Prosecutions for crimes against animals are set to rise following the creation of the Europe’s first integrated veterinary forensics service.
A unique partnership between the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey and ArroGen Forensics has led to the creation of the first forensic service, ArroGen Veterinary Forensics, dedicated to combating crimes against animals. This innovative service will arm enforcement agencies such as the RSPCA and UK police forces with robust forensic evidence to prosecute individuals for crimes against or involving animals. Equally, this robust forensic science can be considered by the court in acquitting those who have been wrongly accused.
Currently cases may not proceed to prosecution or prosecutions may be unsuccessful because there is a lack of forensic veterinary expertise. Evidence gleaned by the veterinary forensic experts from this service, backed up with research and training, will help provide the missing link to their investigations.
Led by Dr Alex Stoll and Jo Millington, this service will combine the expertise offered by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey and ArroGen Forensics, who both have a proven track record in their fields.
Dr Stoll, Lead Forensic Veterinary Pathologist at the University of Surrey and Operations Director at ArroGen Veterinary Forensics, said:
“A key objective is to provide the court with robust forensic science in cases of individuals who are accused of committing crimes against or involving animals. We are working closely with the RSPCA and UK police forces to optimise the scientific evidence that could form the missing link in their investigations.
‘’Another objective of the collaboration is to develop a strong social justice agenda with the aim of disrupting crime patterns. It is becoming increasingly well documented that animal cruelty can be used as a component part of domestic violence and there is a growing body of evidence to indicate that people who harm animals are more likely to abuse humans. We want to work with agencies to address the progression of animal to human criminal behaviour.’’
Jo Millington, Scientific Director and Lead Forensic Scientist at ArroGen Veterinary Forensics said:
‘’This unique collaboration brings together experts in animal diagnostics and research with specialists who have worked within the forensic sphere of the UK human Criminal Justice system for many years.
Why not apply the same principles to the investigation of animal crime? By harnessing our collective knowledge of forensic and animal science we are simply building on our existing infrastructure and experience as human medico-legal practitioners to offer a novel and focussed integrated animal forensics service.’’