Animal Welfare Foundation welcomes new Chair - Veterinary Practice
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Animal Welfare Foundation welcomes new Chair

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) has announced Somerset veterinary surgeon Julian Kupfer as the new Chair of its board

Julian originally joined the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), which is the British Veterinary Association’s animal welfare charity, as a trustee in 2016 and served as deputy chair since 2019. In November he replaced Chris Laurence, who had been a trustee at AWF since 2011 and the Chair since 2016.

Julian has many years of experience in the veterinary profession, having cut his teeth in mixed practice concentrating on livestock after graduating in 1980 from the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science. He was a partner in a large veterinary hospital in the South West of England for ten years.

Since leaving practice, he has worked in senior management in the service sector industry, gained a Masters in medical law, and spent many years in the pharmaceutical industry. He is now an independent consultant providing veterinary, technical and marketing advice to pharma companies in companion animal and livestock sectors.

Commenting on his appointment, Julian said: “I am daunted and thrilled in equal measure to become Chair of AWF; this is a most significant cause of genuine importance to me and it truly is a privilege to have been appointed.

“It comes as no surprise that it is a challenging time for the charitable sector and the veterinary profession but I hope to build on all the exceptional work from the AWF team and Board and feel ready for the tasks that lie ahead.

“I don’t think any of us can go through veterinary practice without sometimes seriously reflecting on welfare issues we have met or perhaps realising one hasn’t given certain welfare aspects enough thought or made mistakes – I hold my hands up here and some memories still haunt me.  An understanding of welfare is not something that can be gained from a book or a seminar but comes from continuous learning and engagement. 

“That’s why I am fortunate to be part of AWF in that we will air and debate sometimes uncomfortable issues and commission relevant high-quality, evidence-based research with an egalitarian approach. Our activity with students is an area I particularly enjoy and believe helps encourage their thinking about welfare to the betterment of our profession and the animals under our care.

“Of course, this comes at a cost: AWF has funded almost £2 million worth of research and we need to raise more funds so we can continue and increase the amount of research we commission. Our work is entirely funded by donations, legacies and corporate sponsors, so we are reliant on the generosity of our supporters. A look at our website will demonstrate the fantastic work AWF has to date. Please do get in touch with us if people wish to donate – that would be brilliant.”

Julian praised Chris for his time as Chair and everything he has done for the charity, saying: “Chris is a phenomenon and an almost impossible act to follow. I would like to take this chance to thank him for his tireless work, expertise and dedication to AWF.

“Thanks to his admirable leadership, AWF has continued to progress and is in a fantastic place. I hope we can build on this foundation to ensure the charity continues to improve the welfare of animals across the UK.”

On Julian’s appointment, Chris added: “Being Chair of AWF has been a highlight of my career and I have been proud to be part of the charity. I am sad to be stepping down but I have every confidence that Julian will continue to steer the charity in the right direction and wish him all the best for his time in the role.”

To find out more about AWF or donate visit their website.

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