Conference gives chance to shine as Hartpury students break new ground with animal welfare research

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From helping dogs to find a home to keeping rhinos fit, Hartpury students got the chance to present their groundbreaking research at a conference recently.

A group of students on Animal degree programmes at Hartpury headed to the 10th Universities’ Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Student Animal Welfare conference at Moulton College to present their own research to students and staff from other colleges.

Aleksandra Lipinska, Mary Barnfield and Charlotte Forkes all presented talks related to animal welfare science. The topics were as wide ranging as the link between body condition and activity levels in captive white rhinoceros at West Midlands Safari Park to motor lateralisation and xenophobia in dogs.

They also presented innovative equine research on rider attitudes towards horses being ‘on the bit’, and the impact of rider education on the understanding of horse performance and welfare.

Their fellow Hartpury students, Georgia Edwards, Emma Proudfoot, Chloe Yates, Stephanie Parfrey, Anna Haughey and Courtney Smith, all presented posters on their dissertation research. Chloe received the runner-up award for her poster, entitled: “Does video footage aid in the successful adoption of dogs in a rehoming centre?”

They also got the chance to find out about research developed by students from other colleges on a wide range of a subjects, from keeping and breeding budgerigars to the link between a dog owner’s lifestyle and the health of their pet. Dr Peter Kettlewell of Scotland's Rural College gave the keynote speech.

Lucy Clarke, who is Subject Manager for Hartpury’s Animal and Land Science degree students, said: “The students all worked incredibly hard on their dissertation research and it was fantastic to see them present their findings. Conferences like these are a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain experience of attending and presenting at a conference and share their research with their peers. That’s great preparation for the future, when they will potentially be presenting to much bigger audiences, including leading industry and academic specialists in their field.”

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