Leading Pig Welfare Researchers Receive Awards11 July 2014
UK & CANADA - The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) awarded two medals for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science at its recent meeting to Professor Mike Mendl of the University of Bristol and Professor David Fraser of the University of British Columbia. Both recipients have made a major contribution to pig welfare.
The 2014 winners were announced at the UFAW conference ‘Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science’ held in York recently.
The award 'recognise[s] the exceptional achievements of an individual scientist who has made fundamental contributions to the advancement of animal welfare over a number of years. The award is open to individuals whose research, teaching, service and advocacy has had international impact and significantly benefited the welfare of animals'.
Professor Mike Mendl, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Welfare in the University's School of Veterinary Sciences and Professor David Fraser of the University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, each received the UFAW commemorative medal and £3,000 in recognition of their exceptional achievements in the advancement of animal welfare over many years.
Professor Mendl is a leading animal welfare researcher and has worked on a wide range of species including companion, farm and laboratory animals, publishing over 100 peer-reviewed papers and 15 book chapters in both fundamental and applied research.
He has been a pioneer in the study of ‘cognitive bias’, investigating the links between cognition, consciousness and emotion in animals with co-researchers Liz Paul, Emma Harding, Oliver Burman and others. His first work on this subject, published in Nature, was highlighted by the Faculty of 1000 research panel as a ‘must read’ and has since inspired close to 50 published studies by other researchers.
His applied work, for example on factors affecting aggression and tail-biting in pigs, has also yielded knowledge of practical benefit to improving welfare.
Work by Professor David Fraser of the University of British Columbia Animal Welfare programme has greatly influenced the quality and direction of research in applied ethology and animal welfare science for more than 40 years.
He conducted some of the earliest research on the welfare problems of pigs, including individual housing of sows and early weaning of piglets. He also did pioneering work on the use of vocalisations to identify emotional states in animals, and studies of wildlife including the causes and prevention of highway collisions.
Professor Fraser has written several highly cited theoretical papers on the scientific study of animal welfare, summarized in his book 'Understanding Animal Welfare: The Science in its Cultural Context', published in the UFAW Wiley-Blackwell book series.
Together with colleagues Dan Weary and Marina von Keyserlingk, he has built a programme of animal welfare science at the University of British Columbia that is internationally recognised as one of the best of its kind.
Professor Fraser also plays a leading role in the development of global policy on animal welfare through his work with the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. His work is highly respected across disciplines including animal management, animal ethics and veterinary science.
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