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Professor Henry Buller

Professor Henry Buller

Professor of (more-than) Human Geography



It is with deep sadness that we share news that our dear friend and colleague, Prof. Henry Buller, died at home with his family, on 2nd May 2023. His  intellectual curiosity, warmth, love of transdisciplinary and international connection, means he will be missed by many. Henry worked extensively on projects around farm animal welfare, the use of antimicrobials in animal care, and agricultural policy change. He edited the Routledge Human-Animal Studies Series and Sociologia Ruralis supporting scholars to shape more-than human studies. Henry’s exceptional generosity, compassion,  and sense of fun, means many will feel his loss very deeply. The Department of Geography at Exeter has lost a much loved recent Head of Department - Henry had been with us since 2003 and was a central pillar of our community. 

We invite contributions to a tribute page for Henry, where you can leave your email address to enable you to receive further information.


Henry Buller worked principally in the area of non-human geographies, notably animal geographies. He was involved in a number of national and international research projects and professional activities that sought to bring a critical social science understanding to the issue of farm and working animal welfare in contemporary production systems and food supply chains. He also worked on issues of wild species re-introduction and upon the conceptual and methodological approaches to social science framings and understandings of human/animal interactions.

Henry lead a major collaborative 4-year research project (DIAL 2017-2021), funded by the ESRC and other agencies, into the innovative use of diagnostic procedures in farm animal health to reduce antimicrobial use in livestock agriculture.

He was also completing, as Co-I, a three-year EU funded consortium research project entitled ‘Hennovation’, exploring innovative practice-led solutions to welfare issues in laying hen production.

Henry was a Visiting Professor at the Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU), Uppsala.

Henry Buller wrote and published widely on animal geographies, animals in the food sector and farm animal welfare, including a series of commissioned research reviews on ‘Animal Geographies’ for the journal Progress in Human Geography. He was co-author of the recently published book ‘Food and Animal Welfare’ (Bloomsbury Press, 2018) and was a contributory author to the Routledge Handbook of Human/Animal Studies and the Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies.

Henry Buller was an appointed member of the UK’s Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) and Chair of the FAWC/Defra Welfare at Killing group.

Henry Buller came to Exeter in 2003. Having worked  at Oxford Polytechnic in the 1980s, then at the CNRS Groupe de Recherches Sociologiques at the University of Paris 10 at Nanterre, Henry was, Maitre de conférences at the Department of Geography, University of Paris VII from 1990 to 2001, during which time he was also Director of the DESS ‘Espace et Milieux’ at that University. He was Professor of Rural Studies at the Countryside and Community Research Unit of the University of Gloucestershire (2001-2003).

He was a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and member of the Life Geographies research group


BA Hons (London)
PhD (London)


Research interests

Over the last 20 years, Henry Buller held a large number of research awards from a wide variety of funding bodies including the ESRC, the French Environment Ministry, the European Union, the French CNRS and others. He undertook research for a number of government departments and agencies and other bodies including MAFF/DEFRA, the Countryside Agency, the National Audit Office, the Forestry Commission, the OECD, the RSPCA and a number of local government bodies in Britain and in France.

Research projects

Recent funded research undertaken includes the following:

Animal Geographies

PI on commissioned research project entitled ‘Farm Animal Welfare and Agricultural Policy Change' (2002) for the RSPCA

Co I of the ‘Welfare Quality’ EU funded integrated research project leading a team investigating the commercialisation, marketing and retailing of animal welfare friendly food products in Europe (2004-2008)

PI: Constructing Quality - an EU funded Welfare Quality sub-research project into on-farm animal welfare assessment procedures within farm assurance schemes in Europe, with Emma Roe of the University of Southampton (2007-2008).

PI: ESRC Award entitled Understanding Human Behaviour through Human/Animal Interaction - part of the Research Council’s Understanding Human Behaviour Programme (2009-2010)

PI: awarded a DEFRA Research Fellowship in Social Science and Farm Animal Welfare, working with the Defra Animal Welfare team (2012/2013)

2013-2014 Co- Investigator with the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences on an Evaluation of the Healthy Livestock Initiative, funded by the SW RDA,

2014-2015 Co-investigator with the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences on a project looking at the the Welfare of Leisure Horses, funded by World Horse Welfare  

2014-2016  Co-investigator with the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences on  an evaluation of the socio-economic aspects of donkey welfare in developing countries funded by the Donkey Sanctuary.

2015 PI on Defra funded project on a study of 'Current practice in the use of antimicrobials in livestock farming' (January to April 2015)

2015-2017  Co-I on EU funded (Horizon 2020) project: 'Hennovation: Practice-led Innovation in Livestock Farming'.

Henry Buller was engaged in a number of other research projects and reflections around different aspects of farm and non-farm animal welfare, companion animals, zoos and broader areas of the bio-politics of human/animal relations.



Rural Geography / Rural Development / Agriculture

Co I: ESRC Research Award with Keith Hoggart of King’s College London entitled La Nouvelle Vague: British House Purchases in France (1991-1993, Award R000 23 3138)

French CNRS representative on the Management Committee of the EU COST research initiative on Rural Innovation (1999-2002)

Co I: An assessment of foreign product marketing, labeling and accreditation schemes and their applicability to the UK , for the Countryside Agency (2001),

Co I: Europe‘s Rural Futures (2001-2002), assessing the impact of the EU Rural Development Regulation in selected EU Member States for the UK countryside agencies and WWF Europe,

PI: Research review on Rural Population Change for DEFRA (2003)

PI: ESRC RELU ‘Developing Activities’ award (2005) The construction of interdisciplinary research into the rural economy in France.


Environmental policy

Principal researcher of the coordinating French team for an 18 month EU DGXII SEER Programme research project on the Integration of EU Environmental Policy: the example of water quality management in Europe, (Project PL 910169, 1993-1994)

French team leader for a three-year EU DGVI FAIR Programme research project on The implementation and effectiveness of EU Agri-environmental Policy (Project FAIR CT95 274, 1996-1999),

ESRC Global Environmental Change Research Programme Fellow (1994-1995) investigating The internationalisation of Environmental Policy: a comparative analysis of environmental policy evolution (Award L 320 27 3062).

PI for project Implementation of Natura 2000 policy in Europe (2002), for the Scottish Executive

PI: ESRC/NERC/BBSRC Award entitled ‘Eating Biodiversity: an investigation of the links between quality food production and biodiversity protection‘ under the Research Council’s RELU programme (2005-2007) which included research teams at IGER, the University of Bristol and the University of Gloucestershire.

PI: Ex Post Evaluation of the Countryside Agency’s ‘Eat the View Programme’, Countryside Agency (2007).

Co I: with the French research consultancy AscA, and drawing particularly on the sociology of oganisations and theories of ‘translation’, ‘The integration of biodiversity knowledges and policies into agricultural policy reform in the UK for the French Environment Ministry (2003-2006).


External Engagement and Impact

Committee/panel activities

Appointed member of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee

Appointed Chair of the FAWC/Defra Welfare at Killing Working Group

Former Member of the Executive Committee of the European Society for Rural Sociology

Appointed Member of the Comite d'Evaluation of INRA (France)

Member of the ESRC Peer Review Panel


Editorial responsibilities

Journal Editorship

Editor: Sociologia Ruralis (from 2002 to 2014)

Member of Editorial Board: Etudes rurales (2014-present)

Series Editor: Routledge Human Animal Book Series





Information not currently available

Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers


  • Rebecca Sandover (PhD)

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