The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

Professor Cathy Dwyer appointed Chair of Animal Welfare Commission

Professor Cathy Dwyer has been appointed as Chair of Scotland’s first independent Animal Welfare Commission.

Cathy Dwyer
Professor Cathy Dwyer

The Chair of Scotland’s first independent Animal Welfare Commission has been confirmed as Professor Cathy Dwyer, Director of the School's Jeanne Marchig International Centre of Animal Welfare Education. 

Announced as part of the Programme for Government, the Commission will focus on protecting wild and companion animals while also providing scientific and ethical advice to government.

The Commission, which will be chaired by Professor Dwyer, will specifically look at:

  • how the welfare needs of sentient animals are being met by devolved policy
  • possible legislative and non-legislative routes to further protect the welfare of sentient animals
  • the research requirements to provide an evidence base for future policy development


Animal welfare is a subject that I feel very passionately about so I’m delighted to announce Professor Dwyer as the first Chair of the independent Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, who will bring a depth of expertise and knowledge to the Commission.

I have tasked the Commission to look specifically at how our current policies take account of the welfare needs of sentient animals, what improvements could be made and report back to me with their conclusions.

I’m proud of Scotland’s high standards when it comes to animal welfare and believe this step will strengthen those standards even further. I look forward to working with Professor Dwyer to ensure we have the highest standards of welfare for our animals.

Mairi GougeonRural Affairs Minister


I am deeply honoured to accept the position of Chair of the Interim Scottish Animal Welfare Committee and am excited about the opportunity to make a difference to the welfare of all Scotland’s animals. I am delighted that the Scottish Government recognise the importance of animal welfare for wildlife,  farmed and companion animals and that acceptance of animal sentience will be central to government policy relating to animals. After 25 years working in research and education in animal welfare, I am looking forward to the new challenges ahead.

Professor Cathy DwyerDirector of the Jeanne Marchig International Centre of Animal Welfare Education. 

Professor Cathy Dwyer is also Professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Scotland’s Rural College and sits as a scientific advisor on various international animal welfare bodies, including the EU Animal Welfare Platform, the Global Animal Partnership, and Dogs Trust.


The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

Scottish Government Announcement


About the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than eight hundred staff and almost fourteen hundred students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.

The School comprises:

We represent the largest concentration of animal science related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.