Her appointment as director was announced jointly Tuesday (Jan. 21) by Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture, and Willie M. Reed, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Croney, who will work in both colleges, will begin her new role Feb. 1.
The center's mission is to promote the welfare of animals through innovation in research, education and outreach. It hosts the largest collaborative group of scientists in the U.S. working in a variety of related fields and brings together diverse, cross-disciplinary approaches to animal well-being issues in animal and poultry science, veterinary medicine, psychology, philosophy, genetics, public health and zoology.
"Members of the sciences and animal industries are often perceived as being uncaring or tone deaf on issues pertaining to animal well-being," Croney said. "Purdue's investment in creating a Center for Animal Welfare Science is a timely and necessary step toward changing this perception. The new center will permit exploration of both the scientific and socio-ethical issues underlying public concerns."
Croney will lead a center that includes scientists and educators from the colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine and the Livestock Behavior Research Unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. Her responsibilities will include soliciting both traditional and nontraditional sources of extramural funding for the center's research and outreach activities, serving as spokesperson and resource person on public policy welfare issues, and disseminating knowledge, guidance and expertise of animal welfare science through a variety of media.
She also will be charged with developing and maintaining national and international relationships with leaders in animal agriculture, animal welfare faculty at other universities and institutions, nongovernment organizations and the public.
Croney's research in animal behavior and well-being includes the interactions between animal behavior, cognition and well-being; the effects of rearing environments and enrichment on animal behavior and welfare; the ethical implications of animal care and use decisions; and public perceptions of animal agriculture.
Akridge said Croney's expertise and her research on the ethical implications of animal care and use decisions, and on public perceptions of animal agriculture align with the center's mission.
"She is a national voice on animal welfare issues, and we are excited about the leadership she will bring to the center," he said.
Reed said Croney's leadership of the center is vital to the future of animal agriculture, the veterinary medical profession, and the well-being of both animals and people.
"I am confident she will enable the center to provide much needed leadership nationally on fundamentally important issues related to animal health and welfare, thereby bringing increased prominence to Purdue," he said.