Retiring Faculty Member: David Fraser
Animal Welfare Program co-founder retires
David Fraser came to UBC after a diverse career that included doing the first scientific research on the welfare of sows (1975) and the role of highway de-icing salt in road accidents involving moose (1981). He also had a side-career writing humorous verse as “poet laureate” of CBC’s national Saturday afternoon Radio Show in the 1990s, and published some scientific findings in verse.
In 1997, UBC approached him to move to Vancouver with co-worker Dan Weary to create the Animal Welfare Program.
Dr. Fraser has had many national and international roles in the animal welfare field. Among others, he was the founding secretary of Canada’s (former) Expert Committee on Farm Animal Welfare and Behaviour, a founding member of the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council (now Animal Health Canada), a founding member of the Animal Welfare Working Group of the World Organisation for Animal Health, and chairman of the international Expert Consultationon animal welfare of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. His contributions were recognized by his being appointed Member of the Order of Canada in 2005.
He says his proudest accomplishment is to leave the Animal Welfare Program in excellent hands, with Dan Weary, Nina von Keyserlingk and Sasha Protopopova as faculty members, six adjunct and associated faculty, 15 undergraduate courses being taught to hundreds of students each year, and roughly 100 MSc and PhD graduates who now occupy positions around the world in the humane movement, agriculture, veterinary medicine, government and academia.
His fondest memories at UBC are of the dozens of graduate students and hundreds of undergraduates who shared his interest in animal welfare.
To young academics he provides this advice: don’t hide your enthusiasm for your subject.