The BVA Congress 2023 has announced that Professor Susan Michie will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Wooldridge Memorial Lecture. A distinguished figure in the realm of human behaviour change science, Professor Michie will discuss the profound implications of human actions on animal welfare.

The 56th annual Wooldridge Memorial Lecture, titled “People Power: how changing human behaviour can improve animal welfare”, is set to take place on Friday, 17th November, from 11am to 12.15pm at the BVA Congress Theatre during the London Vet Show (LVS).

Professor Michie’s expertise lies in her revolutionary research which examines how influencing human behaviour can promote better health and sustainability outcomes. She is the co-developer of the COM-B framework for behaviour change, an advanced technique which offers a holistic approach to developing behavioural change interventions.


Addressing Human-Driven Issues in Veterinary Context

The forthcoming lecture aims to present the significant issues encountered in veterinary practices which, unbeknownst to many, are a direct consequence of human behaviour. These issues range from the increasing problem of obesity in pets to the prevalent trend of purchasing or breeding brachycephalic and potentially dangerous dogs.

Furthermore, she will shed light on other areas of concern such as antimicrobial awareness, the misuse of medications by vets, farmers, and pet owners, and the rising phenomenon of under-vaccinating pets. Attendees will also have the unique chance to engage in a Q&A session during the lecture, and to converse with Professor Michie at BVA’s LVS show stand, M60.

Professor Michie, the Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London, commented on the upcoming event: “There exists a science of behaviour and behaviour change that is essential in addressing the myriad of animal health and welfare challenges. These challenges are often amplified or initiated by human actions. While common-sense strategies frequently fall short, there are evidence-based techniques at our disposal. Analysing this research in the context of the veterinary profession has been an enlightening experience, and I’m eager to delve deeper into this at the BVA Congress.”


Promoting Positive Change in Animal Welfare

Anna Judson from the British Veterinary Association added: “It’s always distressing to witness animals becoming ill or injured. The pain is more profound when such situations could have been avoided with the correct information. While these circumstances often lead to challenging dialogues among vets, farmers, and pet owners, Professor Michie’s lecture is poised to provide valuable insights and strategies. These tools aim to enhance the likelihood of fostering a positive shift in the future.”


A Legacy of Eminent Speakers

The Wooldridge Memorial Lecture series, initiated in honour of the esteemed veterinary politician and researcher Dr W R Wooldridge, has a rich history dating back to 1967. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Professor Lord Stamp. Over the decades, the series has been graced by influential speakers like the Princess Royal, Sir Robert May FRS, Dr John Bradshaw, Ben Goldacre, and Dr Temple Grandin, amongst others.