Dr Kenny Rutherford

Research Interests

Kenny RutherfordMy main areas of research interest are in the assessment of animal pain, and the animal welfare implications of prenatal stress in farmed animals.

My current research focuses on behavioural development and the relevance of very early life (prenatal) experiences for later welfare in pigs, cattle and sheep. A recent Defra funded study also conducted a risk assessment for prenatal hazards in these species, and in poultry and farmed fish. Before that I worked on a BBSRC funded study investigating the effect of prenatal stress and tail-docking on pig welfare.

I have also worked previously on on-farm welfare assessment as part of a Defra-funded study comparing welfare measures on organic and non-organic dairy farms.

My PhD research, which was funded by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), related to whether fractal analysis of behaviour could be used to reveal alterations in the behavioural organisation of pigs and chickens under stress.

Research Projects

  • BBSRC: Perinatal programming of stress responses, nociceptive mechanisms and the welfare consequences [Completed]
  • Scottish Government: WP2.4 Livestock Welfare, Being fit for life - Optimising behavioural and stress reactivity [Completed]
  • Defra: Early environment effects on animal welfare, health and productivity (in collaboration with Prof Jimmy Turnbull at University of Stirling). [Completed]
  • Scottish Government: SPASE - Identifying the risks and quantifying the impacts of exposure to aversive early life events for livestock productivity (in collaboration with Prof Cathy Dwyer at SRUC and Prof Cheryl Ashworth at Roslin Institute)

PhD Students

  • Sarah Ison: ‘Addressing pain at parturition in pigs’ (with Prof Alistair Lawrence, Dr Susan Jarvis and Prof Cheryl Ashworth, Roslin Institute)
  • Carol Thompson: ‘Identifying barriers to pain mitigation in farm animals’ (with Prof Adroaldo Zanella, University of Sao Paulo and Dr Joanne Williams, University of Edinburgh)
  • Kasia Maslowska: ‘Effect of immunocastration on lamb behaviour, meat quality and welfare’ (with Prof Cathy Dwyer and Prof Eddie Clutton, R(D)SVS)
  • Leonor Valente: ‘Impact of prenatal and postnatal stress on offspring behaviour and epigenetic regulation of stress axis function in sheep’ (with Prof Cathy Dwyer and Dr Carl Stevenson, University of Nottingham)
  • Mayumi Fujiwara: ‘Impacts of stress and nutrition during the dry period on dairy calf health, welfare and production’ (with Dr Marie Haskell and Dr Alastair MacRae, R(D)SVS)


I teach on the ‘Biology of Suffering’ module within the University of Edinburgh MSc in Applied Animal Welfare and Animal Behaviour.

Selected Publications

  • Rutherford, K. M. D., Baxter, E. M., D’Eath R. B., Turner, S. P., Arnott, G., Roehe, R., Ask, B.,  Sandøe, P., Moustsen, V. A., Thorup, F. Edwards, S. A., Berg, P. & Lawrence, A. B. 2013. The welfare implications of large litter size in the domestic pig I: Biological factors. Animal Welfare 22, 199-218
  • Baxter, E. M., Rutherford, K. M. D., Arnott, G., D’Eath R. B., Turner, S. P., Jarvis, S., Sandøe, P., Moustsen, V. A., Thorup, F., Edwards, S. A. & Lawrence, A. B. 2013. The welfare implications of large litter size in the domestic pig II: Management factors. Animal Welfare 22,219-238
  • Rutherford K. M. D., Donald, R. D., Arnott, G., Rooke, J. A., Dixon, L., Mettam, J., Turnbull, J. & Lawrence, A. B. 2012. Farm animal welfare: assessing risks attributable to the prenatal environment. Animal Welfare 21, 419-429
  • Rutherford, K. M. D., Donald, R. D., Lawrence, A. B. & Wemelsfelder, F. 2012. Qualitative Behavioural Assessment of Emotionality in Pigs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 139, 218-224
  • Arnott, G., Roberts, D., Rooke, J. A., Turner, S.P., Lawrence, A.B. & Rutherford, K. M. D. 2012. BOARD INVITED REVIEW: The importance of the gestation period for welfare of calves: maternal stressors and difficult births. Journal of Animal Science 90, 5021-5034
  • Donald, R. D., Lawrence, A. B., Healy, S. D. & Rutherford, K. M. D.  2011.  Emotionality in growing pigs: is the open field a valid test? Physiology & Behavior 104, 906-913
  • Barnes, A. P., Rutherford, K. M. D., Langford, F. M. & Haskell, M. J. 2011. The effect of lameness prevalence on technical efficiency at the dairy farm level: an adjusted data envelopment analysis approach. Journal of Dairy Science 94, 5449-5457
  • Ashworth, C. J., Hogg, C. O., Hoeks, C. W. F., Donald, R. D., Duncan, W. C., Lawrence, A. B. & Rutherford, K. M. D. 2011. Pre-natal social stress and post-natal pain affect the developing pig reproductive axis. Reproduction 142, 907-914
  • Rutherford, K. M. D., Langford, F. M., Jack, M. C., Sherwood, L., Lawrence, A. B. & Haskell, M. J. 2009. Lameness prevalence and risk factors in organic and non-organic dairy herds in the United Kingdom. The Veterinary Journal 180, 95-105
  • Rutherford, K. M. D., Robson, S. K., Donald, R. D., Jarvis, S., Sandercock, D. A., Nolan, A. M. & Lawrence, A. B. 2009. Pre-natal stress amplifies the immediate behavioural responses to acute pain in piglets. Biology Letters 5, 452-454
  • Haskell, M. J., Langford, F. M., Jack, M. C., Sherwood, L., Lawrence, A. B. & Rutherford, K. M. D. 2009. The effect of organic status and management practices on somatic cell counts on UK dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science 92, 3775-3780
  • Rutherford, K. M. D., Langford, F. M., Jack, M. C., Sherwood, L., Lawrence, A. B. & Haskell, M. J. 2008. Hock Injury Prevalence and Associated Risk Factors on Organic and Nonorganic Dairy Farms in the United Kingdom. Journal of Dairy Science 91, 2265-2274
  • Rutherford, K. M. D., Haskell, M. J., Glasbey, C., & Lawrence, A. B. 2006. The responses of growing pigs to a chronic-intermittent stress treatment. Physiology & Behavior 89, 670-680
  • Rutherford, K. M. D., Haskell, M. J., Glasbey, C., Jones, R. B. & Lawrence, A. B. 2004. Fractal analysis of animal behaviour as an indicator of animal welfare. Animal Welfare, 13, S99-S103
  • Rutherford, K. M. D. 2002. Assessing pain in animals. Animal Welfare 11, 31-53

Dr Kenneth Rutherford


Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG

Telephone: 0131 651 9345

Fax: 0131 535 3121

E-mail: kenny.rutherford@sruc.ac.uk