BSAS 2024: The role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy

Oregano oil supplementation in dairy cows increases milk production and reduces methane emissions

Oregano oil supplementation in dairy cows increases milk production and reduces methane emissions

Key takeaway message: Supplementing oregano oil in the diet of dairy cows can improve milk production, reduce methane emissions, and maintain feed efficiency, providing a palatable alternative for improving the sustainability of livestock production.

Agricultural systems contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with ruminant livestock responsible for up to 14.5% of global GHG emissions, primarily via enteric methane (CH4). While carbon dioxide has a long-lasting impact on global warming, CH4 is a short-lived climate pollutant. Various methods measure CH4 emissions in cows, such as respiration chambers, face masks, and gas-flux quantification systems. Dairy cow CH4 production depends on diet composition, with higher fibre concentrations increasing emissions. Strategies to reduce enteric CH4 include seaweed, essential oils (e.g., oregano), and synthetic compounds. These approaches show promise in mitigating CH4 emissions while potentially enhancing animal health and milk quality. This study aimed to understand if adding oregano oil (OO) to cow diets can increase feed conversion efficiency, improve milk production, and reduce CH4 production.

Data collection occurred between December 2016 and August 2017. The study involved 52 dairy cows (primiparous, n=22; multiparous, n=30) to investigate the effects of adding OO to their diet. Cows were divided into three groups: one received none, one received OO for 60 days after calving, and the other received OO 21 days before calving until 60 days after calving. Factors including feed conversion efficiency, milk yield, milk composition, and CH4 emissions were measured to compare the three groups.

Key findings included:

  1. Methane emissions:

Cows offered OO produced approximately 10% lower CH4 emissions per cow compared to those not offered OO. This reduction in CH4 was consistent with earlier in-vitro studies indicated that OO, and its component carvacrol, could reduce enteric methanogenesis, although differences were noted due to limitations in replicating the complex rumen microbiome in-vitro.

  1. Rumen fluid and fatty acid concentrations:

Despite lower CH4 emissions, no significant differences were observed in rumen fluid composition, including volatile fatty acid levels and acetate-propionate ratios. This aligns with findings in other studies, indicating that OO supplementation does not alter rumen fermentation or microbial activity.

  1. Milk yield and composition:

All milk-related parameters were greater in cows offered OO except concentrations of milk fat and milk protein, milk urea and somatic cell count. This is consistent with previous studies suggesting that OO positively influences milk production, fat synthesis, and lactose concentrations.

  1. Feed conversion efficiency:

Feed intake and feed conversion efficiency did not differ between cows offered and not offered OO. Live weight and body condition score also showed no significant differences, indicating that OO supplementation is palatable and does not impact these parameters despite increased milk and protein yields during early lactation.

In summary, this study supports OO supplementation to mitigate CH4 production and increase milk yields in dairy cows without impacting feed intake, thus improving the environmental sustainability of livestock production. Further research is recommended to explore the long-term effects and practical applications of OO supplementation in dairy cow diets.

This study was carried out by Emily Hancock in fulfilment of her BSc in Agricultural and Livestock Sciences at the University of Nottingham. Emily is now working an agricultural labourer within the farming industry and has ambitions to build her career as a farm manager. Well done, Emily!


Summary by: Lucy Ross, Sustainability Consultant, Promar International





Obituary: Gerald Wiener

Reprinted by kind permission of ‘The Scotsman’, in which it appeared on 03/11/2023

Gerald Wiener

Gerald Wiener PhD, DSc, FRSE, CIBiol, FRSB, passed away peacefully at home on 28th September 2023, aged 97. Gerald was born on 25th April 1926 into a German Jewish family in what was then Küstrin in Germany, but is now Kostrzyn in Poland. However, he spent his early childhood in Berlin against the background of rising Nazi persecution of the Jews. In 1939, with WW2 approaching, he came to the UK as a 12-year old unaccompanied child as part of the ‘Kindertransport’. He was one of ten thousand such children rescued from the Nazis by this initiative, which was funded by private citizens after the UK government changed the immigration laws. Although his mother arrived in the UK a few months later on a work visa, he was brought up by a series of foster families in Oxford. He was fortunate to be introduced to Ruth and Rosemary Spooner, who recognised his abilities as a scholar and set him on the path to academic achievement. After spells in the Home Guard, and working as a farm hand at the University of Cambridge farm at Huntingdon Road, Gerald graduated in 1947 with a degree in Agriculture from the University of Edinburgh.

He was one of the first young scientists to be employed at the fledgling Animal Breeding Research Organisation (ABRO) set up in Edinburgh in the years following WW2. His PhD identified the pyramid structure of livestock populations, whereby genes flowed from a relatively small subset of influential herds or flocks to the wider population, and he mapped out how this structure could be used for breed improvement – an idea that has been fundamental in modern breeding. Further long-term experiments followed, concerned with quantifying nature and nurture, quantifying the genetic effects such as hybrid vigour and inbreeding, maternal effects and other influences on livestock such nutrition or management.


Gerald open up new areas for genetics following a chance observation that deaths from swayback, a disease of young lambs deficient in copper, was heavily influenced by breed. This led him to the discovery that genetics strongly influenced the absorption of dietary copper between and within breeds. These ideas coalesced in the realisation that better predictions of genetic merit could come from understanding the physiology of important metabolic pathways rather than relying solely on things one can see and measure externally, such as body weight or volume of milk. These ideas may seem commonplace in today’s world, but, at that time, reading the genome sequence of DNA was still fully 30 years in the future.


During this time Gerald was a leading member of the British Society of Animal Science, and in 1959 became the first Senior Editor of its journal Animal Production, a role he maintained for over 15 years. In recognition of his scientific achievements, Gerald became the Head of Physiological Genetics in ABRO, a department which included young scientists of note such as Roger Land and Ian Wilmut, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1970.


