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Professor Becky Whay

Biography

Teaches
BVSc Veterinary Science

Meeting with horse owners in India

Becky was awarded her PhD from the University of Bristol in 1998 following work to improve methods of pain relief for UK dairy cattle, a field in which she continues to work.  She is now International Director for the Faculty of Health Sciences and a Senior leader within Bristol Veterinary School. In addition she leads a research team within the Animal Welfare and Behaviour research group.  Her research focusses on the welfare of UK dairy cattle and working equids in the developing world: lameness has been a continuous, but not exclusive, theme of her research in both of these species.  In both cases the problems she investigates affect large numbers of animals, for example an estimated 600,000 dairy cattle suffer with lameness at any one time in the UK and data suggest that nearly all of the estimated 90 million working equids in the developing world are lame, usually on all four limbs.  Her research has investigated the risk factors for, and welfare implications of problems such as lameness and she has gone on to develop and test intervention strategies to reduce these problems.   The development of methodologies to reduce problems such as lameness requires an interdisciplinary approach and has the potential to substantially impact the productivity and welfare of animals affected.  In 2015 she received the CEVA Farm Animal Welfare of the Year Award which recognised the impact that her work has had on improving the welfare of dairy cattle. In the case of working equids, the severity of lameness affecting an intervention study group reduced by 3 points on a 10 point scale, demonstrating that it is possible to improve the welfare of animals in impoverished communities.  Her use of systematic, scientific approaches to investigate and test solutions for animal welfare problems in the developing world has also had an impact on the way UK animal welfare charities address animal welfare problems and how they prioritize their work.