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Dr Fritha Langford

Research Interests

Fritha LangfordMy main research interests lie in understanding animal behaviour and how animals inter-relate with production environments, both intensive and extensive. Alongside colleagues, I am involved in the development of science-based and practical approaches to on-farm welfare assessment.

Since 2005 I have worked with dairy cows, investigating on-farm welfare assessment. I have been involved in a project to compare the health and welfare of cows reared on organic farms with those reared on non-organic farms. I am currently involved in a project investigating the relationships between genetics and the behavioural and physiological phenotypes of stress responses in growing pigs.

My PhD research, funded by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), investigated whether sleep could be recognised and characterised in sheep using non-invasive electrophysiological methods, and if disturbances to sleep could be used as a method of welfare assessment.  I have a strong interest in sleep, resting behaviour and circadian rhythms and how they relate to farm animal welfare and I hope to incorporate these interests into research in the near future.

Research Projects

  • BBSRC: Genetics of stress responsiveness in pigs. Carried out on a partner commercial breeding unit. Part of the perinatal programming of stress responses, nociceptive mechanisms and the welfare consequences project
  • Scottish Government: Identifying the challenges to welfare faced in extensive livestock systems and how well modern breeds are adapted to meet these challenges
  • Defra: The welfare of dairy cows in organic production systems. Comparing health and welfare on pairs of organic and non-organic dairy farms

Teaching And Supervision

I coordinate and teach the Farm Animal Welfare module on the postgraduate Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare MSc course run jointly by the University of Edinburgh and SRUC.

I also teach a variety of animal behaviour and welfare topics to SRUC undergraduates.

I have supervised a number of undergraduate and MSc postgraduate research projects in diverse areas of animal welfare science from sleep in sheep to pain in working donkeys.

Selected Publications

  • Langford FM, Rutherford KMD, Jack MC, Sherwood L, Lawrence AB & Haskell MJ (2008) A comparison of management practices and winter housing conditions on organic and non-organic dairy farms in the UK. Journal of Dairy Research Full Text
  • Langford FM, Baxter EM, Hollingsworth A, Brash HM & Cockram MS (2008) Characterisation of sleep in sheep using behaviour and non-invasive electrophysiological recordings.
  • Langford FM, Rutherford K, Sherwood L, Jack M & Haskell M (2006) Behaviour of dairy cows on organic and non-organic farms. Aspects of Applied Biology. 79: 39-42 Full Text
  • Langford, F.M., Brash, H.M. & Cockram, M.S. (2004) Effects of movement from grazing to novel indoor penning on sleep in sheep. In Proceedings of the 38th International Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (eds Laura Hänninen and Anna Valros and the Scientific Committee of the 38th ISAE Congress) pp60. Helsinki, Finland.
  • Langford FM, Weary DM & Fisher L (2003) Antibiotic resistance in gut bacteria from dairy calves: a dose response to the level of antibiotics fed in milk. Journal of Dairy Science. 86: 3963-3966 Full Text

Dr Fritha Langford


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

Telephone: 01316517448

Fax: 0131 535 3121