Prof. Georgia Mason

Prof. Georgia Mason, an award-winning behavioural biologist, has been named the new director of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) at the University of Guelph.

The first of its kind in North America, the Campbell Centre was established in 1989. It consists of core faculty members and dozens of associated faculty members across all U of G colleges.

“It’s a time of growth for CCSAW, so an exciting time for me to take the reins,” said Mason, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology who studies how animals respond to captivity. She holds the Col. K. L. Campbell University Chair in Animal Welfare.

“With our 11 faculty members specializing in animal welfare science and dozens of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, we are the largest animal welfare research group in the world,” Mason said, adding that about 50 U of G faculty members bring multidisciplinary expertise to the centre.

Her predecessor, Prof. Tina Widowski, established many graduate courses in animal behaviour and welfare, developed a training program for the Ontario SPCA, and strengthened poultry welfare research and teaching. Widowski became director in 2007 and was appointed Col. K. L. Campbell University Chair in Animal Welfare in 2009.

Intended to promote animal welfare through research and education, the centre raises and allocates funds to support collaborative activities across U of G, including an annual research symposium and a monthly seminar series.

“From its inception, CCSAW has brought together scientists from across the U of G campus to conduct research and education, informing how we improve the care of animals,” said Prof. Jeffrey Wichtel, dean of the Ontario Veterinary College.

He said Widowski’s collaborative approach fostered studies of animal care and welfare.

“I look forward to working with Prof. Georgia Mason as we continue to grow CCSAW’s global impact.”