White lab mouse being held roughly

Who we were: a brief CCSAW history

The University of Guelph’s ‘Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare’ was established in 1989 (the first of its kind in North America and second of its kind in the world), by a group of research biologists, veterinarians and philosophers concerned about the welfare problems of animals in agriculture and research laboratories. By funding research, hosting speakers and events, and creating awareness of animal welfare issues, they helped establish the study of animal welfare as an academic discipline.

Early members included Ian Duncan (our first Director), Denna Benn and Frank Hurnik – (all pictured in the slideshow below), along with philosopher Hugh Lehman; veterinary researchers David Porter and Andrew Luescher; and psychologist Hank Davis, who studied the human-animal bond and in 1993 set up the University of Guelph’s Research Animal Tribute (a memorial stone and annual event honouring these animals).

In 1996, the Centre was renamed after Colonel K. L. Campbell, after a generous bequest by his widow, Mrs. Mona Campbell. Passionate about animals, especially dogs and horses, her legacy still helps fund CCSAW today.

  • Ms Mona Campbell was the wife of Colonel Campbell. She is pictured here feeding 4 black labradors. Her generous bequest to the centre, continues our work today.
  • A black and white image of two men in military uniforms. The one of the left is reading a newspaper with a bold headline “Truce Signed” while the man on the left, Colonel K. L. Campbell, smiles while looking at the camera.
  • Professor Ian Duncan, pictured in this black and white photo with a chicken, was CCSAW’s first ever Director in the early 90s. Dr. Duncan was one of the first people to develop a scientific approach to ask animals what they want.
  • Professor Frank Hurnik in front of a backboard defining animal welfare
  • Denna Benn was one early CCSAW member, pictured here in the 1990s. She directed the university's Animal Care Services for many years, is now Chief Veterinarian at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
  • Anne Malleau, a CCSAW alum, pictured in the 1990s alongside her presentation on chick preferences.

Under the directorship of Tina Widowski (2006-2020), CCSAW grew and flourished further, recruiting new welfare scientists as faculty, developing new undergraduate and graduate courses, hosting international conferences, training people who work with animals, and contributing to policy.

CCSAW has now trained many dozens of students who went on to make a real difference for animals. Above we picture just one: Anne Malleau, who helped establish the Global Animal Partnership (a food labelling scheme setting high, evidence-based welfare standards for Wholefoods and other retailers). Our Graduate Alumni page features more!