A GLASGOW scientist has been recognised for her ground-breaking research into protecting animal welfare at slaughter.

The Humane Slaughter Association has announced that Dr Dorothy McKeegan from the University of Glasgow has been awarded the 2019 Humane Slaughter Award for her research into the welfare impacts of controlled atmosphere stunning.

Dr McKeegan pioneered the first comprehensive research into the welfare impacts of CAS and her findings had a substantial and international influence on poultry welfare, directly informing the choice of permitted gas mixtures for the killing of poultry in the EU (via the EU regulation 1099/2009 On the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing).

She is the Principal Investigator of a major new project, co-funded by DEFRA and the HSA, aiming to determine whether Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning in pigs can provide a humane alternative to stunning with carbon dioxide.

When asked about her hopes for the future in terms of animal welfare improvements, Dr McKeegan said: “My work aims to improve welfare conditions at slaughter. Poultry are especially challenging given the very large numbers of birds involved and their low individual value, but we have a responsibility to protect their welfare. I hope we can continue to make progress towards the goal of a good death for all farmed animals,” she urged.

Dr McKeegan has been at the forefront of educating future generations in animal welfare and ethics, both in under- and post-graduate study. Professor Malcolm Mitchell, who was one of the people who nominated Dr McKeegan for the award said: “She is an inspirational scientist, in a demanding area of welfare research, motivating and training the next generation of scientists to work in this challenging field.”

She is also the author of over 50 publications, 20 of which are directly related to welfare at slaughter and killing.

Chief Executive and Scientific Director of HAS, Dr Robert Hubrecht, said: “Collectively, Dr McKeegan’s work represents an outstanding and sustained contribution to the field of animal welfare at the time of killing. Her research has had significant real-world impacts, with ongoing influence both practically and in policy development.”