The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) has announced the appointment of Dr Birte L Nielsen as Assistant Scientific Director of both UFAW and its sister charity, the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA). Birte will join the charities in September.
Birte brings a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge to the role, having spent nearly 30 years carrying out research in basic and applied ethology, the latter in relation to animal welfare, mainly in farm species. She has worked with and has published papers on, rats, growing pigs, dairy cows, broiler chickens and broiler breeders, as well as horses, cows, laying hens and even ostriches.
She spent the first 8 years of her career in Edinburgh, Scotland, completing a PhD on pig feeding behaviour and working as a post-doc on metabolic stress in dairy cows. She then moved to Aarhus University, Denmark where she was in charge of the research unit for Behaviour and Stress Biology. This gave her a broad footing in basic and applied ethology, and allowed her to partake in various expert panels and working groups, such as chairing the Danish Animal Welfare Council (2005-2010), and as a member (2012-2018) of the Animal Welfare working group at Anses, which is the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. She is a former President of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE).
Since 2010, she has been based in Paris, France, working on the links between olfaction, behaviour, and neuroscience. More recently, she has been concentrating on the study and modelling of feeding behaviour, this time with special emphasis on ruminants and in the context of Precision Livestock Farming.
UFAW’s Chief Executive and Scientific Director Dr Huw Golledge said:
“We are delighted that Birte will be joining the charities. As we grow our influence and focus on rigorous evidence-based approaches to animal welfare Birte will bring significant additional expertise to our science teams.”