our steering group

Laura Higham BVM&S MSc MRCVS

Laura Higham is a veterinary consultant in sustainable livestock production at the Food Animal Initiative (FAI), working alongside food businesses to drive sustainability in commercial supply chains, with a focus on animal welfare and responsible antibiotic use. Having previously worked in the NGO sector implementing projects to support animal-based livelihoods in Africa and the Middle East, she has an interest in the intersect between international development and animal health and welfare, and the wider roles of vets in society. Laura is currently studying for a PhD in antimicrobial use in agriculture at The Global Academy for Agriculture and Food Security at Edinburgh University and holds an MSc in international animal health. Laura is Vet Sustain's coordinator.

Navaratnam Partheeban BSc (Hons) BVM&S MRCVS

Navaratnam Partheeban is currently a dairy specialist for an American Animal Health and Nutrition company. Following a Zoology Honours degree from Manchester University, he studied Veterinary Medicine at Edinburgh University. Navaratnam has worked in clinical livestock veterinary practice, pharmaceutical industry and academia. His particular focus is on dairy production which has led him to achieve further qualifications in this area and conduct training and research in other countries including US, China and India. Along with a passion for increasing standards of care to livestock while trying to support sustainable production, he is also a campaigner for highlighting the importance of inner city farms for the urban population in the U.K.

Libby Kemkaran-Thompson MA VetMB MRCVS


Libby was a consultant in the city delivering Change Management/Business development before she then retrained as a vet.  She graduated 2011 from University of Cambridge with the Pfizer prize for Outstanding achievement.  A lifelong student of Behavioural Psychology she took the opportunity whilst there to also undertake a degree in Biological and Biomedical Science, major in Behaviour, specifically Neural Mechanisms.  She then spent 5yrs working as a Small Animal Clinician before a car crash left her unable to perform surgery.  She now uses her business consultancy skills with vets and corporate companies, delivering training and coaching on Management, Communications, Personal Success, and Sales Strategy.

Fay Marley-Cook BVSc(hons) PgC GPCert (SAM) MRCVS


Fay graduated from the University of Bristol in 2011 and worked as a vet in small animal practice since, completing a medicine certificate in 2018.  Fay is soon to leave clinical life behind and begin working for a pharmaceutical company as a Veterinary Advisor.  In the last year she has been campaigning to bring sustainability awareness to corporate practice and is excited about the impact Vet Sustain will have on the future of the veterinary world.

Sharon Boyd BA (Mod) Hons. NatSc (Zoo), MApplEnvSc, PgCUT, SFHEA, MSc e-Learning, CMALT


Sharon is a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and has been working in the digital education field for over a decade. Her research interests are in digital and sustainable education, with a particular interest in place-responsive education. Sharon joined the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in November 2007 as e-programme coordinator of the online postgraduate and continuing professional development (CPD) courses. In 2013, she took on the role of Director of the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice modules at Edinburgh. More recently, Sharon became Deputy Director for the MVetSci in Advanced Clinical Practice. Sharon also runs the fantastic blog The Sustainable Academic.

Marie Richardson BVSc MRCVS


Marie has always had a strong leaning toward farming, supporting herself through University by milking cows and goats, and kidding and lambing. She spent her first three years in mixed practice, then continued to locum in small animal practice, part time, in order to make time for her Masters. Marie lives on the stunning West Coast of North Ayrshire. Organics and extensive management fascinates Marie, being caught by the idea of low input systems with hardy breeds and a higher value product. She has always admired the goals of high welfare and reduced antibiotic and anthelmintic use in these farming systems. This led Marie to study for her masters in Research Methods in Holistic Agroecology. Throughout her journey, it has become obvious to Marie that the lines between so called conventional systems and alternative systems are becoming increasingly blurred. With the planet in crisis, Marie feels the goal of sustainability in farming is now a concern for all, with each approach to farming having invaluable ideas to contribute. Marie is about to start her final piece of research investigating how vets can contribute more effectively to sustainability in farming. She is looking at two areas, innovative techniques which are developing outside of veterinary knowledge and the relationship between vets and farmers pursuing sustainability.

Ruth Clements BSc (Hons) BVM&S MRCVS


Ruth Clements graduated as a Veterinary Surgeon from Edinburgh University in 2008 and has a degree in molecular biology. Ruth lives in Oxfordshire with her husband,  daughters and an assortment of animals large and small. She is head of Veterinary programmes at Benchmark, leading the founding sustainability principles to bring together practical actionable balanced solutions for farmers to some of our most challenging diseases. Ruth is best known for her work on lameness in sheep where her approach has now been accepted by industry stakeholders as the national control strategy against this disease, with prevalence levels and associated antibiotic use in the UK steadily declining. She now takes these principles into aquaculture, working across salmonids and Sea Bass and Bream in various regions.

Alexandra Tomlinson MA Vet MB MSc PhD Dip ECZM (Wildlife Population Health) MRCVS


Alex qualified in 1992 from Cambridge University Veterinary School. Following seven years in general practice, she had a spell working for the UK Government on Animal Health, followed by three years teaching animal science. Alex then specialised in wildlife health, undertaking the MSc in Wild Animal Health at the Royal Veterinary College/Institute of Zoology in London. A year in Cornwall developing wildlife pathology skills was followed by seven fulfilling years working at Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire on the epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis in badgers, where she also completed a PhD. Alex is now self-employed, dividing her time between a variety of wildlife-health and sustainable farming issues. Working in her specialist area of expertise (wildlife health), has led Alex to work more and more now on regenerative land management, striving to care more for ourselves, our animals (wild and domesticated), and our planet. Alex is particularly interested in the societal and environmental role our farming community has in regenerating our soils, rearing pasture-fed livestock, and re-establishing harmony with the natural world.