The ideas pursued in Gerald’s department were an important foundation for rebuilding ABRO after the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) announced a savage cut to its funding in 1981, and potential closure. The ARC were concerned with the direction of ABRO’s scientific programme, and as a senior scientist, Gerald played a major role in winning the arguments that ensured its survival. ARC asked him to become Director of the re-shaped institute, but instead he recommended Roger Land, as someone better fitted to take on the role. Gerald became Deputy Director and supported Roger in reorienting and establishing a programme that was ultimately to lead to many significant achievements – not least Dolly the Sheep.


After retirement Gerald continued to be in demand as an international consultant and did extensive development work for the FAO of the United Nations particularly in Asia. One outcome of this is that he became a world-leading expert on the breeding and husbandry of yak, which forms the cornerstone of cultures across vast areas of central Asia. These consultancies led him to write text books on yak, and on tropical animal breeding. The latter, when translated into Chinese, became the world’s most widely read book on breeding. His work is recognised in China as forming the foundation for current breeding and husbandry of yak.


Gerald’s interest in science never waned and in his final years he was determined to write the early history of ABRO. which had been such a big part of his life. He wanted to show a more complete picture of ABRO’s work, as so much of what had been published focused on the crisis of 1981, and the successes that followed after. This history of ABRO, completed in 2021 can now be found in the archives of the University of Edinburgh.


Gerald’s first marriage ended in divorce, but he found great happiness in his second marriage to Margaret Russell who he met in his 50s. Margaret became an author, with the pen name of Margaret Dunlop, who published a biography of him, ‘Goodbye Berlin’, in 2016.


Throughout his adult life Gerald was a committed Christian. His contributions to the community were many and varied, some related to his Christian faith such as helping to establish the Eric Liddell Centre at Holy Corner in Edinburgh, while others arose from his growing concerns for the natural world, such as establishing a community woodland close to his home in Biggar. Gerald is survived by a son, a daughter, 4 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandson from his first marriage and Margaret’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who became a very close part of his own extended family. He and Margaret moved to Inverness in 2008 to be closer to her family, and they spent 12 happy years there until she died in 2020.


Prof. John Woolliams and Dr Andy Wiener

Professor – Animal reproduction and epigenetics

Professor – Animal reproduction and epigenetics
Job Offer No. 22146
Open for Applications - From Novembre 15 th 2023, until January 14th, 2024
Workplace - Faculté des sciences de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation Département des sciences animales

General Information
With Québec's leadership in the training of highly qualified professionals in the field of animal sciences, the Department of Animal Sciences at Université Laval is an international partner in the development and transmission of new knowledge, while maintaining a close relationship with the various stakeholders in the agri-food sector to meet the specific needs of animal production.

The Department of Animal Sciences has 20 faculty members working in a variety of scientific areas related to animal production. The teaching staff contributes to the training of more than 400 undergraduate students in agriculture and about 75 graduate students.

Job Description
• - Teaching and supervising at undergraduate and graduate levels
• - Teach undergraduate and graduate courses in French
• - Conduct and publish research in the field of animal reproduction and epigenetics
• - Participate in department and faculty academic and administrative activities
• Participation in external activities of a university-wide nature, contributing to the outreach of the Faculty and the University.

Selection Criteria
• Hold a PhD, or be in the process of obtaining a PhD (thesis project defended) in animal sciences, or in a related field, with a specialty in animal reproduction and epigenetics
• Proven competence in research through grants or publications in peer-reviewed journals in the field
• Interest in developing research in animal sciences
• Demonstrated ability to teach at university level
• Ability to teach in French or commitment to do so within two years
• Interest in working as part of a multidisciplinary team
• Membership in the Ordre des Agronomes du Québec would be an asset

*The teaching language at Université Laval is French. However, non-French-speaking candidates are welcome to apply, on condition that functional competency in French is achieved after a two-year integration period.

This is a tenure-track position. Faculty status (academic rank) and salary shall be established based upon the following considerations:
• Status (rank) based on experience.
• Salary according to the collective agreement in force.

Applications must be received no later than January 14, 2024. The university reserves the right to receive applications beyond this date until the position has been fulfilled.
Position starting date: September 1st, 2024.

Interested candidates are asked to submit their application including:
- A letter outlining their motivations and explaining their qualifications in relation to the position
- A detailed curriculum vitae
- Three reference letters to be sent directly by the signatories

The complete application and reference letters must be sent to the following address:
Yvan Chouinard, Department Head

Université Laval
Département des sciences animales
Pavillon Paul-Comtois, room 4131A
2425, rue de l’Agriculture
Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6

Incomplete applications will be automatically rejected.

Additional information on the Animal Sciences Department is provided on the following website:

Université Laval is a privileged living environment in the heart of Québec City. It is a large and comprehensive university recognized for its culture of excellence in teaching and research.
Valuing diversity, Université Laval encourages all qualified individuals to apply, particularly women, visible and ethnic minorities, aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities. Priority will be given to Canadians and Canadian permanent residents.

Signpost Series Webinar: Sustainable diets - Balancing personal and planetary health

Signpost Series Webinar: Sustainable diets - Balancing personal and planetary health

8 December 2023

Event Time 9:30am
Venue Online

A series of weekly Environment Webinars aimed at the Irish Agri industry.

This webinar as part of The Signpost Series will focus on sustainable diets - balancing personal and planetary health.

The webinar will feature guest speaker Dr. Sinead McCarthy, Teagasc.

27th International Pig Veterinary Society Congress 15th European Symposium of Porcine Health Management

PVS & ESPHM 2024

We would like to invite you to the 27th International Pig Veterinary Society Congress as a joint event together with the 15th European Symposium of Porcine Health Management to be held in Leipzig, Germany, between 4-7 June, 2024. Together this will be the world’s greatest and most prestigious event for the global pig community.

This invitation is on behalf of the International Pig Veterinary Society, the European College of Porcine Health Management, the Veterinary Practitioner Council and the Local Organizing Committee. We, as the “Leipziger”, predominately represented by members of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Leipzig University, are proud of having a Local Organizing Committee assembled that perfectly reflects the German pig community, including e.g. Universities, the German Veterinary Medical Society, the German Practitioner Council, as well as professionals working in the pharmaceutical, breeding and slaughter/food processing businesses. With the Leipzig Trade Fair (Germany) and Vet International (Italy), we have highly professional partners aside to shelter and run the IPVS Congress/ESPHM 2024 successfully to your full convenience and satisfaction.

