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Prof Sarah Wolfensohn

Sarah Wolfensohn
  • Location: Surrey
  • Year of Fellowship: 2019
  • Route to Fellowship: Meritorious Contributions to the Profession

Field of work

Veterinary schools

Areas of special interest

  • Animal welfare
  • Ethics of animal use
  • Primate management

Areas of support

  • Collaborative research
  • One Health Agenda
  • Public engagement

Professional positions

  • Professor of Animal Welfare, University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine (0.6FTE)
  • Ethics panel expert for the European Research Council Executive Agency and the European Commission
  • Veterinary Non-Executive Director of the Veterinary Defence Society Ltd
  • Member of BVA Ethics and Welfare Advisory Panel
  • Member of the BBSRC Bioscience for Society Strategy Panel
  • Member of Shell International’s Animal Welfare Advisory Panel
  • Ad hoc Consultant for the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International


  • 2012: OBE for services to animal welfare
  • 2012: Honorary membership of the European Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinarians
  • 2010: The European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) communication prize
  • 2002: GSK Laboratory Animal Welfare prize for work on housing and husbandry of large primates used in research


Sarah’s first degree was in Physiology from UCL, she then read Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge.

She spent a number of years in general practice, first as an assistant, then a partner, during which time the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 arrived.

While still in general practice, she became Named Veterinary Surgeon for a number of small pharmaceutical and biotech companies in her local area. She was Head of Veterinary Services at the University of Oxford for nearly 20 years, leaving there in 2010. She then established an independent consultancy on animal health and welfare advising various sectors, including government, on animal welfare. She was a member of the Animals in Science Committee, and was closely involved in the Government’s development of its Animal Health and Welfare Strategy.

She is now Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Surrey Veterinary School. She is a Recognised Specialist of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behaviour Medicine (Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law) and holds the Diploma of the European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, and is a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Recognised Specialist in Laboratory Animal Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. She has published books, research papers and review articles; presented papers at international conferences and has served on a number of international committees and working groups to develop refinements to animal use and improve welfare.

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