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Contact details +6469518173

Prof Kevin Stafford PhD, MSc

Professor of Veterinary Ethology

Doctoral Co-Supervisor
School of Agriculture and Environment

Kevin is a veterinarian with an interest in animal behaviour and welfare. He is author or co-author of several books, including The welfare of dogs and The sciences of animal welfare, and over 200 refereed papers. He is interested in farm animal behaviour and welfare and has a special interest in dog and cat behaviour problems. He teaches animal behaviour and welfare to veterinary, agriculture, ecology and humanities undergraduates. He supervises a number of PhD and Masters students. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Veterinary Surgeons and the Australian New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. In his spare time he farms, gardens, fishes, hunts, reads and writes.

I teach animal behaviour and welfare to veterinary and agriculture undergraduates and supervise gradute students in these fields. My research is focussed on animal welfare andanimal behaviour.

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  • Doctor of Philosophy - National University of Ireland, Dublin (1987)
  • Master of Science - University of Edinburgh (1977)

Certifications and Registrations

  • Licence, Co-Supervisor, Massey University

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Animal welfare; welfare of farm and companion animals.

Wild horse management.

Animal behaviour. Companion and farm animal behaviour; behaviour problems and thier management and treatment.

Pain and its alleviation in sheep and cattle, painful husbandry procedures in livestock.

Lamb welfare and survival. ewe lamb behaviour at and following birth.

Behaviour problems in dogs, welfare of cats and dogs, pain in cats.

Facial expressions of of pain and pleasure in animals, wild horse control, pleasure in horses,

Animal welfare as a scientific, social and political issue in New Zealand.

Conflict between animals and human endeavours.


21st Century Citizenship, Resource Development and Management, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000): Agriculture, Land and Farm Management (070100): Animal Management (070203): Animal Production (070200):
Biological Sciences (060000):
Humane Animal Treatment (070207): Sustainable Agricultural Development (070108): Veterinary Sciences (070700): Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified (070799)


Animal behaviour and welfare.

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 4 13
Team Member 0 7

Current Projects

Project Title: Does mother know best? Mothers, fathers and sexual conflict in sex allocation

Date Range: 2018 - 2021

Funding Body: University of Canterbury

Project Team:

Completed Projects

Project Title: Indicators of good welfare in horse.

To develop a list of validated indicators for the Equine Code of Welfare for use by owners and handlers to assess the affective welfare of their horses.
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Date Range: 2011 - 2014

Funding Body: Use MPI -- Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry

Project Team:

Teaching and Supervision

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Main Supervisor 3 5
Co-supervisor 3 17

Current Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • Natalie King - Doctor of Philosophy
    Career change amongst NZ Veterinary graduates
  • Laura Hunter - Doctor of Philosophy
    Quality of sleeping and resting behaviour in dairy cattle and implications for cow welfare
  • Rachael Stratton - Doctor of Philosophy
    Positive emotions in animals using the horse as a model

Co-supervisor of:

  • Anna Palmer - Doctor of Philosophy
    Training, racing and career longevity of racing greyhounds in New Zealand
  • Yolande Baby Kaurivi - Doctor of Philosophy
    Assessing Animal Welfare Quality of Extensively Reared Beef Cows in New Zealand and Namibia
  • Kat Littlewood - Doctor of Philosophy
    The veterinarian's role in end-of-life management of geriatric cats in New Zealand

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • 2014 - Mark Farnworth - Doctor of Philosophy
    Pain assessment and alleviation in the domestic cat (Felis catus)
  • 2013 - Elsa Flint - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Social Significance of Barking in New Zaland Dogs (Canis familiaris)
  • 2008 - Mairi Stewart - Doctor of Philosophy
    Non-invasive measurement of stress and pain in cattle using infrared thermography
  • 2006 - Ngaio Beausoleil - Doctor of Philosophy
    The behavioural and physiological responses of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) to the presence of humans and dogs
  • 2005 - Janice Lloyd - Doctor of Philosophy
    Exploring the Match between People and their Guide Dogs.

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Emma Cuttance - Doctor of Philosophy
    Mortality and failure of passive transfer of immunity in New Zealand dairy calves
  • 2019 - Laura Elizabeth Deeming - Doctor of Philosophy
    Development of methods to evaluate hoof conformation and lameness in New Zealand dairy goats and the effects of trimming regimes on goat hoof health
  • 2019 - Clio Reid - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding attacks by kea (Nestor notabilis), an endemic parrot, on sheep (Ovis aries) in the South Island high country
  • 2019 - Stuart Brown - Doctor of Philosophy
    A search for biomarkers of ovine pre-partum vaginal prolapse
  • 2016 - Gabriella Gronqvist - Doctor of Philosophy
    The effect of maternal nutrition during mid-to-late pregnancy on ewe and lamb behaviour and the association with lamb survival
  • 2016 - Kirsty Chidgey - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Productivity and Behaviour of Sows and Piglets Housed in Farrowing Pens with Temporary Crating or Farrowing Crates
  • 2015 - Mirjam Guesgen - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Social Function of Pain-Related Behaviour and Novel Techniques for the Assessment of Pain in Lambs
  • 2012 - Ina Draganova - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding Nutrient transfers by live stock to improve fertiliser advice and to reduce negative environmental impacts
  • 2010 - Joanne Kerslake - Doctor of Philosophy
    Improving triplet lamb survival in New Zealand
  • 2009 - Troy Gibson - Doctor of Philosophy
    Electroencephalographic responses of calves to the noxious sensory input of slaughter by ventral neck incision and its modulation with non-penetrative captive bolt stunning
  • 2008 - Rene Corner - Doctor of Philosophy
    Exposure of ewes to stressors in mid-and late-pregnancy: Postnatal effects on the ewe and lamb
  • 2004 - Julie Everett-Hincks - Doctor of Philosophy
    Lamb Rearing Performance in Highly Fecund Sheep.
  • 2002 - Anne Ridler - Doctor of Philosophy
    Studies on #Brucella# #ovis# infection in deer.
  • 1999 - Roger Lentle - Doctor of Philosophy
    Feeding Strategies of the Tammar Wallaby (#Macropus# #eugenii# Desmarest).
  • 1999 - Elissa Cameron - Doctor of Philosophy
    Maternal Investment in Kaimanawa Horses.
  • 1999 - Wayne Linklater - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Social and Spatial Organisation of Horses.
  • 1996 - ~ Kusmartono - Doctor of Philosophy
    Nutritive Value of Chicory (*Cichorium* *intybus*) as a Special Purpose Forage for Deer Production.

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