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Keynote Speakers

HRH Princess Alia al Hussein

Islam and Animal Welfare - A Pathway to More Humane Slaughter Practices

We are honoured that HRH Princess Alia Al Hussein will speak at the symposium, presenting the work of the Princess Alia Foundation to improve animal welfare at slaughter in Jordan, including promotion of pre-slaughter stunning.


Prof. Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton

From Idea to Reality:  The Development of the Low Atmosphere Stunning System

Dr Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton is Professor and Director of the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing at the University of Arkansas. The goal of the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing is to improve animal health, animal handling, food safety and productivity. The work to develop and define objective measurements of wellbeing is essential to the Center’s goal and includes measures of behaviour, stress physiology, neurophysiology, immunology, and microbiology and production efficiency. In addition, the Center disseminates animal wellbeing practices and legal policy to public and stakeholder clientele. The Center is associated with the National Agricultural Law Center and the Departments of Poultry and Animals Sciences and provides information and research outcomes on animal wellbeing at national and international levels.

Dr Thaxton has spent more than 30 years working in the poultry industry, including as Vice President of Science and Technology at Marshall Durbin Companies and as Professor of Poultry Science at Mississippi State University. She gained her PhD from Auburn University, 1990, and, in 2011, completed a lawyer course in Animals in Agricultural Production at University of Oklahoma Law School.

Dr Thaxton sits on a number of advisory committees including the American Humane Association Scientific Advisory Committee; YUM! Foods Inc. Animal Welfare Advisory Council; Butterball LLC Animal Care and Well-Being Advisory Council; McDonald’s Animal Health and Welfare Committee; Safeway Inc. Animal Wellbeing Council, and the American Association of Avian Pathologists Animal Welfare Committee.

Dr. Mara Miele

Making slaughter of livestock acceptable to the consumer: How science, technology and religion affect the public debate about slaughtering practices

Dr Miele’s research addresses the geographies of ethical foods consumption and the role of animal welfare science and technology in challenging the role of farmed animals in current agricultural practices and policies. In recent years she has worked with a large interdisciplinary network of social and animal welfare scientists for developing innovative forms of critical public engagement with science that produced the EU animal welfare standard (Welfare Quality). She was also the coordinator of the EU funded project Dialrel (2006/10) that proposed recommendations for addressing the welfare of animals at time of killing, with particular attention to practices of religious slaughter.

In 2012, Dr Miele received the Ashby prize for the paper Miele, M. (2011) ‘The taste of happiness: free range chicken’, Environment and Planning A. Other recent publications include ‘Between food and flesh: how animals are made to matter (and not to matter) within food consumption practices’ Society and Space, 2012, with Adrian Evans, and ‘Civilizing the Market for Welfare Friendly Products? The Techno-Ethic of the Welfare Quality© Assessment’, Geoforum, with John Lever. 

Tozie Zokufa

Humane Slaughter: Is Africa there yet? Challenges and Opportunities

Tozie Zokufa is currently the chairman of the Pan African Animal Welfare Alliance, he is the project manager in Africa for the Humane Society International and he serves on the boards of Cape Town-based Soil for Life and the Kenya-based Africa Network for Animal Welfare. He was previously the country representative for Compassion in World Farming in South Africa, the manager for the Humane Education Trust and deputy editor for the Animal Voice.

Mr Zokufa worked for over a decade in both the private and public sector as a Meat Hygienist and veterinary public health practitioner. In 2010 he spear-headed the ‘One meat-free day a week’ campaign, which was endorsed by the city of Cape Town.  He has presented papers at the University of Fort Hare, University of Cape Town and Rhodes University, and at conferences in Kenya, Morocco and Brussels. He is author of a chapter in ‘Sustainable Food Security in the era of Local and Global Environmental Change’ published by Springer, 2013.

Denis Simonin

The European Commission’s work to improve food animal welfare at slaughter

Since 1999, Dr Simonin has been working at the European Commission, in charge of developing European legislation on animal welfare in the framework of the Directorate General for Health and Consumers. His main responsibilities are the implementation of the EU animal welfare strategy 2012-2015 as well as the EU legislation on the protection of animals at the time of killing (Regulation 1099/2009). He worked for the adoption of both texts as well as, in 2005, the EU legislation on the protection of animals during transport (Regulation 1/2005).

Prior to his current position, since 1985, he worked for the state veterinary services in the French Ministry of Agriculture, occupying different positions related to food safety and international veterinary issues at the central administration. He was also Director of the veterinary services in Rungis, near Paris, where the biggest wholesale market for food in France is located. He also worked on food safety in Québec, Canada,  and in South Africa.

Born in 1959, he grew up near Paris, France, graduated as a veterinary surgeon at the National Veterinary School of Nantes (1983) and obtained an MBA from Laval University in Québec City (Canada). 

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