Professor Mike Mendl specialises in animal welfare and behaviour. His research focuses on cognition, emotion, development, individuality and social behaviour in domestic animals.
By enhancing our understanding of how animals perceive the world and by developing novel methods to assess animal emotion, Professor Mendl’s work has suggested new ways of tackling welfare issues, and provided new insights into the evolutionary function and measurement of emotional states. His work contributes to improvements in how farm and laboratory animals are housed and managed in the agricultural and research industries.
He has also contributed to the livestock industry’s understanding of why animals differ in their responses to welfare challenges, and how abnormal behaviour such as tail-biting in pigs develops.
Together with Dr Liz Paul, Professor Mendl developed a new approach to the assessment of animal emotion that uses changes in decision making – ‘cognitive biases’ – as markers of underlying emotional states. The approach is now used widely in research on livestock and laboratory animals, and in wild species and even inveterbrates.
“His research has enabled animal keepers understand how to look after their stock in a way which benefits their animals’ welfare and ultimately helps their businesses”.
RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer, James Yeates