Watch our discussion panel below (or listen here via our Spotify channel), where we were joined by David Allen from the RSPCA, Gaynor Davies from the British Hen Welfare Trust and Chris Bennett from Woodgreen Pets Charity, to discuss the welfare of pets being kept in the classroom.

In this session, we provide advice for schools who may already have animals, and also for those considering it, and also the impact that having pets in the classroom can have on both the children and animals.

BVNA recently launched a ‘Welfare of Pets in Schools’ toolkit, aimed at teachers, parents and veterinary professionals to provide education on promoting responsible pet ownership, and improving the welfare and conditions of animals already being kept in schools. This resource can be found here;


Kim Rathbone RVN, BVNA Honorary Secretary


David Allen

Head of Prevention Through Education – RSPCA

David is the RSPCA’s head of department for the prevention through education team, which includes digital resource development and the work at their four education hubs. They provide face to face programmes on animal well-being. Ensuring that animals are enjoying their best life is key to his motivation for this work and that is why the keeping of animals in schools is such an important area that requires deeper thought and clear policies. The RSPCA does not believe it is possible to keep animals successfully in a classroom setting and suggests alternatives that ensure the right messages are passed onto the next generation.

Chris Bennett

Head of Community Programmes and Partnerships – Woodgreen Pets Charity

After studying a BSc Animal Behaviour and working in zoos and dog behaviour and welfare, Chris’ current role is to design and lead support services for pet owners and their pets in local communities. This is delivered through a combination of education sessions in schools and community workshops through to practical hands on outreach work with pets and their owners to improve welfare and prevent relinquishment and abandonment. Chris has a strong passion and belief for preventative work and sees this as the key to this understanding the root causes of welfare issues. Chris is also currently studying a MSc in Human Behaviour Change to help gain a better understanding of how to achieve this.

Gaynor Davies BA (Hons) RVN A-SQP

Head of Operations & Welfare – British Hen Welfare Trust

Gaynor began her career in a multi-centre London small animal clinic where she trained and ultimately became Head Nurse. After 33 years a move to Devon led her to volunteer for the BHWT before eventually taking on the Head of Operations and Welfare role for the charity. In her spare time, she studied for and was awarded an honour’s degree with the Open University and gained her A-SQP qualification. Other interests include acting and singing in the local village choir as well as a passion for Borzoi (Russian Wolfhounds) which she has shown and raced.