Exmouth zoologist awarded honoured in Queen’s honours list

An Exmouth zoologist has been honoured in Queen’s birthday honours list.

Dr Margaret Jennings, a former pupil of Exmouth Church of England Primary School and Exmouth Grammar School, and head of animal welfare at the RSPCA, has been awarded an OBE for services to animal welfare.

At an investiture held in the Waterloo Room in Windsor Castle on October 20, the Princess Royal presented Margaret with her insignia as an officer of the Order of the British Empire.

This award recognised the very real improvements for animals that she has achieved.

Following her years at the grammar school, Margaret obtained a degree in Zoology from Nottingham University, soon to be followed by a PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Having spent a number of years as a research scientist dealing with animal health, she took up a position with the RSPCA as head of the department dealing with animal welfare within the controversial area of animal experiments.

For the last 22 years, she has dedicated herself to achieving a better deal for animals in science and industry, developing and promoting humane alternatives to replace animals, reduce suffering and cut the number of animals used.

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Recently, she has been working in countries in Asia and Eastern Europe to influence standards of animal welfare and legislation in these areas.

She said: “The RSPCA is a fantastic organisation, which I am very proud to work for.

“I have always wanted to help animals for as long as I can remember and I think it is wonderful that the work the society has enabled me to do on behalf of animals has been recognised in this way.”

“However, I have to admit to feeling both excited and nervous at the ceremony, remembering to curtsey at the right moment and cover a lifetime of scientific work in a short conversation with Princess Anne.”

Her husband, Professor Philip Mellor, received an OBE two years ago for services to science.

She added: “So we are both delighted to have been recognised for our work. We now have to decide where in our home to hang our vellums!

“I would like to pay tribute to my late parents, Henry and Florence Jennings, for their help and encouragement while I was growing up and accommodating the various small furry animals I brought home to nurse back to health.”