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Harper & Keele Veterinary School appoints chair in Sustainable Livestock Health and Welfare

Posted 1 December 2020

"It is no coincidence that the first of our appointments of this type highlights our commitment to sustainability in everything we do."

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Dr Jonathan Statham MRCVS

The Harper & Keele Veterinary School is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Jonathan Statham MRCVS, as Professor of Sustainable Livestock Health & Welfare.

The appointment complements the work of Dr Statham as Chief Executive of RAFT Solutions Ltd, a research, training, advanced breeding and consultancy company active in the fields of sustainable livestock production and food futures.

Dr Statham combines his clinical veterinary work and Chair of Bishopton Veterinary Group with that of RAFT in promoting a sustainable future for livestock farming. He has recently presented at the United Nations Climate Change COP25 Conference in Madrid and completed an invited lecture tour, presenting the work of RAFT and its collaborating partners in North America. In addition to being awarded an RCVS Diploma in Cattle Health and Production, he is an RCVS Recognised Specialist in that field.

He has held a wide range of senior positions in the veterinary and agriculture sectors including President of the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) and is currently a member of the Animal Health & Welfare Board of England (AHWBE).

Dr Statham’s work with Harper & Keele will lead on embedding sustainable livestock production as one of the key strategic focus areas for the UK’s newest vet school. This will include integrating sustainability into the teaching of production animal studies across the five-year programme. In addition, he will work with researchers at both Harper Adams and Keele universities with interests in sustainability, to bring clinical and industry expertise to current and future research and create a centre of excellence in this area.

Dr Statham said:  “Sustainable livestock health & welfare is of critical importance as we strive to understand and manage the challenges presented by food security alongside mitigating the impacts on our environment. Veterinary surgeons working in effective partnership with our farming clients offer a vital role in managing this fundamental balance. Scientific evidence is essential in finding an effectively sustainable way forward and equipping the veterinary surgeons and farmers of the future with this evidence base and skills starting from their very first days at Harper-Keele is an enormous opportunity. Combining education with leading research and making a real impact on how this balance in sustainable livestock health & welfare is delivered in society is the exciting and demanding vision that we will strive to achieve.”

Founding Head of The Harper & Keele Vet School, Matt Jones said: “This is a very exciting appointment for us. It is no coincidence that the first of our appointments of this type highlights our commitment to sustainability in everything we do. With the strengths in sustainable livestock research at Harper Adams and Keele’s justifiably impressive reputation for embedding sustainability in all operations, Jonathan’s role means we can have a focal point for this critical aspect of veterinary life. I’m particularly excited that it will enable our students and graduates to be literate in, and champions of, the practical application of a sustainable approach to clinical farm vet practice. Jonathan is still on the farm every week, helping his own clients ensure their livestock are productive whilst maintaining the health of the cattle and the planet.”

Professor Jonathan Wastling, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Natural Sciences at Keele University said: “We are delighted with the appointment of Dr Statham as a professor in the new Vet School. His interests in livestock health and welfare combined with a desire to see livestock production undertaken in a sustainable way are especially relevant to today’s vet students. It’s essential that the next generation of vets are able to understand and support the needs of livestock producers who are keen to see their industry adapt to the pressures that animal production places on the environment, whilst at the same time enabling the industry to thrive”.

Professor Michael Lee, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Harper Adams University, added: “I am delighted to welcome Jonathan to the vet school and look forward to working together to realise a world-leading centre for sustainable livestock which has research-led teaching of the next generation of veterinary scientists at its heart. The fact that our new vet school has attracted someone of the calibre and positioning in the industry, as Jonathan, is testament to the ambition the new Harper & Keele Vet School has in shaping the future of sustainable livestock to deliver animal, human and planetary health.”

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