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University LINKs Scheme

Ms Melissa Rudd
Equine Department
Email: mrudd@BrooksbyMelton.ac.uk



More than 90 students and staff from Brooksby Melton College, Hartpury College, Moulton College and Writtle University College attended the 13th Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Student Animal Welfare conference on Wednesday 21 March. The keynote presentation was entitled “In Conversation with Chickens”, given by Dr Siobhan Abeyesinghe, Head of Animal Welfare and Ethics group at the Royal Veterinary College. This was followed by research presentations and a poster event displaying the dissertation projects of more than 30 students.

The prizes awarded were:

BEST ORAL PRESENTATION - Caitlyn Cuthbert, BSc (Hons) Equine Behaviour and Welfare at Writtle University College

The Effect of Isolation on Equine Behaviour, Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability Whilst Exercised on a Horse Walker

Caitlyn Cuthbert and Rosa Verwijs

COMMENDED ORAL PRESENTATION - Charlotte Hood, BSc (Hons) Animal Management at Writtle University College

The back garden chicken’s preference of dustbathing substrate and the substrates ability to improve plumage quality by reducing the feather lipid concentration

Charlotte Hood and Jonathan Amory

BEST POSTER - Lucianna Churchill, MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy at Writtle University College

A systematic review: Common occurring injuries in performance dogs

Lucianna Churchill and Nick Selemetas

COMMENDED POSTER – Leighanne Mclean, Hartpury College

How well do nutrient components of dry, wet and raw dog foods meet the NRC’s recommendations?

Leighanne Mclean and Brian Evans


12th Annual UFAW Student Animal Welfare Conference – Hartpury College

On March 29th, students and staff from Moulton, Writtle and Brooksby Melton Colleges travelled to Hartpury to attend the 12th annual UFAW Student Animal Welfare Conference. At this inter-collegiate event, which is supported by the UFAW LINK scheme, final year students from the four colleges present the results of studies undertaken as part of their degrees.

Attendees listened to a range of talks from students at each college and browsed a diverse selection of poster presentations, on topics including assessment of dental disease in guinea pigs to an investigation into stress responses and coping strategies in horses. The day started with a thought provoking keynote speech from Professor Bob Elwood (Queen’s University Belfast) on ‘Assessing the potential for pain in invertebrates’. In his talk Professor Elwood presented the results of numerous studies that made a compelling case that many crustaceans do indeed feel pain.

Special congratulations go to the following students, who were awarded prizes for the quality of their work and presentations:

Best talk: Louise Cox (Hartpury College) ‘An assessment of dietary drift and why it occurs at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park’

Runner up: Lauren Dey (Writtle College) ‘The effect of anaesthetic in calf castration, assessed through behavioural observation and infrared thermography’

Best poster: Kate Bateson (Moulton College) ‘Rabbit energy requirements – temperature influence’

Runner up: Hope Williams (Brooksby Melton College) ‘Are their diffences in faecal pH levels if riding horses are fed on dry hay, soaked hay or haylage?’

Thanks to all those who attended and to the staff at Hartpury that were involved in organising the event, especially Lucy Bearman Brown.



Brooksby Melton College hosted the 11th Student Animal Welfare Conference for the first time on 16th March 2016. At this annual intercollege event, supported by UFAW LINK scheme, final year animal and equine students from Brooksby Melton, Moulton, Hartpury and Writtle Colleges present the results of work undertaken as part of their degrees.

Selected students from all four colleges presented and discussed their dissertation work, either as verbal presentations or academic poster, on topics that covered everything from ‘The Impact of Different Housing Types on Budgie (Melopsittacus Undulatus) Behaviour’ to a ‘Welfare Assessment of a Crash of Southern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum)’, housed at Colchester zoo with emphasis on a young male who lost its mother.

Special congratulations go to the following students, who were awarded prizes for the quality of their work and presentations:

Lynda Perkins (Writtle College) was awarded best verbal presentation for her study comparing short scrotum and conventional castration on growth parameters of lowland lambs. Runner up went to Hannah Richards (Hartpury College) who talked about the introduction of an unfamiliar conspecific as a social enrichment strategy for a Bengal Slow Loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) kept at Shaldon Zoo: which was a collaborative case study with Monkey World Ape and Rescue Centre

A special commendation went to Estelle Vickery (Hartpury College) for her talk on a qualitative approach exploring the psychological benefits of guide dog ownership

20 academic posters were displayed, the winner of best poster going to Vanessa Lockyer (Moulton College) for a study on dog skull shape and its effect on chewing. Runner up went to Melanie Smith (also Moulton) for her poster on measuring touch responses in tortoises using extension and retraction of the neck and limbs

Staff and students also listened to invited speaker, Catherine Hale CBiol MSB who gave an inspiring insight into her new research on the link between equine nutrition, health, behaviour and welfare.

Special thanks is due to Melissa Andrews who was the main organiser of the event.