Animal behaviour authority Linda featured in new encyclopaedia

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Animal
Equine

Hartpury University’s Linda Greening has been published in the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia of Animal Behaviour following an invitation to share her knowledge.

Linda, currently programme manager for Hartpury’s Foundation Degree in Equine Performance and who specialises in equine behaviour, shared her knowledge in an article entitled ‘Stereotypies and Other Abnormal Behaviour in Welfare Assessment’ for the 3,000-page encyclopaedia.

The Encyclopaedia of Animal Behaviour is a comprehensive resource for researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students, and professionals in fields related to animal behaviour, including animal trainers and veterinarians.

As well as Linda’s article, the second edition of the publication includes contributions from animal behavioural science experts in the fields of evolutionary biology, physiology, endocrinology, neuroscience, and psychology, including the likes of Temple Grandin and Professor Donald Broom.

In the article, Linda explains how the behaviour of an animal in a domestic or captive environment, such as rocking by an elephant or pacing by big cats, might be indicative of poor animal welfare.

“I am absolutely passionate about animal welfare and how we can all help improve the lives of animals,” said Linda, who also recently presented her research investigating equine nocturnal behaviour at the 52nd International Society for Applied Ethology conference in Canada.

“I was extremely pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to the second edition of the Encyclopaedia of Animal Behaviour.

“Behaviour can be a useful welfare measure because even when physical health is apparently good, the animal may still have poor welfare.

“The domestic environment can present many psychological challenges, which we require the animal to cope with.

“Stereotypic behaviours have not been reported in free-living animal populations and can be indicative of sub-optimal environments in the domestic setting.

“There are many factors that affect how these behaviours can be used in the assessment of the state of the animal, but an appreciation of the individual’s previous experiences and the timeframe over which the behaviour has been observed, as examples, is essential.”

The conclusion of Linda’s contribution emphasizes that stereotypic behaviours can still occur even where the animal has access to optimal environments.

“This is due to neurophysiological changes and thus, preventing the occurrence of these behaviours may also negatively impact upon welfare,” she said.

“Finally, the absence of these behaviours should not be taken to mean that positive welfare has been achieved.”

Linda’s previous research within the Animal Welfare Arena and Equine Department at Hartpury has involved investigations into factors affecting nocturnal behavioural patterns and implications for equine wellbeing, alongside perceptions of positive equine welfare.

The expertise and experience of lecturers at Hartpury spans all areas of animal and agricultural sciences, and all staff are actively involved in research and knowledge exchange, either as researchers or practitioners.

Research is fully integrated within teaching, with staff research active in the areas in which they teach and many dissertations embedded in larger scale research projects.

All research activity either directly or indirectly informs not only current industry practice but also the curriculum.

Picture: Linda Greening at Hartpury

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