Current activities and research programmes/projects

Current activities

  • Developing fresh conceptual frameworks for understanding animal welfare
  • Developing practical solutions to welfare problems.
  • Evaluating husbandry practices and systems.
  • Developing efficient and acceptable methods of pest control.
  • Preparing livestock industry and other animal welfare codes.
  • Devising and validating parameters for animal welfare assessment.
  • Preparing reports and analyses for clients.
  • Teaching animal welfare sciences, applied animal behaviour and ethics.
  • Analysing ethical dimensions of welfare problems and technological developments.

Anticipated future trends

  • Rising international concern for production animal welfare.
  • Rising market demands for livestock welfare certification.
  • Rising international concern for wildlife welfare.
  • Rising interest in fish welfare.
  • Animal-human interactions that improve welfare increasingly emphasised.
  • Animal cognition increasingly emphasised in welfare thinking.
  • Ethical concern about medical application of animal-derived biotechnology.
  • Rising public interest in the ethics of all animal-human interactions.

Specific areas of research

  • Behaviour scoring and predicting welfare outcomes in livestock.
  • Behavioural indices of motivation, temperament and welfare states in animals.
  • Brain developmental stage and the welfare of in ovo and newly hatched birds.
  • Brain developmental stage and welfare precautions in fetal and newborn mammals.
  • Comparative neurobiological development and animal welfare.
  • Further development and use of humane pain research models.
  • Effects of early pain on subsequent pain sensitivity in farm livestock
  • Husbandry pain and novel alleviation strategies in farm livestock.
  • Novel methods for evaluating pain in birds.
  • Sensory preferences in NZ parrots.
  • Dairy goat welfare in New Zealand with particular emphasis on lameness.
  • Dairy goat housing and substrate preferences.
  • Mortality and welfare of bobby calves.
  • Ranking humane vertebrate pest control methods.
  • Re-evaluation of routine euthanasia methods.
  • Aversiveness of gas stunning and killing methods for various species.
  • Evaluating specific attributes of ‘distress’ (breathlessness, exhaustion, nausea).
  • Breathlessness in brachycephalic dogs.
  • Dog ownership and management in New Zealand.
  • Positive welfare states: the experience of pleasure in animals.
  • Five Domains Model welfare assessments in diverse species and circumstances.
  • Quality of life assessment and end-of-life decisions.

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