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SPCA appoints Dr Arnja Dale as Chief Scientific Officer

16 November 2015

SPCA appoints Dr Arnja Dale as Chief Scientific Officer

The SPCA has formed a new Animal Welfare Science and Education Department to be led by Dr Arnja Dale as Chief Scientific Officer.

This new department and position will provide scientific underpinning to the work the SPCA does nationwide and has been jointly established by the Royal New Zealand SPCA and SPCA Auckland, the country’s largest SPCA.

As Chief Scientific Officer, Arnja will help develop and lead this new department nationally. She will manage the animal welfare and education teams ensuring that the SPCA’s work is based on scientific evidence. Ultimately the role aims to improve the protection and welfare of New Zealand’s animals.

Prior to joining the SPCA, Arnja was a Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare at Unitec Institution of Technology where she ran the Animal Welfare Investigations programme. Arnja has a degree in Zoology, a Masters in Ecology, a Masters in Animal Welfare and a PhD in canine welfare. Arnja is also the Chair of the New Zealand Companion Animal Council and the Chair of the The Link Aotearoa.

RNZSPCA Chief Executive, Ric Odom says “Arnja’s passion and commitment to animal welfare and the humane treatment of all animals is a passion we all share at the SPCA. Her experience and skills bring new expertise to the SPCA that will make a real difference to animals in need. We have never had a dedicated role like this before.

“This role is significant as with it comes the opportunity to increase the pace of change for animal welfare and have all of our initiatives strongly grounded in science.

“We’re delighted with Arnja’s appointment and are confident she will continue to build on the great work that already exists as well as introducing new initiatives to protect and care for New Zealand’s animals,” says Ric.

Dr Dale says the SPCA currently carries out hugely important work, particularly through rescue of animals and prosecution of those who commit crimes against animals. As part of the SPCA team, she hopes to develop scientifically based animal welfare best practice that will help to create education programmes, policies and positions that will see fewer animals in need of rescuing in the first place.

“I am thrilled to be joining the RNZSPCA and SPCA Auckland as Chief Scientific Officer. This role is an exciting opportunity for me and I am looking forward to making a real impact to the work of the SPCA in areas of research and policy development,” says Dr Dale.

“I’ve worked in animal health and welfare most of my life and working for the SPCA means I can continue to use my skills to help some of the country’s most in need animals.”


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