About our Authors

Paul Cook, RL Consulting Managing Director

Paul Cook has worked for more than 20 years in the international livestock industry. For the last 10 years, Paul has focused on developing and delivering assurance systems across global supply chains for the leading retail and food service providers. He has worked extensively across Europe, South America, Asia and South Africa. His principal interest is in poultry production, but Paul has also worked widely with pork production systems as well as other species. Paul has also worked to help clients engage with the key NGO's associated with the industry.

Prior to joining RL Consulting, Paul worked for 15 years in the commercial poultry industry, initially for one of the leading poultry breeders and then in senior technical roles for commercial broiler suppliers. His commercial experience extends across agriculture into feed milling, slaughter and food processing.

Karl Williams, Director, RL Consulting Ltd

Coming from a farming family, Karl Williams has nearly 15 years of practical experience in farming.  Having worked in a variety of roles Karl brings a practical understanding and knowledge from a wide range of livestock farming systems. He also has more than 10 years proven experience in auditing and inspection work and spent nearly four years carrying out international audits for a large retailer at both farm and abattoir level. During this time he was also a technical manager for a large UK-based agricultural commodity assurance programme.

He has been involved in the European Animal Welfare Platform for beef, dairy and pigs. His current role is project managing a pan European initiative for a global food service client and administering their farm assurance programme.

Ruth Clements, Veterinary Surgeon

Ruth Clements is a consultant veterinary surgeon specialising in farm animal medicine, husbandry methods and welfare. Currently, Ruth is dividing her time between practical veterinary work as part of a mixed general practice, and specific project work for the business.

The practical element of Ruth's work allows her to stay aligned with current challenges in agriculture and to keep up-to-date with ongoing advances in veterinary medicine. Ruth has been involved with project work for six years, spanning all species and she is the named veterinary surgeon responsible for the day-to-day practical and preventative medicine program across all species on our company farm.

Most recently Ruth has been involved in pig production projects looking at tail biting, free farrowing and sustainable feed provision. She is also involved in ruminant projects tackling sheep and dairy cow lameness, dairy calf colostrum provision, and forage utilization across sectors.

Ruth has a particular interest in multi-factorial health, welfare and production challenges.

Ashleigh Bright, Lead Scientist

Ashleigh Bright holds a BSc, MSc in biology and animal behavior from University of Waikato in New Zealand. From '02 - '04, Bright worked at NZ Crown Research Institute conducting farm animal welfare and conservation projects, including a two-month stay in Antarctica. Ashleigh came to Oxford University in '04 on a New Zealand government scholarship to complete her PhD work with animal welfare expert Marian Dawkins on laying hen welfare.

In '07, Ashleigh started work on the Model Farm Project with World Society for the Protection of Animals in China and Brazil. She is currently supporting the development of the newly launched trieSM program, supervising global scientific programs along with managing multiple research projects across Benchmark companies, including research within McDonald's supply chain.

Ashleigh's key interest is in robust science in a practical setting so that results are relevant, useful and help build and create sustainable food production.

Andrew Raybould, Senior Technical Auditor

Following formal agricultural training, Andrew Raybould spent 20 years in practical farm management, managing large livestock units and establishing a farm-based butchery business. Following the '01 foot and mouth outbreak, Andrew looked for a new direction and chose to establish his own farming operation while also working for the Rural Payment Agencies, followed by seven years providing auditing services to an EN45011 accredited inspection body.  He conducted animal welfare inspections on farms and abattoirs on behalf of supermarket clients around the world for all meat species.

In April '11, Andrew joined Benchmark Holdings where he divides his time between RL Consulting, carrying out worldwide consultancy audits on behalf of KFC, and the Fish Vet Group, where he conducts seafood audits on behalf of major retailers.