Dal veterinarian honoured with national award for dedication to animal welfare in science

- April 29, 2021

Chris Harvey-Clark has contributed in many ways to the Canadian Council on Animal Care’s guidelines, including those on fish. (Provided photo)
Chris Harvey-Clark has contributed in many ways to the Canadian Council on Animal Care’s guidelines, including those on fish. (Provided photo)

Dal’s director of animal care has been recognized for his significant contributions to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC).

Chris Harvey Clark is the recipient of the 2021 Harry C. Rowsell Award for Outstanding Service to the CCAC. The award was named for the CCAC’s founding executive director, who devoted his life to promoting optimal care for animals in Canadian science. Dr. Rowsell’s deep personal commitment to the humane treatment of animals, and his belief in our ethical responsibility for their well-being, are evidenced through the many significant contributions he made during his career.

“Receiving the Harry C. Rowsell award for lifetime contributions in support of the Canadian Council on Animal Care came as a complete surprise to me,” says Dr. Harvey-Clark. “I count myself lucky in having an interesting and varied career, and I am honoured to receive this recognition from my colleagues – it’s kind of life-affirming. Most of all, I value the collegiality of fellow professionals in my field; they, and the institutions that have supported us as we have made change, should be sharing this award.”

Dr. Harvey-Clark has spent the last 35 years of his varied career as a veterinarian, senior administrator, and animal welfare advocate. Driven by the belief that good animal welfare leads to good science, he has made invaluable contributions to the ethical care and use of animals in science through the development of programs for large multidisciplinary teams, spearheading the construction of new research spaces, the clinical management of a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic species, and the promotion of science and natural history in the community as a writer, speaker, and documentary film creator. He has also contributed to the development of the Canadian Council on Animal Care’s guidelines on fish and has participated on dozens of assessment panels over the years.

A lasting impact

Dr. Harvey-Clark first came to Dalhousie University in 1994, as the director of animal care, with the challenge of turning around the institution’s probationary compliance status, which he achieved in only four years. He also initiated active investigator training programs and ongoing professional development for the university’s technical staff and graduate students. After working away from the university from 2004-2013, he returned to help create a three-campus animal care program and dedicate himself to marine and welfare research activities.

“I’ve had a fascination for animals and the sea since I was a kid,” says Dr. Harvey-Clark. “Being back at Dalhousie and rubbing shoulders with so many great scientists has helped my work in marine conservation — along with writing, filming, and hosting documentaries for the Discovery Channel, BBC, National Film Board of Canada, the History Channel and National Geographic.”

Dr. Harvey-Clark has also authored 36 papers, book chapters, and books, and made presentations on a myriad of topics related to animal welfare in science.

“Congratulations to Dr. Harvey-Clark on this well-deserved recognition from the Canadian Council on Animal Care,” says Alice Aiken, vice president research and innovation at Dalhousie. “His deep passion for animals, and dedication to their humane treatment has made a significant and lasting impact on the welfare of animals in science.”

Founded in 1968, the Canadian Council on Animal Care is the national peer-review organization responsible for setting, maintaining, and overseeing the implementation of high standards for animal ethics and care in science throughout Canada. 


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