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Honorary animal degree at Unitec graduation

4 April 2006

Honorary animal degree at Unitec graduation

There is a direct link between how we care for animals and how we care for each other, says Bob Kerridge, who is receiving an honorary degree at Unitec New Zealand’s graduation tomorrow.

Bob is the Chief Executive of the Auckland SPCA and has spent much of his life campaigning for the better treatment of animals. He is receiving Unitec’s new Bachelor of Applied Animal Technology (BAppAnTech) at the ceremony in the Auckland Town Hall.

The first 13 students from the BAppAnTech programme will receive their degrees at the ceremony and Bob says his honorary degree came as a pleasant surprise. “There is a need for higher level qualifications such as this in the animal welfare sector. Whether graduates become veterinary technicians or communicators promoting animal welfare, they will need more skills than ever before.”

An author of a book, Talking for the Animals, and the subject of the biographical book Father and Son, Bob continues to raise awareness of animal welfare issues through the influential Animals’ Voice publication and his regular magazine and newspaper articles and radio broadcasting.

He became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005 and he says that there is a growing acceptance of the need for humane treatment of animals.

“Caring for animals brings out the caring for each other, which is why the animal welfare message is so important, and I think people are more aware that treasuring animal life is a good human attribute.”

Unitec animal behaviour professor Natalie Waran says that Bob’s work made him the logical choice for the honorary degree. “He is well-recognised and respected and has been a longtime supporter of the BAppAnTech programme.”

Collaboration with the Auckland SPCA has been beneficial for BAppAnTech students, says Professor Waran, and resulted in opportunities to conduct research that has real world applications.

“Our relationship with the Auckland SPCA has provided students with opportunities to gain practical experience at the centre while studying. We’ve also been able to develop research projects with Bob and his organisation, such as our nationwide study last year of the effects of fireworks on pets, and we have six more research projects in the pipeline this year.”

More than 1000 people from Unitec’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are graduating at the three ceremonies, with hundreds taking part in the Queen St procession beginning in Albert Park at 9.30am.

What: Unitec New Zealand graduation
Where: Auckland Town Hall
When: Three ceremonies on Wednesday 5 April


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