Everybody who works with pigs faces increasing challenges that are more or less severe, good and bad. All the more, this event, which is OUR event, provides unique opportunities to exchange opinions, experiences, teach and learn from each other! The scientific committee, with members from all over the world, made sure to have a program assembled that perfectly reflects and serves the demands of those challenges and the current situation. Traditional topics such as virology, bacteriology or nutrition will be complemented by e.g. sessions on human resource management and precision livestock farming/artificial intelligence.

Farming Innovation Programme - Research Starter Round 4 - Briefing event

Farming Innovation Programme - Research Starter Round 4 - Briefing event

12 December 2023, 10am-12pm | Online


Join this online briefing event to find out more about this funding competition for farmers, growers and forestry businesses based in England. If you have an idea to increase environmental sustainability in agriculture or horticulture, apply for a share of £850,000 for projects to improve productivity and resilience in the agricultural sector.


The funding comes from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), as part of the Farming Innovation Programme delivered by Innovate UK.

Make sure to attend this event to discover more about this collaborative opportunity including:

  • The scope and eligibility criteria directly from the funders
  • The application process so you have the best chance of success
  • Lessons learned from previous successful applicants


Make connections with others interested in the funding by joining the Farming Innovation Programme LinkedIn group.

Roslin Foundation Studentship - Securing the genetic future of the cosmopolitan Holstein dairy breed

  Dr G Gorjanc, Dr Smaragda Tsairidou , Prof G Banos, Dr Raphael Mrode  Monday, January 08, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)


About the Project

Dairy cattle populations have undergone highly successful selective breeding since the late 19th century, with the intensity and efficiency of selection increasing as novel technologies, including recent advances in genomics, became available and were implemented by the industry. Holstein breed is the prime example of this success through which it became the leading cosmopolitan dairy breed. While highly productive, there are concerns about the genetic future of this breed due to intense selection and associated narrowing of the genetic pool (Cole, 2023). While we now have abundant phenotypic, pedigree, and genomic data and a suite of methods to study genetic changes (e.g. Lara et al., 2022; Oliveira et al., 2023), comprehensive analyses of trends in genetic mean and variance for the key traits as well as overall genetic diversity are still lacking.

This project will study long-term genetic changes in the global Holstein population. This will be achieved through the following three work packages:

Work package 1: Population genetic analysis of the global Holstein population

Work package 2: Quantitative genetic analysis of Holstein trait trends in genetic mean and variance

Work package 3: Optimisation of future breeding practices at private, national, and international scales

This project will work with the UK national-level data in collaboration with AHDB ( and the EGENES ( as well as international-level data in collaboration with InterBull ( These resources include phenotypic and pedigree data for millions of animals and genomic data for hundreds of thousands of animals, enabling an in-depth analysis of long-term changes in the Holstein breed from a national and international perspective.

In addition to the supervision team, the student will have the opportunity to interact with Prof Mike Coffey (SRUC/EGENES), Dr Marco Winters (AHDB), international dairy breeding community through InterBull ( and Centre for Tropical Genetics and Health (

Funding Notes

This 4 year studentship opportunity is open to UK and international students and provides funding to cover enhanced stipend, tuition fees and enhanced consumable and travel costs.
Application form can be downloaded via View Website
Applications should be emailed to
If you are applying for more than one studentship please submit a separate application with a closing date of noon on 8th January 2024 at View Website

HE Lecturer in Equine and Rural Business

Higher Education Lecturer in Equine/ Rural Business (Fixed Term until December 2024)

ANNUAL SALARY £26,367- £30,537 Per Annum
Full Time (will consider part time flexible hours)

The University Centre Bishop Burton aspires to produce students that contribute to the people, professions and communities we serve. We pride ourselves on being student focussed; they are a name and not just a number. We strive to deliver an employment-focussed education programme.  

This is an exciting time to join the UCBB team as we seek talented and enthusiastic lecturer to join our established, dynamic and driven Higher Education team in specialisms of Business and Management to support the delivery of undergraduate programmes.

The University Centre Bishop Burton host excellent facilities to support the delivery of equine programmes, including use of international standard equestrian facilities and equipment, an equine therapy centre, and rider fitness and performance suite.

You will be responsible for designing, developing and delivering teaching and student-centred learning and assessment of students across modules assigned to your area of knowledge and experience. The position would suit an individual with interest and experience in equine and/or rural business and management, which may include various aspects of event management, business management and marketing. A research interest in related subjects is desirable, as is industry experience to bring to your teaching.

Applicants should be a graduate in a related subject, and hold a postgraduate degree within the desired specialisms and have the relevant industry experience as stated in the person specification. Hours of work will be 37 hours per week (for full tim) with a degree of flexibility expected for some evening and weekend work such as open events.


  • In addition to working in a beautiful rural environment, you will benefit from the following:

  • Membership to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. This is a defined benefit scheme with generous employer contributions

  • 35 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays

  • Cycle to work scheme

  • Free car parking

  • A range of on-site catering facilities

  • Optional health cash plan

  • Employee Assistance Programme

  • Discounted gym membership at the on-site gym

  • Dedicated health and wellbeing programme

  • Career development opportunities

  • Strong College Values such as Striving for Excellence and ‘Can do’ Attitude

To apply please visit our website: Bishop Burton & Riseholme College Careers (

Closing date: 10th December 2023   

Brongain Farm - The Pathway to Net Zero

The Brongain Team and Promar are delighted to be a part of NFU Countryside COP 2023!

Please join us as we present on our progress at Brongain Farm, managed by British Beef Farmers of the Year, Greg and Rowan Pickstock.

Greg and Rowan are aiming to produce net zero beef using commercially viable methods by 2030.

