Two inspirational young animal welfare scientists share award

Dr Jamie Ahloy Dallaire and Dr Jen-Yun Chou jointly awarded the UFAW Early Career Researcher of the Year 2021 for their contribution to animal welfare

UFAW’s prestigious Early Career Researcher of the Year award has been jointly awarded to two people who have both made outstanding contributions to animal welfare – an incredible accolade so soon in their careers.

Dr Jamie Ahloy Dallaire and Dr Jen-Yun Chou impressed the panel with their commitment, dedication and innovation as well as the contributions both have already made to benefit animals.

CEO of UFAW Dr Huw Golledge said: “I’m delighted that we are able to recognise the achievements of two such promising early-career researchers this year. The committee recognised both their academic achievements and their dedication to sharing the message about animal welfare science. I look forward to following their careers as advocates for Science in the Service of Animal Welfare over the coming years.”

Dr Ahloy Dallaire is currently Assistant Professor of Behaviour and Welfare in Animal Production at Laval University, Quebec.  He gained a BSc in biology at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, a Masters degree and a PhD in Animal Behaviour and Welfare Research at the University of Guelph, Ontario, and completed his post-doctoral research at Stanford University, California. 

He was nominated for the award by Professor Georgia Mason from the University of Guelph, Canada who said: “Dr Jamie Ahloy Dallaire has an unusual combination of intelligence, originality, independence, initiative, statistical know-how, collegiality and excellent teaching abilities.”

While only five years post PhD, Jamie already has 24 papers published in peer-reviewed journals and a faculty position.  He has conducted practical work on enrichment for farmed mink and serves on the National Farm Animal Care Council’s Mink Code of Practice Amendment Committee.  His most important work to date is on the welfare of laboratory mice and how this can be assessed and affected by their home environment and on the causes, functions, and welfare significance of play. In addition to his work with NFACC, he also serves with the Canadian Council on Animal Care, sitting on two sub-committees helping to draw up welfare standards for animals used in research and teaching. He is currently working on robustness with respect to welfare in pigs, and on the welfare significance of play in piglets.

Fellow award winner Dr Jen-Yun Chou gained her MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare with Distinction at the University of Edinburgh in 2015.  She remained at the University of Edinburgh to do her PhD in Clinical Veterinary Sciences and, since October 2020, she has been undertaking her post-doctoral research at the Swine Teaching and Research centre at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Rick D’Eath, Reader in Animal Behaviour & Welfare and Dr Dale Sandercock, Senior Researcher in Veterinary Molecular Neurobiology, both of whom were Jen’s supervisors at SRUC and supported her nomination said: “... Jen-Yun stands out as being of the highest calibre…We are confident that Jen will continue to be a passionate and effective advocate of animal welfare, and to make lasting and significant additions to animal welfare research.”

Her published work includes five experimental chapters from her thesis and a further four other papers, including one as a first author, with another four currently in preparation – a hugely impressive output given she only completed her PhD in December 2020.  Dr Chou has also contributed 19 conference presentations from her PhD, 13 as first author, and was the winner of an early career award at the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) in Croatia 2018.

Dr Chou has attained a huge amount of experience and knowledge in how to optimise pig management in commercial systems in terms of animal welfare, collecting some of her data at commercial units. She presented her work to Irish farmers at a range of producer focused events and wrote articles for various technical and producer-focused magazines and newsletters, to help her work reach the audience where it would have most benefit for the animals.

The awards will be presented to Drs Chou and Ahloy Dallaire virtually on the first day of UFAW’s two-day conference Recent advances in animal welfare science VIII (held on 29-30th June). Both winners will present talks on their research during the second day of the meeting.  The conference will also feature talks and 120 poster presentations from animal welfare scientists across the world over the two days. Further information can be found at ufaw.org.uk/conf2021.