Press release

Final two members appointed to Animal Health and Welfare Board for England

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The final two members of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) were appointed today.

Richard Davis, a dairy and arable farmer from North Bedfordshire, and Jonathan Rushton, an economist and senior lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College have been invited to attend their first meeting on 7 February.

It takes the number of non-executive members to seven, including the Chair, Michael Seals. Each will be assigned a portfolio of responsibilities and will work with an extensive range of animal-keeping stakeholders.

Richard Davis farms 104 hectares in North Bedfordshire with 110 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows and 70 head of young stock. He is a Farmer Director of First Milk Ltd., vice chairman of DairyCo and a member of the National Farmers Union National Dairy Board. He is committed to improving dairy cow health and welfare. He has been a member of the English Cattle Health and Welfare Group and the Compassion in World Farming/RSPCA Calf Export Forum, and is a Privy Council Lay Member at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. 

Jonathan Rushton is an agricultural economist who specialises in the economics of animal health and livestock production - an interest that grew from living and working on the family dairy farm. He is involved in research in the UK and Europe, and has extensive international experience of livestock production and the control of animal diseases in South America, Africa, Nepal and South East Asia. During the response to the global avian influenza outbreak in 2006 he worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and he continues to provide advice to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)/FAO/World Bank Working Group on the global control of foot and mouth disease. He is currently a senior lecturer and researcher in animal health economics at the Royal Veterinary College, and a member of the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health.


The Animal Health and Welfare Board for England was announced on 26 April 2011.

Michael Seals was appointed Chair of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England on 8 August 2011. The first meeting of the AHWBE was held on 8 November 2011. Further details and the Terms of Reference for the Board can be found at

The first four non-executive members were appointed on 28 October 2011. All appointments followed a selection process in line with the principles of the OCPA Code of Practice.