We will explore Brongain's grassland management, livestock health, choice of genetics, and Greg and Rowan's strategies to reduce costs and emissions.

This project is supported by McDonald’s UK & Ireland and OSI Europe and developed by Promar International.


Speakers (2)

George Peart
Sustainability Team Lead - Promar InternationalPromar International
Originally from Lancashire, George spent the first 7 years of his career working at a cattle IVF laboratory and as a Genus Reproduction Specialist in Scotland. George now works for Promar, helping farmers and processors to manage and reduce supply chain emissions, alongside his role as a livestock genetics advisor for DEFRA.
James Royce
Sustainability ConsultantPromar International
James has been working with the Brongain Farm team for the past 12 months. James is primarily based in Kirkby Lonsdale and works with beef and dairy farmers across the UK on soil health and emissions reduction. His role ranges from supporting individual farms to managing whole supply chain research projects.

Business Development Executive

Salary £46,089 - £55,897

Edinburgh Innovations (EI)     

Full time, 35 Hours per week

open-ended contract 

1 position available

The Opportunity:

Edinburgh Innovations seek to appoint a Business Development Executive to join our College Business Development team working specifically with The Roslin Institute on the Easter Bush Campus. The role offers the opportunity to enable translation to end-users of the exciting and world-leading research within The Roslin Institute, through engagement, collaborations and partnerships with relevant commercial partners. Commercial sector knowledge or a strong interest in the fields of life sciences, animal biosciences, AgriTech, and global food sustainability and security are desirable.

Your skills and attributes for success: 

  • Educated to postgraduate level in a relevant scientific area
  • Business Development and commercial experience
  • Demonstrable experience of working collaboratively with cross-functional teams to manage projects and deliver commercial end points
  • Knowledge and experience of intellectual property protection and exploitation
  • Experienced in reviewing / negotiating contracts and managing projects to deliver commercial and translational end points
  • Demonstrable account and client relationship management experience, including working with partners to jointly deliver customer services
  • Demonstration of ability to successfully and efficiently communicate, network and build strong relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders, incl. with academia. 
  • Demonstration of ability to work independently using own initiative, applying a flexible and pragmatic approach to work delivery and meeting client needs.
  • A proactive ‘can do’ attitude striving on delivering professional and good customer service 

As a valued member of our team, you will benefit from:

  • An exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work
  • A competitive reward package with annual bonus reviews based on performance
  • A generous 40 days of combined annual leave and public holidays entitlement 
  • A competitive work package including defined contribution pension scheme (currently 4.5% employee and 14.5% employer contribution rates), family friendly initiatives, flexible working and much more
  • Support to nurture your talent and reward success

To apply, please ensure you include a CV AND a tailored supporting statement in your application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Please note this opportunity sits within and delivers as part of Edinburgh Innovations’ CMVM Business Development Team. 

Please contact Dr Alice Barrier for informal enquiries at for the Roslin Institute position.

A copy of the full job description can be found via the link below

If invited for interview you will be required to evidence your right to work in the UK.  Further information is available on our right to work webpages

Key dates to note

The closing date for applications is 11 January 2024
Unless stated otherwise the closing time for applications is 11:59 pm GMT. If you are applying outside the UK the closing time on our adverts automatically adjusts to your browser's local time zone. 
Interviews will be held week commencing 29 January

Animal Health Vaccine Development Summit

Unleashing the Power of Vaccines to Advance Veterinary Medicine

Emerging advances in biopharma development and manufacturing processes are rapidly changing the game for animal health drug development. As this community capitalizes on advanced platform technologies, RNA vaccines & other innovations, this year alone has seen the first-ever vaccine for honeybees – medicines for animal health are on the cusp of something truly exciting. 


With increased investment, collaboration, and more promising innovation than ever before, the Animal Health Vaccine Development Summit has been curated as the industry’s first R&D-centred forum dedicated solely to showcasing the latest advances in high-value vaccine technologies being harnessed for intervention against infectious disease, cancer & chronic pain, from biopharma and academia. As we navigate through the progressive science in animal health, this forum will arm the community with the means to discover, design, and develop the next generation of veterinary medicines.

Investigation of the Presence of Fungal Spore Contamination of Straw Bedding Used in Pig (Sus scrofa) Housing

Catherine Clappison, UCBB.


This study was shortlisted for the 2022 Thesis of the Year Award and completed as part of Catherine’s BSc(Hons) Bioveterinary Science, which she studied at University Centre Bishop Burton.

Take home message: Fungal contamination in straw bedding and air varies across different farms and is affected by numerous factors including age of pigs, stocking density and climate. Farmers should consider these factors when managing pig housing and bedding to reduce risk of respiratory disease. Further research could focus on how to reduce fungal contamination at harvest and during storage of straw.

Straw is a commonly used bedding material for pigs due to the increased enrichment provided in comparison to more intensive systems such as slatted flooring. However, straw requires more upkeep to maintain good hygiene and has been associated with increased dust levels; a risk factor for respiratory disease. A related risk factor is contamination of fungi which, with the mycotoxins they produce, can be harmful to livestock and humans.

The aim of this project was to assess fungal contamination across three ‘bed and breakfast’ pig farms by quantifying colony forming units (CFUs) on agar plates. Higher numbers of CFUs indicates increased fungal contamination. Within each farm, 2-3 pig sheds were sampled from and three sampling groups allowed for different areas to be tested on each farm:

  • Outdoor control plates were placed away from pig sheds on each farm to identify any fungal growth in outdoor air


  • Passive air was assessed by placing open plates inside the pig sheds at a height of 1.2m to avoid interference from the curious pigs and quantify the airborne contaminants in each shed


  • Bedding was directly sampled from each pig shed and diluted in the lab to quantify contaminants within the straw bedding


The results highlighted significant differences in fungal CFUs between each farm for passive air and bedding measurements, as well as significant differences between the passive air and control air, and bedding and control air. This highlights variation in air quality between different farms despite all farms using wheat straw from a 2021 harvest. Associations were found between the airborne CFUs and stocking density, age of pigs, dew point (a weather metric accounting for humidity and pressure), and dust level. This suggests these factors could be the reason for farms having different air quality. Further investigation is needed to accurately determine the impact of each of these factors on air quality, but previous literature suggests growing/fattening pigs produce much higher CFUs than nursery or farrowing pigs (Kim & Ko, May 2019. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci.). There was no difference between sheds on the same farm, suggesting that housing was consistent at each location.

