Fri, 2020/04/24 - 8:43am
Since its inception, the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) at the University of Guelph has focused on advancing knowledge, education and outreach to advance the health and welfare of animals.
CCSAW enters its next chapter under new director Prof. Georgia Mason, a professor in the College of Biological Science’s Department of Integrative Biology. As director, Mason also holds the Col. K. L. Campbell University Chair in Animal Welfare. Mason will begin a five-year term as director on May 1, 2020.
“We make up the largest collection of welfare scientists in the world here in Guelph,” she notes. “This, along with the rich expertise of CCSAW’s Associated Faculty, puts us in a unique position. I think the next few years are going to be very exciting!”
A prize-winning behavioural biologist, Mason studies how animals adapt to captivity. She is also interested in the validation of animal welfare indicators, including refining how current indicators, such as stereotypic behaviour and judgment bias, are used, and validating new indicators, such as species-specific signals like facial expressions.
Under the leadership of her predecessor, Prof. Tina Widowski, the Campbell Centre expanded its reach in key areas with specialized educational offerings, enhanced outreach and a focus on interdisciplinary, collaborative research. Widowski completes her 13-year tenure at the helm of CCSAW on April 30 2020.
“From its inception, the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) has brought together scientists from across the U of G campus to conduct research and education, informing how we improve the care of animals,” says Dr. Jeffrey Wichtel, Dean of the Ontario Veterinary College. “As director of CCSAW, Prof. Tina Widowski championed this collaborative, multidisciplinary approach, ensuring a rich learning environment for graduate, undergraduate and veterinary students, continually advancing the study of animal care and welfare. I look forward to working with Prof. Georgia Mason as we continue and grow CCSAW’s global impact.”
When the Centre was established in 1989, it was the first of its kind in North America and the second of its kind in the world. In 1996, the Centre was renamed the Colonel K.L. Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) in recognition of the commitment and support of Mona Campbell, whose husband was the late Colonel Campbell.
Today, CCSAW’s 11 core faculty members and associated faculty across the U of G campus collectively advise nearly sixty graduate students completing masters and doctoral degrees on animal welfare topics.
“Over the last 15 years, there has been such an increase in demand for research and training in animal welfare science,” says Widowski, a professor in the Ontario Agricultural College’s Department of Animal Biosciences. “I’m very proud of the team we’ve built, how our scientific results are informing policy and practice, and how our students are becoming leaders in industry and academia.”
During Widowski’s tenure, the Centre built capacity in a number of areas through establishment of several new chairs in animal welfare including the Egg Farmers of Canada Chair in Poultry Welfare, the Burnbrae Farms Professorship in Poultry Welfare and the Campbell Chair in Companion Animal Welfare. It also developed and offered training for Ontario Society for the Protection of Animals (OSPCA) staff that became part of the OSPCA’s core training. More recently, the Centre secured initial funding to establish the Saputo Dairy Welfare programme, providing training to student veterinarians and graduate students from OVC and across Canada.
On the educational front, she advanced opportunities to enrich student experiences and led the creation of four new courses in animal welfare and an Animal Behaviour and Welfare field in Animal Biosciences. This greatly enhanced the recruitment of animal welfare students, doubling their numbers.
CCSAW hosts an annual research symposium that features the work of the Centre’s faculty and students. The monthly CCSAW seminar series invites speakers to share expertise and ideas. An active CCSAW Student Chapter offers further talks, events, educational opportunities and panel discussions aimed at fostering a deeper understanding on animal welfare for current and future students. Find more information on the CCSAW website at www.uoguelph.ca/ccsaw/