Writtle News

Latest student animal welfare research presented

March 2018

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The latest student animal welfare research was presented at a leading conference at Writtle University College.

The studies looked at a range of issues, including how a back garden chicken’s dust-bathing acts like a dry shampoo on their feathers to how horses find horse walkers less stressful when they go on with an equine companion.

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.

Writtle University College is a LINK institution receiving financial support from UFAW for animal welfare activities.

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 Behavioural Science 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, Integrated Masters in 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



To find out more about studying animal welfare at Writtle University College, please visit

writtle.ac.uk/Courses