Chair of Global Animal Partnership’s Welfare and Farming Advisory Committee, Emeritus Chair in Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph, and President of the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada, Ian J.H. Duncan, Ph.D., is widely considered one of the world’s leading authorities on farm animal welfare science and has published more than 150 scientific papers. Dr. Duncan was honored as the first recipient of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare’s Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science during the UFAW International Symposium 2011 in the United Kingdom, in recognition of his exceptional achievements and contributions to the advancement of animal welfare.

I have been involved in the science of animal welfare for the past 45 years, both as a researcher and a teacher. I’ve have had the good fortune to have taught thousands of incredibly bright minds, students with real passion for improving the lives of farm animals.  I’ve also been part of ground-breaking research, including developing methods of “asking” animals what they feel about the conditions in which they are kept and the treatments to which they are subjected.

Before the establishment of Global Animal Partnership, I was becoming increasingly impatient with the fact that our expanding knowledge about how to provide good welfare conditions for farm animals was being accompanied by very little improvement in practice. Certainly, there were some good welfare labelling programs in existence, but they tended to engage with a small minority of the agricultural community and so helped only a few “lucky” animals.

Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards program engages the broad spectrum of industry through its multi-tiered approach—from its entry level of Step 1 through to the highest, Step 5+. The Step 1 standards move producers away from the intensive confinement practices that plague industrialized animal agriculture and yet are attainable for many who are inspired to strive for higher Step levels and continual improvement of welfare.

I am proud to serve as the Chair of the Welfare and Farming Advisory Committee and help build and grow the 5-Step program, which is already leading to a good quality of life for millions of animals and has the potential to improve the lives of billions.

—Ian J.H. Duncan