary behaviour referrals, shelter medicine, teaching and research activities from the family farm.
Journal Editor, Emeritus Professor David Morton
David graduated in the middle of the last century from Bristol (1965), obtained his PhD in Liverpool (1970) and then carried out post-doc research in Cambridge until 1978. After that he worked as a lab animal vet, lecturer in human anatomy and researcher in animal welfare science, law and ethics in Leicester and Birmingham Medical Schools until he retired in 2006. He consulted for the EU in Research ethics (human and animal) and in animal welfare (EFSA AHW Agency). He is a founder member of AWSELVA and the ECAWBM and was made a life member of AWSELVA. He was honoured with a CBE for his national and international contributions to animal welfare science and ethics in 2014.
Social Media Editor, Dr Sophia Hepple
Sophia qualified from the University of Bristol in 1995 and in 2011 became an RCVS Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law, having previously taken the RCVS Certificate and Diploma; she is also a European diplomat in ECAWBM (AWSEL). She is a veterinary adviser in the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), responsible for delivery of APHA’s welfare inspection programme for farm animal welfare (including transport, markets and cross compliance inspections).
In her spare time she rears her large brood of over-stocked children with her husband (and vet) Richard in a messy but enriched environment with guinea pigs, stick insects, re-homed end-of-lay hens and a grandchild in Somerset. For relaxing she throws sharp pointy objects at a board or goes foraging to produce a variety of alcoholic infusions, jams and chutneys.
Student Liaison, Dr David Williams
David qualified from Cambridge in 1988, aiming to devote his professional life to veterinary opthalmology. David worked at the Animal Health Trust and Royal Veterinary College where he gained his RCVS certificate in veterinary ophthalmology and a PhD researching in ocular immunology. He then returned to Cambridge, studied for his FRCVS with a dissertation of ocular abnormalities in farmed halibut as part of his continuing interest in exotic animal medicine and a VetMD concentrating on age-related cataracts in dogs, cats and horses. He now teaches ophthalmology there running the ophthalmology clinic. Around ten years ago he revitalised an interest in animal welfare and ethics he had developed while at vet school, taking his RCVS certificate in animal welfare science, ethics and law. He is a diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behaviour Medicine, has a Masters in Education and is currently undertaking a Doctorate in that subject, focussing on the teaching of veterinary ethics and animal welfare to undergraduate veterinary students. He is a fellow and college lecturer at St John's College in Cambridge. David has a particular focus on the ethics surrounding zoo animals and wildlife. He sits on the welfare and ethics committee of Cambridge veterinary school and several zoological collections including the Zoological Society of London.
Committee Member, Dr Simon Newbery
Simon graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1984. After working for 3 years as an assistant in mixed practice, he started his own practice in S. Yorkshire, where he is presently based. He obtained an MSc Forensic Science from Staffordshire University in 2008 and is currently an Honorary Research Fellow in Forensic Science at the University of Staffordshire. Simon's current research is into the use of dogs to detect rape crime scenes. He has always had a keen interest in Veterinary forensics and working dog medicine, and has been running courses, training and lecturing on working dog medical care at various Police forces and other agencies throughout the UK, Canada and USA over the last 14 years. Simon regularly gives expert evidence on veterinary forensics and is involved in teaching it to various groups. He is a registered expert with the National Crime Agency in the UK and regularly consulted on matters involving animal forensics. He is a past chairman of the BVFLA and a member and international representative on the board of the International Veterinary Forensic Science Association (IVFSA).
International Liaison, Paul Roger
Paul is a founder member of AWSELVA and holds the RCVS Certificate in AWSEL and has been granted de facto diplomate status by the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine (ECAWBM) in the sub-speciality. He worked in rural agricultural practice for 25 years before leaving to set up a consultancy in Sheep Health and Production (he is an RCVS and European Recognised Specialist in this area) and in Farm Animal Welfare. He is currently an invited independent member of an AWERB for Mars and has been a member of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Ethics and Welfare group and of the Sheep Health and Welfare Group (which reports to the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England). He particularly enjoys the friendly and frank discussions generated by AWSELVA's meetings and is happy to be part of the Chair's group with the developing impetus that is spreading AWSELVA's development across the EU and beyond. Paul's main interests are around practical implementation and delivery of welfare assessment and the inclusion of these ideas within the farm health plan as well as ethical issues affecting both animals and the veterinary profession.