Monday, August 5 2013 at 7:00PM

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72a Waterloo Street

Dr Fritha Langford

What's the talk about?

 Producing animal products for food is a truly global industry. Food animals that provide our meat, eggs and milk are traded across borders in staggering numbers. Also, international law, consumer pressure and retailer whims can have an effect on animals raised and slaughtered in countries a long way from the eventual consumption. Farms are getting bigger and ‘sustainable intensification’ is the new buzzword in agricultural research. But what is the scientific evidence related to animal welfare in these scenarios? We will discuss the question ‘is good farm animal welfare possible in a global food chain?’ by following this framework:


- What is animal welfare in the farming context?
- What are the major farm animal welfare problems with international trade?
- Can the ‘global’ aspect of the food chain be a force for improving farm animal welfare?


In a discussion that will cover all of the main farm animal groups of chickens, pigs, dairy cattle, beef cattle and sheep (and possibly fish too), we will visit every continent and hopefully show that good animal welfare is achievable where there is join-up between scientific evidence and investment.


Dr Fritha Langford investigates Animal Behaviour and Welfare at SRUC – Scotland’s Rural College. Her main research interests lie in understanding animal behaviour and how animals inter-relate with production environments, both intensive and extensive. Alongside colleagues, she is involved in the development of science-based and practical approaches to on-farm welfare assessment.


Since 2005 she has worked with dairy cows, investigating on-farm welfare assessment. She has been involved in a project to compare the health and welfare of cows reared on organic farms with those reared on non-organic farms, and she is currently involved in a project investigating the relationships between genetics and the behavioural and physiological phenotypes of stress responses in growing pigs.