These findings suggest that a range of housing variables and microclimatic factors impact air quality at straw bedded pig farms. Farmers are encouraged to weigh the pros and cons on an individual basis as optimal management may be different for each herd and if using a straw bedding system, ensure quality of straw and appropriate stocking density is a priority to limit risk factors for respiratory disorders as much as possible.

Georgie Smith is a PhD candidate in the School of Biology, University of Leeds.

The Effect of The German String Training Aid on Equine Stride Length, Tracking Distance and Head and Neck Position

Olivia Hammond, Bishop Burton


This study was shortlisted for the 2022 Thesis of the Year Award and was submitted as part of a BSc (Hons) Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation at Bishop Burton University Centre by Olivia Hammond. Olivia is now working part-time for her family business as well as for the Equine Massage Academy, for which she is currently working to complete her final exams to become a qualified equine massage therapist. Olivia is also developing her own equine training aid based on her knowledge and experience gained through her degree and own research.

Take home message: The German String training aid (GS) significantly alters head and neck position but has no effect on forelimb stride length or tracking distance. This supports previous work suggesting training aids impact the horse’s way of going in a superficial manner.

Training aids are widely used in the equine industry with the belief that they will positively influence the horse’s way of going and are often used when lunging in the absence of a rider. There is very little peer-reviewed evidence supporting the use of many training aids, with owners and riders often selecting and using them based on anecdotal evidence. Previous research suggests that although the general frame of the horse can seem enhanced when working in a training aid, the results are superficial and lack any significant alteration in limb kinematics and/or muscle activation. One such training aid is the German String style training aid which can be seen sold under many alternative names by different brands. This aid is believed to increase core muscle activation and encourage hindlimb engagement through a lowering of the head and neck position as per the ‘bow and string theory’. This dissertation identified how a German String training aid may influence the horse’s head and neck position, stride length and tracking distance when lunging.

This study was undertaken at a private yard using 8 horses of mixed age, breed and sex that were all trained to a similar level and were in regular work. All horses were lunged in a GS as part of their usual routine. Horses were lunged around a 15m circle in an outdoor arena, both with and without the GS attached and measurements taken when passing a slow-motion camera at one point on the circle. Footage was taken at 240fps with stride length and tracking distance analysed using Quintic Biomechanics software. Head and neck position was categorised using a 1-9 scale based on previous research by Rhodin, et al. (2009; 2013). All variables were measured three times on each rein giving a total of 6 repetitions for each horse and mean or median values taken forward for statistical analysis.

A Wilcoxen signed rank test was used to test difference with and without the GS to conclude that there was a significant difference in head and neck position (p=0.01), but no significant difference in stride length (p=0.36) or tracking distance (p=0.32). A Spearman’s rank correlation was conducted to test associations between measured variables but none were found.

The GS is designed to encourage the horse to hold its head and neck in a particular frame with the nose on the vertical and therefore it is unsurprising that the addition of it when lunging affected the head and neck position of the horses. In this study, horses demonstrated lower head and neck positions when lunged without the GS. It can be suggested that the design of the GS aims to profit from the ‘bow and string theory’ whereby alterations in head and neck position may bring about hindlimb engagement and core activation, however this study demonstrates no effect was seen on limb kinematics. It can be concluded that the GS training aid may not improve the horse’s way of going beyond an alteration in head frame but further research is suggested to confirm this. Owners and riders intending to use any equine training aids are encouraged to research the product prior to use and ensure all instructions on fitting and use are followed to avoid unintentional injuries.

Further study into the range of equine training aids on the market would be beneficial to identify which are able to positively influence the horse. Effects on muscle activation through use of surface electromyography should be explored to enhance our understanding of how manipulating the horse’s frame may impact the use and development of muscle.

Georgie Smith is a PhD candidate in the School of Biology, University of Leeds. Her thesis is investigating porcine milk oligosaccharides in colostrum and how these can be used to enhance the survival and health of pre-wean piglets.

Undergraduate Thesis Of The Year Award 2023 Winners Announced

British Society of Animal Science Announces Winners of the Undergraduate Thesis Of The Year Award 2023

The British Society of Animal Science is delighted to announce the winners of the prestigious Undergraduate Thesis Of The Year Award for 2023. The competition, which recognises outstanding research in the field of animal science, saw a high level of submissions from universities across the UK.

Winner: Emily Hancock - University of Nottingham

  • Thesis Title: Effect of oregano oil on milk yield, methane emissions, and feed efficiency of dairy cows. Emily Hancock of the University of Nottingham secured the top spot with her groundbreaking research on the impact of oregano oil on various aspects of dairy cow performance.

Second Place: Molly Watkins - University of Nottingham

  • Thesis Title: Effect of milk yield on the carbon footprint of milk production from Holstein Friesian dairy cows. Molly Watkins, also from the University of Nottingham, clinched second place with her in-depth exploration of the environmental implications of milk production.

Third Place: Amy Willats - Writtle University College

  • Thesis Title: The association of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) C789A in the dopamine beta-hydroxylase gene (DBH) and aggressive behavior in Pitbull-type dogs. Amy Willats of Writtle University College secured the third position with her research on the genetic factors influencing aggressive behavior in Pitbull-type dogs.


