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Professor Dr Rose-Marie Wegner was born on 16 March 1924 in Pegnitz/Tilsit. After an apprenticeship in agriculture from 1943 to 1945 she studied general agriculture in Halle/Saale and in Bonn. She received her Diploma in Agricultural Science from the University of Bonn in 1950 and graduated at the same University in 1952. Thereafter she was employed as a scientific assistant at the Institute of Animal Husbandry and moved in 1961 into the special field of Poultry and Small Animal Sciences. After five years of research and teaching in poultry, rabbits and fur animal production, she was appointed Professor and head of the Breeding and Management of Small Animals section. From January to June 1966 she was guest professor at the poultry science department of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. In 1976 she accepted the position of Director of the Federal Institute for Small Animal Research in Celle, where she worked until her retirement in 1989.
Rose-Marie Wegner joined the WPSA in 1952 when the German Branch was first established. She was elected as board member of the German Branch in 1962 and as secretary in 1972. In 1984 she was elected as secretary of WPSA and served in this position until 1996. She worked very hard over these years for the Association and it was not easy in those days as the automatisation level was low and the financial position of WPSA was poor, resulting in her personal sponsorship of the international organisation over many years. For this the WPSA has great respect for her work and contribution to the association.
In the beginning of her scientific career, Rose-Marie Wegner worked in poultry nutrition. Later she focused on rural work on poultry management systems. As a member of the working group IX, Poultry Welfare and Management, of the European Federation of WPSA she was in close cooperation with colleagues of other countries. In 1985 she organised the International Symposium on Poultry Welfare in Celle. She was actively involved in the development of non-cage systems for laying hens, including get-away cages and aviaries. Under her leadership the Institute of small animals in Celle became an important centre for the development of management systems. At that time the welfare of laying hens was a highly political issue in Germany and Europe, and as director of the research station, Rose-Marie Wegner was exposed to criticism from welfare oriented NGOs as well as of public media and egg industry. By virtue of her friendly but resolute approach, she was able to act as mediator between welfare organisations, farmer organisations and governmental authorities.
As a scientist and secretary of WPSA she was in continuous contact and shared ideas and information with many poultry institutes worldwide. On the basis of her scientific work and her merits as secretary of the WPSA she was accepted in the International Poultry Hall of Fame at the World`s Poultry Congress in Montreal 2000. To acknowledge the meritorious service as secretary of the Association she received also the Macdougall Award in Glasgow in 1994. Furthermore she was awarded the Order of merits of the Federal Government of Germany.
After her retirement she became an Honourable Member of the German Branch and continued participating in the activities and meetings of WPSA.
Rose-Marie Wegner passed away 13 April 2018 at 94 years of age.