Purdue has announced the creation of the Purdue University Center for Animal Welfare Science, to be led beginning on February first by associate professor of animal sciences Candace Croney, described as a national voice on animal welfare.
The center will promote the welfare of animals through its research, education and outreach. Dean of Purdue College of Agriculture Jay Akridge says the “science” portion of the name is of key importance.
“We have a large and important research group from the College of Agriculture, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) Livestock Behavior Research Unit, and one of the really key elements of this center is to bring that research into the dialogue on animal welfare issues.”
Croney says for many consumers there is a heightened awareness and concern for the treatment of animals, including those in food production.
“One of the things that we’re going to be able to do with the center is show very clearly that we as scientists and as members of the land grant university, really while we care about producing food and contributing to Indiana and the nation’s economy and expanding globally and so on, really, genuinely care about the animals and what they themselves are experiencing. That matters and from an ethical perspective as well as practical perspective it’s a major priority for us.”
Will this new endeavor put Purdue closer to the spotlight of organizations like HSUS?
“I think that’s certainly a possibility,” said Akridge. “And it may be a reality. We certainly have been doing work in these areas before. We have scientists in these two colleges and the Livestock Behavior Research Unit. That work is going to be more visible and may bring more controversy as a result, but I think it’s just essential that science find its way into these dialogues and debates.”
Akridge says Croney is well prepared for all aspects of the center’s directorship. Hear more in the HAT interview:Jay Akridge
Her appointment as director was announced jointly this week by Akridge and Willie M. Reed, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.
The center now hosts the largest collaborative group of scientists in the U.S. working in a variety of related fields and brings together diverse, cross-disciplinary approaches to animal well-being issues in animal and poultry science, veterinary medicine, psychology, philosophy, genetics, public health and zoology.
Croney’s responsibilities will include soliciting both traditional and nontraditional sources of extramural funding for the center’s research and outreach activities, serving as spokesperson and resource person on public policy welfare issues, and disseminating knowledge, guidance and expertise of animal welfare science through a variety of media.
She also will be charged with developing and maintaining national and international relationships with leaders in animal agriculture, animal welfare faculty at other universities and institutions, non-government organizations and the public.