I joined AFBI’s Agriculture branch in February 2018 as Senior Scientific Officer. In that role, I perform scientific research on animal welfare, including all farm animal species.
I have a PhD degree from Sweden (2011) and an MSc degree from the Netherlands (2006), and have previously worked in Belgium (ILVO) and England (University of Bristol).
My previous research included a variety of species and welfare aspects, for instance assessing the effects of housing design, stocking density and enrichment on social behaviour, stress and health, setting up a commercial monitoring scheme for foot health, and using automated technology to monitor animal behaviour. This variety persists in my current position, with ongoing projects on tail biting in pigs, benchmarking the use of veterinary antimicrobials, and how different walking surfaces affect cow comfort, to name but a few.
Working with such a wide range of topics and species can be a challenge, but because it’s so varied my job is unlikely to ever get boring. In fact, this is one of the things I appreciate most about it. I’m hoping to start several additional projects this year, which would also allow us to expand the welfare unit substantially.
What are your hobbies?
I like to go outdoors, hiking or bouldering. Northern Ireland offers lots of opportunities for that and the scenery is stunning, so I’m really enjoying myself.
Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and what is its name?
I’ve always had pets, ranging from as small as a hamster to as large as a horse. But at the moment I’m away from home too much to take proper care of one, so sadly I have to do without.
What is the last book you read?
‘Milkman’ by Anna Burns
If you were stuck on a desert island and you could bring 3 things – what would they be?
Probably 3 loafs of dark brown bread. It’s not exactly desert-like around here, but I miss them on this island already! What’s with those soft white buns?
If you were stuck on a desert island and you could bring along 3 people – Who would you bring?
No one, they might steal my bread! Of course, I would regret that decision once I’ve eaten those three loafs…