A key animal scientist has called on the government not to plug the current DEFRA funding shortfall by slashing its research budget.

Speaking at a recent reception in Westminster, Geoff Simm, president of the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS), said: “British animal science has achieved a great deal and we believe we need good animal science now more than ever to meet future challenges, such as climate change and soaring demand for food.”

Prof Simms highlighted that the threatened funding cut follows a 20% reduction in DEFRA animal science spending over the last decade.

“The future of several internationally-recognised UK animal science research groups depends on DEFRA funding. It takes decades to build such groups, and just a couple of years of underinvestment to seriously undermine them,” he said.