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Inspiring and influential scientist wins prestigious award

UFAW Medal awarded to Professor Daniel Weary whose work has improved the lives of millions of animals

The 2020 winner of the UFAW Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science has been announced as Professor Daniel Weary.

Dan is a Professor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia, and an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Industrial Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Welfare.  In a career spanning more than 30 years so far he has made major contributions to understanding and improving the welfare of animals including dairy cattle and laboratory rodents, using non-invasive methods to study their behaviour and motivations.

A string of accolades include over 260 peer-reviewed publications, three prominent international awards for scholarship and research impact, over $12 million raised in grant funding, invitations to distinguished named lectures in Canada, Sweden and Norway and guest scholar/professor in Brazil, Sweden, Germany and Australia.

Georgia Mason Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph, Canada, who nominated Professor Weary for the award said: “For a field where true impact means changing how people treat animals, Dan’s work has improved the lives of millions of animals.  In particular, thanks to his meticulous research using specific vocalisations and other carefully-validated indicators of pain and hunger, Canadian dairy calves are now typically fed to satiety, instead of left hungry as had been the industry norm, and they also now receive pain relief when their horn buds are cut or burnt away. The tails of millions of cows are now left on, instead of cut off. His work with Lee Niel has also led to a recognition of the inhumaness of carbon dioxide as a killing method for laboratory rodents.”

Professor Weary has also been highly influential as a teacher and trainer.  He has advised 25 PhD students, many of whom are now themselves leaders in animal welfare science and policy. His undergraduate teaching has also won recognition through the Humane Society International award, a Killam Teaching prize and a Killam Research prize, reflecting not only his intellectual rigor and breadth of knowledge, but also his charisma and infectious enthusiasm.

Fellow nominator Ed Pajor, Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Calgary added: “I consider Dr Weary to be among the top 1% of animal welfare scientists in the world and am thrilled that he has been nominated for such a prestigious award.  Even more remarkable than his productivity and impact is the wide range of scientific topics he has addressed and the methodology that he has either used or developed.”

The UFAW Medal recognises exceptional achievements of individual scientists who have made fundamental contributions to the advancement of animal welfare over a number of years. The award is open to individuals, anywhere in the world, whose research, teaching, service and advocacy has significantly benefited the welfare of animals. The commemorative medal and award were presented virtually during UFAW’s Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science VII virtual webinar on the 30th of June, attended by some 1,000 delegates.

UFAW’s Chief Executive Dr Huw Golledge said: ”Dan is a worthy winner of the UFAW medal, his research work has made important contributions to our understanding of animal welfare for a number of species ranging from dairy cattle to laboratory rodents. Dan is a passionate advocate for animal welfare science and genuinely believes we can do better for the animals under our care by understanding their needs. Dan also works hard to share this message with those who care for animals, sharing his knowledge with farmers and animal carers around the world.

Equally importantly, Dan has been an inspiration to numerous students and young researchers. You cannot go very far in the field of animal welfare science, animal welfare advocacy or policymaking without meeting someone who has studied under and been inspired by Dan and his colleagues at UBC. All in all it is hard to think of a more deserving winner of this year’s medal.“  


30 June 2020

Note to editors:

Professor Daniel Weary’s biography can be found on UFAW’s website www.ufaw.org.uk


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.