OUR TEAM AT THE
Below you will find a list
of the people involved, or who have been involved, in applied animal behaviour research at the Western College of Veterinary
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Dr. Joseph M. Stookey, M.Sc., Ph.D.
B.Sc. Animal Science (
After completing a M.Sc.
Dr. Stookey spent the next five years managing the
1,000 ewe sheep flock and research unit at the
Dr. Stookey's research program focuses on the maternal and social behaviour of cattle, swine and sheep, plus the factors that influence handling and temperament in beef cattle. As an applied animal behaviourist he has aimed his research at improving the productivity and welfare in domestic food animals through the application and investigation of the behavioral processes. In addition to his research, Dr. Stookey lectures to the first year veterinary students on basic animal behaviour principles, plus gives presentations to producer organizations.
Dr. Stookey's is a member of the University of Saskatchewan Beef Systems Research Group and more details about his ongoing research program can be found by clicking here.
my perspective, becoming an applied ethologist was
like slipping on a pair of my favorite work gloves. I think I may have been
born an ethologist. As a young boy growing up on a
farm in southern
now focus on the behaviour of farm animals and more
and more on animal welfare issues. I grew up performing many of the routine painful
procedures we impose upon our farm animals and until I started my Ph.D. at
Research Scientist, Agriculture &
Ph.D. Applied Ethology (
Schwartzkopf-Genswein obtained here Ph.D at the
Her research interests include the assessment of management factors (specific feeding regimes and diets, bunk design, animal handling protocols, stocking densities, breed and social dominance) on the feeding behaviour, performance! and stressors in feedlot cattle. Her research is applied and provides leading edge information, training and consultation to feedlot managers, agribusiness and the feedlot industry.
Karen accepted a
position as a research scientist (Beef Welfare and Behaviour)
with Agriculture and
B.Sc. Wildlife Biology (
completing his master’s research on the risk factors and prevalence of stereotypies within the Pregnant Mare’s Urine (PMU)
industry at WCVM, Gerry completed a behavior residency at Tufts’
"Although my major area of interest is small animal clinical behaviour, the scientific approach to the study of behaviour gained at WCVM gave me a strong base that has served me well in a clinical setting. Understanding normal species-specific behavior is essential if you are going to treat perceived behaviour problems. In addition, I have taken a much more epidemiological approach to clinical behaviour.”
Sorry, Jon’s photo is presently unavailable.
Dr. Jon M. Watts, M.Sc., Ph.D.
B.Sc. Psychology (
While a psychology undergrad Jon's original plan to make himself employable as a corporate personnel manager was corrupted by an increasing fascination with animal behaviour and cognition. By the time he finished his bachelor's degree programme, he had logged more time observing sheep and pigs than humans! For his master's degree he studied handedness and laterality in several species of marmosets and tamarins. He obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Ethology with a study of vocal behaviour and welfare in cattle. At present, Jon is a postdoctoral fellow with the WCVM behaviour group, studying social cognition in dairy calves.
"Farm animals make excellent subjects for many kinds of behavioural studies. These studies can also make an important contribution to improving their welfare and management. I am particularly interested in cognition and social behaviour. In other words, how they see the world, how they think and how they interact with other members of their kind. To understand what makes them tick in this way is of fundamental importance if we are to understand how to treat them better."
B.Sc. Agriculture (
For her degree Jean studied the behaviour known as buller steer syndrome. More information about her research findings is available on the WCVM Reports and Articles section of this website. For any additional information about her research and what she's up to now please contact Jean by e-mail.
Dr. Derek B. Haley, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor, Applied Ethology
B.H.K. Applied Kinesiology (
Derek’s Ph.D. involved studies on behavioural
aspects of weaning stress in cattle. He came to the WCVM from Agriculture and
"I’ve always found watching animals fascinating and have always been interested in parent-offspring behaviour. The way we abruptly wean so many of our domestic animals is quite artificial. With cattle, imposed weaning dramatically disrupts the normal behaviour of cows and calves for several days. They get restless, call repeatedly, spend less time eating and pace the fencelines in attempt to reunite. Many newly weaned calves also fall sick just shortly after weaning. This is certainly an animal welfare issue. My research has focused on factors that affect cattle's response to imposed weaning and along the way we have made an incredible discovery -- a two-stage weaning procedure that virtually eliminates the changes in behaviour associated with traditional, abrupt weaning."
Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry
Veterinary College, Kerala Agricultural
University, Kerala India
“The best doctor in the world is a veterinarian. He can not ask his patients what is the matter-he’s got to know.” -------- Will Rogers
Born as the youngest son of a rural farmer in India, Thomas’ life has been intrinsically intertwined with animals and poultry. He completed a Bachelor degree in veterinary medicine from Veterinary College Mannuthy, Kerala, India in the year 1996. Then he went into practice and worked for 8 years as veterinary surgeon in the department of Animal Husbandry in Kerala. Thomas is now working on the impact of genetics on beef cattle temperament.
Temperament, disposition or mood of the animal can be defined as the way it reacts or 'behaves' in a particular environment. Simply observing without its knowledge from a distance can make subjective assessment of an animal's temperament. Earlier studies have shown that temperament is linked to the production traits such as growth and beef quality. It is difficult to handle animals with poor temperaments in paddocks or yards in commercial systems. Temperament is also shown to be heritable. But temperament is traditionally measured subjectively. This study uses objective tools such as MMD (Movement-measuring-device), strain gauge and Flight speed instrument to measure temperament. This work aims at finding possible correlation between genes and temperament. If we can say beef cattle with ‘these genes’ are wild it will enable us in future to exclude these ‘wild genes’ from the gene pool. So if we can evolve ‘tamer’ beef cattle through selection it will not only ensure animal and handler safety but also reduce production costs. So this project will throw more light on the inheritance of temperament and ultimately help in evolving easily manageable beef cattle. Contact Thomas by e-mail.