Supporting Animal Welfare for 25 Years

Supporting Animal Welfare for 25 Years

animal welfare pig

Since launching, the Animal Welfare Program has played an important role in informing policy for those working in industry, government and not-for-profit organizations.

Research has aimed to improve the lives of animals, including dairy cattle, mice and rats, pigs, dogs and many more. Here are some highlights of the last 25 years.


UBC launches the Animal Welfare Program (AWP), hiring David Fraser and Dan Weary as inaugural NSERC Industrial Research Chairs (NSERC IRC) in Animal Welfare. The first NSERC IRC was made possible by industry donations from the BC SPCA, the BC Dairy Association, BC Cattle Industry Development Fund, BC Veterinary Medical Association, and other groups involved with animal welfare or animal agriculture, with funds matched by NSERC.


Launch of first undergraduate course Animal Welfare and Ethics of Animal Use (now APBI 315).


UBC hires Marina (Nina) von Keyserlingk as its third faculty member in the AWP.

David Fraser appointed a founding member of the Working Group on Animal Welfare that guided the World Organisation for Animal Health (Paris) in developing global standards for animal welfare.

History of the AWP Program, Room 180


David Fraser and Dan Weary successfully renew the NSERC IRC, with supporting industry partners.


David Fraser appointed Member of the Order of Canada for his work as a pioneer in the field of animal welfare science.


Dan Weary Chairs the Scientists’ Panel on knowledge input into Recommended Codes of Practice for Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council; the recommendations of the Panel led to Canada’s policy creating a Scientist’s Committee for each code.

Nina von Keyserlingk appointed to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), representing the Canadian Faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. CCAC governs the use of animals used in research and teaching.


David Fraser, Dan Weary, Nina von Keyserlingk renew the NSERC IRC for the next 5 years, with supporting industry partners.


The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle is created by the National Farm Animal Care Council. AWP researchers and alumni participate in committees developing the 2009 version of the code, and provide advice in subsequent versions.


Nina von Keyserlingk awarded the Canadian Farm Animal Industries Award in Extension and Public Service (Canadian Society of Animal Science).

David Fraser wins the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded by the Governor General of Canada.


AWP alumni Cathy Schuppli (PhD 2004) appointed as Clinical Professor in the AWP.


Dan Weary, Nina von Keyserlingk, David Fraser successfully renew the NSERC IRC with industry partners.

Dan Weary elected President of the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada, and wins the Charles River Excellence in Refinement Award for his work on lab animal welfare (Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing).


Society for Humane Science, Canada’s first non-profit charity aiming to stop the use of animals in science, is co-founded by Lesley Fox and AWP alumni Elisabeth Ormandy, Sara Dubois, Geoff Urton.

AnimalKind, BC SPCA’s welfare accreditation and referral program for animal-related businesses, is launched by several AWP alumni, including Nicole Fenwick, Sara Dubois, Erin A. Ryan.


AWP alumni Kristen Walker (PhD 2010) is hired into the tenure-track educational leadership stream and expands course offerings to include Applied Animal Behaviour, Human-Wildlife Conflict, Compassionate Conservation, and field courses.


Nina von Keyserlingk awarded the Hans Sigrist Research prize in the field Sustainably Produced Food of Animal Origin (Hans Sigrist Foundation at University of Bern).

Humane Canada awards the UBC Animal Welfare Program its Leadership in Animal Welfare Innovation Award.


Dan Weary and Nina von Keyserlingk successfully renew the NSERC IRC with industry partners. The NSERC IRC in Animal Welfare becomes the longest-running NSERC IRC program with partners from the agriculture sector.

UBC hires Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova as the newest faculty member to investigate the welfare of companion animals in shelters, pet homes and service work.


Sasha Protopopova is awarded the NSERC Industrial Research Chair (2020-2025) in Animal Welfare, with funds provided by the BC SPCA.

The UBC Animal Program is ranked #1 amongst Animal Welfare Centres globally based on publications per organization (Animals). Researchers receive >5000 citations in a year in scholarly publications.


25 years after launch, 86 students have completed graduate degrees (52 MSc, 34 PhD), and the AWP program offers 15 unique undergraduate courses.

Sasha Protopopova leads the new Human-Animal Interaction Lab to facilitate research on canine cognition and animal-assisted interventions.

The AWP, celebrating Dr. David Fraser’s 50 years of research