Highly Commended: The following students received special recognition for their outstanding theses:

  • Caitlin Duggan - Aberystwyth University Thesis Title: Mapping the R0 of Bovine Tuberculosis in cattle within England and Wales: is there potential for future eradication, under the currently implemented test and control strategies?
  • Sarah Meeke - College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise Thesis Title: The Effect of Breed and Storage on Nutritional Composition of Dairy Colostrum.
  • Iona Maree Scott - SRUC Thesis Title: An Investigation into the Perceived Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on the Development of Canine Separation Anxiety from the Veterinary Perspective.
  • Darcey Bowser - Duchy College Thesis Title: An Investigation into modern equine management practices and their impact on the prevalence of equine agonistic behaviors.
  • Karl Schmidtke - Duchy College Thesis Title: Kinematic action under applied rein tension of the loose ring single-jointed snaffle bit.
  • Caitlin Marie Smithers - University of Chester Thesis Title: Assessing potential risk factors for microbiological contamination in raw meat-based diets for UK pet dogs: a reflection on owner storage practices and meat source.
  • Winter Drake-Wilkes - Abingdon and Whitney College Thesis Title: The impact of puzzle feeders and water bowl raisers as feline enrichment to combat food abstinence.
  • Laura Dayot - University of Limerick Thesis Title: Application of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to Measure the Composition of Mare’s Colostrum and Milk.
  • Abby Westerside - Harper Adams University Thesis Title: The effect of enclosure design on the nocturnal behavior of red river hog (Potamochoeus porcus) and the potential impacts on welfare.

The British Society of Animal Science congratulates all the winners and highly commended participants for their exceptional contributions to the field of animal science. The caliber of research presented this year showcases the dedication and talent of the next generation of animal scientists.

Physiological traits of newborn piglets associated with colostrum intake, neonatal survival and preweaning growth

Physiological traits of newborn piglets associated with colostrum intake, neonatal survival and preweaning growth

H. Quesnel, R. Resmond, E. Merlot, M.-C. Père, F. Gondret, I. Louveau

Take home message: This study explores the physiological traits of piglets and how this may influence colostrum intake. Findings suggest piglet birth weight, body temperature and time of birth can all effect intake and the authors confirm the importance of colostrum for the survival and growth of neonatal piglets.

With litter sizes increasing to keep up with the demand for pork products, we are seeing increases in piglet mortality with worldwide statistics suggesting 15-21% pre-weaning mortality. The most critical period is very early on within the first week of life and one determining factor here is intake of colostrum. Colostrum is the first secretion of the mammary gland and is a thicker consistency than mature milk with higher concentrations of immunoglobulins and other bioactive components. Piglets must consume this within 24 hours of birth to gain initial energy supplies as well as passive immunity before developing their own immune systems. Low consumption of colostrum leads to death in this period and thus, colostrum intake variability is important to investigate.

Previous studies have highlighted piglet birth weight, vitality and farrowing management techniques but physiological parameters have been neglected. This study measured a range of metabolites and hormones due to their associations with foetal development and maturity, as well as recording various piglet traits and colostrum intake.

Thirty-seven Landrace x Large White sows were inseminated from Pietrain boars and kept in the same conditions during gestation. All sows were induced at 114 days using cloprostenol and any interventions during farrowing kept to a minimum. For the first 24 hours the original litter was kept with the sow and beyond 24 hours, piglets were cross-fostered to a standardised litter size of around 13 piglets per sow and managed according to standard procedures. A range of traits were recorded for all live-born piglets (n=504) including birth order, time of birth, weight, crown-rump length and rectal temperature (1 hour after birth). Blood samples were also collected from the umbilical cord of a subset of the piglets (n=203). Piglets were weighed at birth and at 24 hours and colostrum intake calculated based on this difference.

Colostrum intake was positively associated with concentrations of IGF-I, albumin, thyroid hormones and non-esterified fatty acids and negatively associated with lactate. Variation in colostrum intake was significantly positively affected by piglet birth weight and rectal temperature with time of birth after onset of parturition and fructose concentrations being negatively associated. Colostrum intake was the predominant factor in survival within 3 days and in preweaning growth which confirms the importance of colostrum intake on piglet survival and growth.

This study offers a wider range of factors that impact neonatal health and mortality and drives home important considerations for pig farmers regarding colostrum availability. As litter sizes are often exceeding the number of functioning teats on the sow, research such as this is critical in helping us understand how we can better support our neonatal piglets and hopefully in the near future we can apply these findings to reduce the preweaning mortality rates we see today.

Summarised by Georgie Smith

Georgie Smith is a PhD candidate in the School of Biology, University of Leeds. Her thesis is investigating porcine milk oligosaccharides in colostrum and how these can be used to enhance the survival and health of pre-wean piglets.

Women In Ag - Details Coming Soon

Details Coming Soon

BSAS 2024 - Interview with Steven Morrison, Director, AFBI

As BSAS Trustees finalise the programme for Belfast 2024, Chief Executive, Maggie Mitchell caught up with one of our newest trustees to get his views on the annual conference.

Steven Morrison, Head of Livestock Production Science at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute explains why he has attended the annual conference since being an early scientist and provided tips for anyone making their first visit. He leaks a vital piece of information at the end of the video for anyone who has yet to upload their abstract so stay tuned to the end!

If you are thinking about attending BSAS 2024 in Belfast from 9-11th April but are not sure if it is the right fit for you, this interview will you to decide. Watch the full interview here

Undergraduate Thesis of The Year Winner Announced

Congratulations to Emily Hancock from the University of Nottingham on winning the BSAS Undergraduate Thesis of The Year Award. Her research on "The effect of oregano oil on milk yield, methane emissions, and feed efficiency of dairy cows" addresses important aspects of dairy farming. Investigating the impact of oregano oil on various parameters like milk yield, methane emissions, and feed efficiency is crucial for sustainable and efficient dairy production.

BSAS President, Elizabeth Magowan comments "this recognition not only reflects Emily's dedication and hard work but also highlights the significance of her research in the field of animal science. It's wonderful to see young researchers contributing valuable insights to the agricultural and livestock sectors. The BSAS Undergraduate Thesis of The Year Award is a commendable acknowledgment of Emily's outstanding work and the quality of research conducted at the University of Nottingham.

