- PhD title: Animal Welfare in EU Agriculture: Public and Private Standards of Relative
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background (including previous study)
I graduated from the University of Hull in 1992 with an LL.B.(Hons) Degree (2.1) and the FW Taylor Fund Prize. Thereafter, I was awarded an LL.M. International Business Law with Distinction in 1993, also from Hull, together with the Andrew Marvell Jackson Fund Prize for General Performance and Andrew Marvell Jackson Fund Prize in European Community Law.
Employed as a researcher in European Community Law at the University of Hull (2003-2005).
Senior lecturer in the Law School at the University of Lincoln, having taught European Union (EU) since 1995. Currently teach EU Law, Land Law and Environmental Law (UG) and EU External Relations Law and EU Internal Market Law (PG Masters).
What motivated you to undertake a PhD and why did you choose the University of Leeds?
I have always wanted to research for a PhD. Working full time meant that this came later on. It was my developing interest in animal welfare and EU law that spurred me on. The University of Leeds was recommended to me and, in particular, my supervisor, Professor Michael Cardwell, Professor of Agricultural Law at Leeds Law School.
Please tell us about your research topic and what makes you passionate about this area of study.
My research examines animal welfare governance in agriculture with a focus on EU farm animal welfare law, its international animal welfare objectives together with those of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the EU common agricultural policy. Public and private animal welfare standards exist alongside each other, yet the inter-relationship between these standards and their respective inter-institutional balance is uncertain in law. Indeed, the extent to which there should be public regulation of private animal welfare standard setters and accreditation bodies is core. It explores the implications of standardisation as a voluntary marketing tool and soft-law hybrid governance. Integral to this thesis is the developing interface between public and private animal welfare standards, i.e. transnational animal welfare regulatory regime interaction and the global agricultural food chain.
The assurance of higher standards of farm animal welfare for food-producing animals is a primary aim.
How would you describe the research environment and community in the school and in the university generally? Are you involved in research centres and/or do you work with other academics and postgraduate researchers whether inside the school or across the university?
I am impressed by the collegiality between staff and students and inclusiveness of the latter in the Law School at the University of Leeds. The Graduate School is openly dedicated in its encouragement of its postgraduate researchers (PGRs). Very many valuable opportunities are presented and regularly communicated to its PGRs.
What would you say about the learning, training and research facilities in the School and at the University?
There is an extremely supportive team of School administrators, readily accessible electronic information, first-rate library research facilities and an excellent programme of training and development in all aspects involved in the journey towards completion, submission and defending your PhD.
Do you take part in any activities outside of your study? (eg. clubs and societies at the union or perhaps activities in the School).
(Sorry, my working commitments have prevented this.)
What are your plans once you have completed your PhD?
To publish a book and to continue to research in a topic which has given me such interest and fulfilment, inspired by the outstanding supervision, encouragement and support which I continue to receive within Leeds Law School.
What do you think of Leeds as a city?
Leeds is an international city and shopping centre.
What would you say to someone considering a research degree in the School?
‘Most definitely, and without any hesitation, go for it!’
Are there any other highlights of your PhD experience so far that you would like to tell us about (eg. any awards, conferences, publishing achievements or social events)?
Yes, thank you, bolstered by the excellent exchange of ideas and knowledge between my supervisor and me, I have successfully published in peer-reviewed sources and Leeds Law School acknowledged this in the Graduate School’s Newsletter.