Biography

As a behavioural scientist, I study behaviour as a way of measuring Animal Welfare, and to understand and solve welfare problems which involve behaviour in captive animals, particularly farmed livestock. My research interests include: 1) Behavioural problems in pig groups, particularly: Social aggression (fighting and bullying), where I have long-standing collaboration with SRUC colleague Dr Simon Turner, looking for genetic and management solutions and seeking to understand how pigs assess each other during fights. Tail biting. Identifying practical means to predict, detect and prevent tail biting on farm. In collaboration with Danish Pig Research Centre and Teagasc in Ireland. 2) The problem of hunger in feed-restricted broiler breeders and dry (lactating) sows. These animals have high growth potential but must be rationed to be healthy adults. Can we find diets which restrict energy to ensure good health without chronic hunger? 3) The use of technology to improve management and welfare by monitoring behaviour on-farm. Developing machine-vision approaches based on video technology to automate behaviour recording.

 

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