Niemiec departs BAP, tapped to head new CSU center
April 19, 2023
Colorado State University is creating a resource for policymakers and government agencies to help them solve and avoid problems related to interactions between animals and people. The Animal-Human Policy Center will be based in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources in the Warner College of Natural Resources.
Rebecca Niemiec, an assistant professor at CSU and manager of the Bureau of Animal Protection in the Colorado Department of Agriculture, will lead the center as its inaugural director. Niemiec will step down from her position in the Bureau of Animal Protection to start this new role May 15.
The center’s goal is to bring together diverse stakeholders – which could include animal welfare professionals, farmers and ranchers, hunters, scientists, veterinarians and wildlife advocates – to help officials promote positive outcomes for people and animals.
Michael Manfredo, professor and department head of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and other researchers in the Warner College of Natural Resources have found that values toward animals fall somewhere along a spectrum; some view animals as a resource for human benefit and are more supportive of lethal control in managing human-wildlife conflict. Others view animals as part of their social community and are more focused on animal rights and protection.
Manfredo’s research has found that over the past decade, more people are focused on animal rights, which has led to increased conflict over animal-related policies.
Where some might see conflict, Niemiec sees opportunity.
“We’re in an era where people have a lot of strong emotions and connections toward animals, but everyone’s connections are different,” Niemiec said. “We have an opportunity to build on that passion to develop solutions that work for everyone.”
Niemiec worked with leaders from agriculture and animal welfare groups, law enforcement and veterinarians to develop and begin implementation of a strategic plan. The experience helped her understand how to develop plans that integrate diverse perspectives.
Source: Colorado State University