Emily will have an opportunity to present her work at the British Society of Animal Science Annual Conference in Belfast 9-11th April. President Magowan says "this is a great opportunity for any animal scientist, especially for a young scientist who can share their work in a supportive environment. As career scientists, we all remember those early days of presenting our research and very much look forward to hearing about Emily's work and supporting her where we can".


Interview with Undergraduate Thesis of The Year Award (UTOTYA 2023) winner - Emily Hancock

How does it feel to be the winner of the BSAS Undergraduate Thesis of The Year Award?

To put it simply, unbelievable. I never, in a million years, thought that after the year I’ve had that my work would of been good enough to win something as big as this and it just goes to show that a bit of hard work and determination goes a long way ans really does pay off in the end.

I did a project that was a little bit out there for me, I don’t come from a dairy background and thought this would be a good change from my norm. I really enjoyed this project and became fascinated in what I was researching and this made me want to enter to share my work so hopefully other people would also be as interested as I was in something that could bring the dairy industry on leaps and bounds in terms of tackling climate change.


What affect do you feel winning the UTOTYA has had on your current and future career aspirations, and are there any other benefits from entering that you would like to tell us about?

Currently I have taken myself out of education. I have earned myself a Bachelors of Science Degree with Honours in Agricultural and Livestock Sciences and for me right at this moment in my life that is enough. I personally have had a very hectic year and I am currently just working within the agricultural industry and now applying what theory I have learnt which is a nice change and is reminding me why I aspired to work in this industry in the first place. This award has definetly made me reconsider re-entering education and possibly looking at a PhD in my future, most likely in a similar field as to my already completed thesis. I think it has once again peaked my interest in looking for organic and environmentally friendly ways in reducing the carbon footprint of the agricultural industry.


You won the UTOTYA for your dissertation titled: “Effect of oregano oil on milk yield, methane emissions and feed efficiency of dairy cows”. Can you tell us a bit more about the focus of your fascinating study and its findings?

When trying to find an original topic to compose a thesis on you may find yourself hitting a lot of brick walls and thinking that everything, everywhere has been covered. However, I was walking across campus one day and heard a group of my peers talking about a study they had looked at the vaguely looked at essential oils reducing methane emissions of cattle and from there on I began to research and ended up down a rabbit hole on Google scholar reading papers and articles about how these essential oils did in fact reduce methane emissions, some more then others, with most of these papers only brushing over the effect of oregano oil and that is where my fascination began. I started questioning why wasn’t oregano being looked at more in detail for its effects on dairy cows and decided this was the direction my thesis was going to go. And to briefly brush over my study I discovered that in different quantities, oregano oil had different effects. With it having a good antimicrobial quality to it, oregano oil works fantastically to inhibit fermentation in the rumen and therefore is an excellent methane mitigation strategy. Also with oregano oil being more palatable than other organic methane reducing options, it means there is no effect on dry matter intake and therefore has no effect on milk yield and feed efficiency.


Are you looking forward to presenting at the BSAS 2024 conference, and how are you planning to prepare?

Honestly, I’m incredibly nervous, more so in case people don’t find my research interesting. To prepare I am just going to go over all my research again and just ensure I am confident in what I am saying and what I have already learnt.


Do you feel like you would like to explore the world of animal science research further in the future, and if so which sector or topics would you like to carry out more extensive research into?

I am always open to research the animal science world further to find ways to work more effectively and efficiently. Personally, I think I would carry out more research into methane

BSAS Blog – Women In Science

The inaugural ‘Women in Science’ BSAS webinar took place recently. Over 60 members attended (there were a few men in the audience who were very welcome) to hear from women who represented both academia and industry at various stages of their career. While I had the honour of Chairing the webinar, I knew that it would be easy since all our ladies were very open and honest and keen to have a conversation which encouraged and supported all our BSAS members.

The webinar started with the hugely inspirational Minette Batters. As the current president of the NFU, Minette’s key message was to be happy and do what you needed to do to ‘keep yourself’ right. For Minette, who is mother to twins as well as being heavily involved in her home farm, that included running and being very focused on what she eats, which she admitted she only learnt how to manage better more recently.

‘Being happy’ and ‘looking after yourself’ emerged as a key theme as Jude Capper from Harper Adams, encouraged us with her story of overcoming cancer twice and not being afraid to push the door and make changes when you feel you need to.

Anna Dinsdale, from Premier Nutrition, was one of our early career representatives, Anna talked passionately about her work and career path to date. It transpired that Anna and I, probably like many others, are in the ‘didn’t get the grades for veterinary but turns out we are very happy in our jobs as a result of finding other very fulfilling degree pathways’ club.

I am also in agreement with Laura Boyle whose honesty shone through when she described that for many women, there are tradeoffs while trying to progress your career and be a mother. Laura reminded us that women are natural nurturers and while we should always embrace that role in the family, it can come at a cost to mental health and/or career progression. So again – being happy and keeping yourself right was the key message.

Lyndsay Chapman, who until recently was the chief executive of CIEL, was our final speaker in the webinar. Through providing us with her very varied career history, Lyndsay encouraged us to not be afraid of taking on new challenges. Lyndsay highlighted there is evidence that women often think they have to meet all the criteria specified for a role, but that isn’t the case and it’s rare for employers to get candidates who are the perfect fit. So Lyndsay’s key message was ‘give it a go if you fancy the challenge’.

This non-science BSAS member event was designed to provide an environment for BSAS members to come together as a community of support and mentoring. We are delighted that this friendly and supportive ethos came through strongly.

As BSAS members we are here to help each other, perhaps when it is a bit more difficult to find that help and support within the workplace for whatever reason. As such, for both our male and female members, the overall concluding messages were to reach out to fellow BSAS members for support and mentoring, no matter how junior or senior you are, and don’t have imposter syndrome - we are all just human and have, very likely, been through similar challenges.

