Ruth is head of veterinary services at FAI Farms, an organisation which helps the food sector implement better farming practices. Since 2001, FAI have farmed and operated 1,650 acres of Oxford University farmland – collaborating with a number of scientific centres of excellence, including the universities of Oxford, Reading and Bristol.

Ruth scooped Ceva Animal Health’s Farm Animal Welfare Award, which goes to someone from the farming industry who ‘strives to provide or encourage high standards of ethical and compassionate farm animal welfare’. The award is supported by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I), farming’s oldest welfare charity. R.A.B.I, also based in Oxford, gives out grants of around £2m per year to farming people across England and Wales in financial need.

Lameness in sheep costs the farming industry an estimated £25m per year. Ruth believes the problems can be alleviated through a combined programme of culling badly infected animals, quarantining incoming animals, prompt treatments, vaccination and good practice to avoid spreading disease.

On receiving her award at a ceremony at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham on April 6, Ruth said: “We’ve got significant challenges going forward, feeding our growing population and doing that humanely, making sure that the welfare of the animals sits alongside other ethical issues such as the environment and also the economics of farmers being able to make a living.”

R.A.B.I corporate development manager Suzy Deeley added: “Many congratulations to Ruth on her deserved award. It’s a great honour for R.A.B.I to be involved in these awards as a farming charity. It highlights our work with the farming community as well as bringing to the forefront what Ceva is trying to do in terms of animal welfare.”

Launched in 2000, Ceva Animal Health is based in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and markets pioneering animal health products across various sectors, including livestock, swine, equine and poultry. Their annual awards aim to raise the profile of animal welfare within the veterinary industry.