AN OXFORD vet has been handed an award for her international work in championing farm animal welfare.

Ruth Layton, has been awarded the British Veterinary Association's Chiron Award for her contributions to improve animal welfare within supply chains of food brands.

Ms Layton, who co-founded Food Animal Initiative, in Wytham, Oxford, has driven progress in farm animal welfare within the supply chains of major food brands including McDonalds and Marks and Spencer.

She has served for many years on the UK’s Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), and is currently a trustee for the Food Ethics Council and the Farm Inspiration Trust, a charity offering activities for adults with learning disabilities on FAI’s working Farm in Oxford.

Ms Layton said she was 'truly honoured' to win the award.

She added: "It is recognition of the hard work, determination and bravery of the individuals I have worked with over the years to challenge the status quo in the food chain.

"There was a recognition of the urgent need to improve food production systems, particularly animal welfare, and I knew this could only be made the norm if we were to collaborate with some of the world’s biggest organisations.

"Thus we founded FAI Farms and the wider Benchmark Group and I’m proud to see the results in practice. The journey towards a sustainable food chain continues and I look forward to contributing in the years to come with a key focus on the shift from consumerism to citizenship."

Her passion for food sustainability in both local and global contexts also led her to establish a trust fund - ‘Fund For Sankalpa’ - in 2015, through which she funds food projects in the UK and microfinance projects of budding entrepreneurs in Africa.

The Chiron Award is presented for outstanding contributions to veterinary science or for outstanding services to the profession.