Animal Behaviour & Welfare

The Animal Behaviour and Welfare team conducts research with the aim of providing welfare solutions that are based on the animals’ experience, relevant to public concerns, cost-effective, practical and sustainable. Our main research themes are developing welfare solutions (e.g. housing, management, genetic, understanding behavioural development) and the development of scientifically valid, practical and reliable methods of welfare assessment.
The team has close links with academic and industrial collaborators and can access a range of farm systems operated by SRUC which are equipped for behavioural and welfare studies, including a purpose built pig unit.

Current areas of interest include:

  • Positive welfare and play
  • Improving adaptation of animals to the production environment through improved understanding of behavioural development
  • Maternal behaviour and neonatal mortality in sheep and pigs
  • Appropriate housing and management of the farrowing sow
  • Social behaviour in pigs: aggression and tail biting studies
  • Housing and management of dairy cows
  • Development of science based and practical approaches to welfare assessment, including welfare biomarkers
  • Evaluation of qualitative assessment as a practical tool for on-farm welfare surveillance and as a participatory approach to on-farm welfare management
  • Hunger in broiler breeder chickens
  • Pain and pain mitigation
  • Welfare of farmed fish
  • Integration of animal welfare science with social science


Mothers Matter

Mothers Matter

Mothers Matter: A new SRUC campaign launched by our animal welfare experts on prenatal animal care.

In February 2017 SRUC had the pleasure of hosting Professor Temple Grandin for a the three day workshop tailored toward and for the integration of all SRUC students. With the support of SFC UIF funding, a competition was initiated allowing SRUC students to vote for a scientist they would most like to invite to SRUC; Prof. Grandin was the favourite and during her visit gave the most insightful, thought-provoking reflection on her ground-breaking work in the field of animal welfare and handling.

Prof Cathy Dwyer

Team Leader - Animal Behaviour & Welfare

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

Telephone: 0131 651 9337

Fax: 0131 535 3121