Gudrun Ravetz BVSc Cert Mgmt GDL MRCVS 


Gudrun is a Past President of the British Veterinary Association and Head Veterinary Officer at Simplyhealth. Gudrun is motivated to help the veterinary profession and wider stakeholders take positive control of their sustainability footprint through evidence based education and leadership.

Ellie West CertVA Dip.ECVAA MRCVS


Ellie graduated from Cambridge University in 2003 and she has been an anaesthetist since 2006; first as an intern at University College Dublin, Ireland, then as a Clinician-Teacher at the University of Liverpool and since 2013 as a clinical anaesthetist at Davies Veterinary Specialists.  Ellie became a member of the European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia in 2017 and is an RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia. She has recently completed the Identiplant botany course and is studying for Associate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management. She is the current Sustainability Lead at Davies Veterinary Specialists, who were awarded their Green level Investors in the Environment accreditation in 2019.

Simon Doherty BVMS CertAqV MRCVS MRQA CBiol FRSB

Simon Doherty is Senior Vice President of the British Veterinary Association. He is a past-president of the North of Ireland Veterinary Association and of the Northern Ireland Branch of BVA. Simon is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast and is a certified aquaculture vet. He is a trustee of livestock development charity, Send a Cow, and of the Animal Welfare Foundation.

Ruth Layton BVet Med MSc (Transpersonal Psychology) DWEL MRCVS

Ruth started her career as a veterinary surgeon in practice and developed a passion for those animals we eat as food in various cultures around the world, combined with a strong desire to care for them in a way which is relevant to them. In 2001, with two others, Ruth set up Benchmark Holdings which started life as a sustainability consultancy business with practical application on their own farms in the UK and then Brazil. Sustainability for Ruth is about caring for all kinds of people, all kinds of animals and the environment which sustains us and for the past two years she has held the role she always wished for – Group Sustainability Director. In 2014, after Benchmark floated the business, Ruth set up a trust called Sankalpa, which has allowed her to apply the expertise she has gained in sustainability more widely across the world to all kinds of community. Her developing understanding of the necessity for humans to evolve, and for us to know ourselves as part of a whole rather than as mere individuals in the context of sustainability, has been magnified through studies in consciousness, spirituality and transpersonal psychology over recent years. Ruth is now applying this more widely in her work and Vet Sustain is a welcome initiative on this path.

Anna Judson BVSc MSc MRCVS

Anna Judson qualified in 1987 before completing an MSc in Nature Conservation.

She was a partner in a mixed practice for 23 years and then director and lead vet of the small animal practice until September 2019. Anna is SPVS JVP and SPVS representative on the RCVS Practice Standards Group. Anna, with SPVS backing, has been working with other veterinary professionals to increase awareness of the need for sustainability to be integral to veterinary practice. This has resulted in sustainability in practice streams at SPVS VMG Congress Jan 2020 and at BSAVA Congress April 2020. There will be SPVS VMG regional cpd events following these.

Andrew Prentis BVSc MRCVS


Andrew qualified from the Bristol Veterinary School in 1981. He has wide experience of the veterinary profession, having worked as an assistant in several practices in the UK, as a hospital director for the RSPCA, as the technical director of a development project in Africa, and as director of a teaching hospital at the Royal Veterinary College before setting up and running his own practice in London for over 20 years.

Now retired from clinical practice, he campaigns for environmental protection, biodiversity and sustainability both in and around the veterinary profession. His particular areas of interest are at the micro level of reducing the environmental impact of individual veterinary clinical activities, but more importantly at the macro level of the overall carbon footprint and impact of the food and pet animal industries at a time of rapidly growing world population and changing climate.

David Black BVM&S DBR DVetMed MRCVS


David is Managing Director of Paragon Veterinary Group, a mixed practice in Cumbria.  His main clinical interest is in dairy practice, gaining his Diploma in Bovine Reproduction in 1998, and becoming an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Cattle Health and Production in 2003. He recently achieved his DVetMed (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) at Nottingham University, based on cattle advanced breeding and the effects of minerals on cattle fertility. Although he has recently retired from the Board of XLVets, he is still closely involved with several projects. David is also Managing Director of Activf-ET, a consortium delivering advanced breeding technologies to the UK cattle industry and beyond, which resulted from two successful Innovate UK supported projects, partnering with Semex and the Universities of Nottingham and Kent, working on ovum pickup (OPU), in-vitro production (IVP) of embryos and genomic analysis of embryos in cattle.  He is currently leading another Innovate/DFID project working to select, amplify and export appropriate cattle genetics to Zimbabwe and so support sustainable milk and beef production there. He is Senior Independent Director of the Veterinary Defence Society (VDS), Treasurer of, and representative of the UK on the committee of the World Association for Buiatrics and is a member and past Chairman of the Dairy Science Forum. Most recently he has been involved with VetSalus as Executive Chairman. This is an exciting innovative global collaboration of veterinary consultants working with food producers to improve animal health, welfare and sustainability;  wholesome food from healthy animals.

Sean Wensley BVSc MSc FRCVS


Sean Wensley is Senior Veterinary Surgeon for Communication and Education at the UK veterinary charity, PDSA. He qualified from Liverpool University and holds a Masters degree from Edinburgh University in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare. Sean has contributed to animal welfare and conservation projects on five continents. He is an Honorary Lecturer in Animal Welfare at the University of Nottingham and a Guest Lecturer in Animal Welfare at Queen’s University Belfast. He chairs the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) Animal Welfare Working Group and was President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) from 2015 - 2016. In 2017 Sean received the inaugural World Veterinary Association (WVA) Global Animal Welfare Award for Europe.


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