A scientist whose research, teaching and writing has greatly contributed to the science of animal welfare has been honoured by the RSPCA and the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS).

Former Bristol vet school academic John Bradshaw was presented with the Award for Innovative Developments in Animal Welfare in recognition for his “outstanding commitment and contribution” to understanding companion animal behaviour.

After many years of study into the interactions between humans and animals, Dr Bradshaw founded the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Southampton in 1992, before it moved to the University of Bristol in 2003. As well as being a director of the institute, he has also held the positions of reader in companion animal behaviour and university research theme leader for animal welfare and behaviour. Although Dr Bradshaw is officially retired, he still writes scientific texts and remains a visiting fellow at the University of Bristol and lectures on a variety of courses.

He said: “I am delighted to accept this award, while acknowledging whatever contribution I have been able to make to animal welfare science has been a team effort, arising from the creativity, dedication and sheer hard work of all my research students and co-investigators.

“Companion animal welfare science remains a somewhat neglected field of work. My hope is this award will help raise its profile, enabling future generations of pet owners to be better informed of their animals’ needs.”

Acting head of the RSPCA’s companion animal science department Sam Gaines presented John with his award during a BSAS dinner at the University of Nottingham.

“John is focused on making science accessible to pet owners,” she said. “He pulls together the latest scientific knowledge and presents it in a way which is engaging for anyone who has an interest in cats and dogs.

“We believe to care for animals properly and to ensure their health and happiness, it is vital to have a current and evidence-based understanding of their biology and behaviour.

“I was personally delighted and honoured to present this award to John, having worked closely with him for many years and being lucky enough to have him as a PhD supervisor.”

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