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University LINKs Scheme

Writtle College (UK)

Jonathan AmoryDr Jonathan Amory
School of Equine and Animal Science
Email: jonathan.amory@writtle.ac.uk




17th annual UFAW Student Animal Welfare Conference
Writtle University College ONLINE        26th April 2023
Dr Jonathan Amory, Writtle University College

Undergraduate students from Writtle University College, Brooksby Melton College, Hartpury University and Moulton College took part in this annual research conference presenting their dissertation studies in animal welfare science. The conference began with a welcome from Professor Tim Middleton and words from Dr Stephen Wickens from UFAW. This was followed by an inspiring and interactive lecture from Suzanne Rogers from Human Behaviour Change for Life entitled 'Applying the science of behaviour change to help animals'.

This year introduced the 30 second flash talks to entice conference attendees to go online to look at student posters. Main presentations were:

  • The Visitor Effect on Captive Raptor Behaviour at a Falconry Centre in the UK (Ellie Martin and Ben Brilot, Hartpury)  - winner of the Best Presentation award 
  • An evaluation of stress-related behaviours comparing the intramuscular and intradermal needle-free vaccine on piglet welfare (Ellie Breeze and Isabel Lewis, Writtle)
  • A Taxonomic Bias Study with Management Implications (Nathan Scott and Melanie Reynolds, Moulton) 
  • Would pre-purchase spinal x-rays (that rule out ‘kissing spine’) increase buyer confidence and horse welfare when purchasing former racehorses for continual riding? (Erin Hall and Helen Tedds, Hartpury) 

Lily Hewitt-Bennett (Writtle) won the Best Poster award for her study "An investigation into, and a comparison of peak pressure and pressure distribution under a general-purpose saddle, racing exercise saddle, and race saddle at a walk". Megan Read and Katie Townsend also presented posters on behalf of Writtle University College. All the posters can be viewed here: https://www.library.writtle.ac.uk/ufaw2023

Many thanks to Helen Tedds, Jane Carruthers and Nicola Field at our partner institutions and Dr Stephen Wickens UFAW. Special thanks to Mary Davidson, David Hopkinson and Eleanor Drinkwater for their support.


16th annual UFAW Student Animal Welfare Conference
Hartpury University ONLINE        27th April 2022
Dr Jonathan Amory, Writtle University College

This year it was the turn of Hartpury University to host the annual UFAW student animal welfare conference, the 16th of such events. Undergraduates and postgraduates from Writtle University College, Brooksby Melton College and Hartpury University presented the results of research undertaken as part of their degrees.

As usual the students presented on a diverse range of issues, including social interactions between white rhino calves and other animals in a mixed species exhibit, effects of milk replacer on piglet welfare and the welfare of agility competition dogs. Prizes were also awarded for the best, and highly commended presentation.

In addition to the confidence the students showed in presenting and talking about their work, they also answered questions from their fellow students intelligently and very competently.

Chloe Nicholls from Writtle University College won the commended presentation award for her talk: “An investigation into interactions of white rhinos, with specific mention to calves, within a mixed enclosure at Colchester Zoo.”





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 2017, 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.


The Ninth UFAW Student Animal Welfare Conference was held at Writtle College on Friday 28th March 2014

Photo: Prize winning speakers and poster presenters Dr Stephen Wickens from the Ninth UFAW Student Animal Welfare Conference (left to right, Elise de Tourtoulon-Adams, Samuel Davies, Dr Stephen Wickens, Gemma Barby and Kimberley Lawrence)

Students and staff from the founding colleges, Hartpury, Moulton and Writtle were joined by newcomers Brooksby-Melton for an inspiring day of talks and poster presentations of undergraduate dissertation projects in the field of animal welfare. Dr Steve Waite, Principal of Writtle College, officially opened the conference by emphasising the importance of scientific methods of investigation.

Dr Stephen Wickens was this year’s guest speaker from the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare and talked about UFAW’s long history in animal welfare science (since 1926) through to major scientific developments relating to laboratory and companion animals that have come from UFAW-sponsored undergraduate and postgraduate work.

This was a really exciting meeting, with excellent talks and presentations enthralling the 130 delegates, including aspiring researchers from Writtle FE programmes. Prizes and commendations for speakers and poster presenters were:

Best oral presentation = Samuel Davies (Writtle College) for his paper:

The Impact of Sterilisation on the Roaming Behaviour of Street Dogs as Part of a Rabies Control Programme in Kathmandu, Nepal. Samuel Davies and Jonathan Amory

Commended oral presentation = Kimberley Lawrence (Hartpury College) for her paper:

Canine obesity: owner knowledge and perception. Kimberly Lawrence and Brian Evans

Best poster = Gemma Barby (Moulton College) for her paper:

The effects of a novel Global Positioning System (GPS) tag on the behaviour and welfare of rehabilitated European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus). Gemma Barby and Emily Howard-Williams

Commended poster = Elise de Tourtoulon-Adams (Writtle College) for her paper:

The effect of visitor density on the behaviour of Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) during feed displays at Colchester Zoo. Elise de Tourtoulon-Adams and Sife Chikunya


Photo: Dr Carlos de Luna, Dr Jarmila Bone and Dr Jonathan Amory with Rebecca Hunter (BSc Animal Management) and Yvonne Owen (PhD student) attend the BIAZA research conference at Chester Zoo July 2010.Writtle College has a wide range of research projects in the field of animal welfare, studying zoo, companion and livestock species. The UFAW link money is currently used to support attendance (and sometimes hosting) the Student Animal Welfare Conference that is held annually between Hartpury, Moulton and Writtle College. It is also funds a prize for the best BSc dissertation project in the field of animal welfare.

In April, Writtle College, with assistance from the UFAW link scheme, hosted the sixth ‘Student Animal Welfare Conference’. This annual conference, which is for students attending Writtle, Hartpury and Moulton Colleges, featured talks and posters from undergraduate and postgraduate students at these institutions. The presentations covered a wide range of topics from all areas of animal welfare related to farmed livestock, horses, companion animals and zoo species. The plenary talk was given by Professor Don Broom of the University of Cambridge who spoke about “Awareness in domestic animals and our obligations to them”.

Prof. Don Broom with presenting students from Moulton and Writtle College

Prizes were awarded on the day and congratulations are extended to Harriet Stevens (Writtle College) for best oral presentation and Claire Parker (Moulton College) for best poster presentation.

For further details click here.