By Elizabeth Magowan, President, The British Society of Animal Science

Teagasc National Dairy Conference 2023

The conference will feature a range of practical workshops where attendees can meet and interact with researchers, advisors and leading dairy farmers on a range of issues such as grazing and nitrogen strategies, future farm stocking rate decisions, nutrient management technologies, and the potential benefits of flexible milking schedules. The theme of this year’s conference is 'Adapting to a changing dairy farming environment'.

Click here to book your ticket! 


The cost of the conference is listed below.  

  • Industry and Non Clients - €120
  • Teagasc Client/ConnectEd Member - €60
  • Students - €30

View the conference programme below

9:15am Registration

9:45am Opening Address 
Charlie McConalogue TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine

10.30 Session One – Key drivers of milk production costs in dairy systems

  • Mr David Beca, Red Sky Agri, Australia
  • Dr Joe Patton, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer, Teagasc

Chair Emma Louise Coffey, Teagasc

The rate of increase in the average unit cost of producing milk in Ireland has accelerated markedly in the last 2-3 years. While much of this is attributed to unit cost inflation on inputs such as feed, fertilizer and energy, analysis of farm financial data shows significant variation in the relative impact on farms of similar type Clearly then, there are numerous farm-level factors to be considered when assessing options for controlling costs and protecting margins.  

To explore this issue, the session will feature a presentation from David Beca, Red Sky Agri Consulting, Australia. David started his career in the beef and sheep industry, moving from farm work to farm ownership and into the dairy industry, where he became a director of a dairy cooperative.  Over time, he developed Red Sky, an agricultural business analysis and benchmarking software application that has wide use across Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.  David has specialised in identifying and reporting on the primary drivers of productivity and profitability in grazing systems.

Teagasc are delighted to welcome David to the National Dairy Conference. To complement David’s international perspective, Joe Patton Teagasc will present some key trends in cost structure on Irish dairy farms, and highlight the value of dairy cost benchmarking as a business development practice.

11:15am Tea/ Coffee

11:30am Session Two - Getting to grips with labour challenges on dairy farms

  • Dr Marion Beecher, Teagasc Research Officer - People in Dairy Project
  • Brendan Joyce, dairy farmer, Kilkenny
  • John Whelan, dairy farmer, Wexford

Chair Richard O’Brien, Regional Manager Teagasc Kilkenny Waterford

Seasonal workload combined with increased dairy herd sizes and a highly competitive labour market, have created social sustainability challenges for Irish dairy farms. Effective work organisation can improve productivity, which in turn can have a positive impact on members of the farm work-teams and farming families.

The objective of this conference session is to discuss farm task organisation and the structures of work schedules on Irish dairy farms, with a view to identifying areas for progress. Marion Beecher Moorepark will present the results of a recent labour study involving 55 dairy farms, which will address key questions around scheduling, rosters, use of non-core labour, and labour costs.

We look forward also to the real-world insights of John Whelan, dairy farmer from Co. Wexford, and Brendan Joyce, who is dairy farming in Co. Kilkenny. John will outline how he makes use of contractors for key tasks at peak times, manages weekend work for staff and lessons learned in a growing dairy business. Brendan will share his top tips for efficient work routines in spring, the labour benefits of a simple system, and the importance of capitalizing on-off peak time.

12:50pm Lunch

Interactive Workshops (attendees can choose 3)

  1. Back to basics on grazing tactics for spring 2024
    Joseph Dunphy, Teagasc Grass10; Brendan Horan, Teagasc Moorepark, and Joe Murphy, Dairy Farmer, Kilkenny
  2. Achieving 100 SCC in the first 100 days 
    Pablo Silva Bolona and Don Crowley, Teagasc
  3. Nitrogen (N) for 2024 
    John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Michael Egan, Teagasc Moorepark; and David Wall, Teagasc Johnstown Castle
  4. Stocking rate decisions for future systems
    Michael O’Donovan, Donal Patton and Patrick Moylan, Teagasc
  5. Milking 10 times a week –can it work for you?
    Emer Kennedy and Martina Gormley, Teagasc
  6. Slurry storage and handling - how best to invest
    Pat Tuohy, Teagasc and William Burchill, UCC

Back to basics on grazing tactics for spring 2024

GRAZED PASTURE gives Irish dairy farmers a potential cash cost advantage, however this potential will only be realized if the right tactics are employed in spring and across the grazing season.

This workshop will feature Joseph Dunphy, Teagasc Grass10; Brendan Horan, Teagasc Moorepark and Joe Murphy, Dairy Farmer, Kilkenny

Topics will include:

  • Spring grazing tips and tactics for dry and heavy soil types
  • The do’s and don’ts of spring grass budgeting
  • Managing the “grass hungry” transition from the first to the second rotation
  • Driving performance - getting grass allowances right in early summer

Achieving 100 SCC in the first 100 days

Somatic cell count (SCC) is creeping upwards nationally. The first 100 days of lactation are important to ensure good levels of control of mastitis and SCC throughout lactation.

This workshop will feature Pablo Silva Bolana, Teagasc Mastitis Researcher and Don Crowley, Teagasc Milk Quality Specialist.

Topics will include:

  • How to manage risk of mastitis in dry cows
  • What are the main risks around calving?
  • Why is heifer mastitis a problem for some herds?
  • How to identify problem cows early
  • How do I deal with problem cows once identified
  • The value of records, culture and sensitivity

Nitrogen (N) for 2024

NITROGEN (N) FERTILIZER limits for grassland are under constant review within Ireland and The EU. In this context, Nitrogen planning on the farm will become far more critical to pasture production and utilisation in 2024 and beyond.

This workshop will feature John Maher, Teagasc Grass10; Michael Egan, Teagasc Moorepark; and David Wall, Teagasc Johnstown Castle.

Topics will include:

  • Getting the timing of fertiliser N right for optimal grass growth responses
  • Making better use of organic Nitrogen
  • Does fertilizer N type make a difference to annual grass yields?
  • Clover - a real opportunity to generate Nitrogen within the farm gate.

Stocking rate decisions for future systems

Stocking Rate is a key decision for dairy farms due to implications for grazing management, feed budgets, performance per cow and farm labour/infrastructure requirements. While stocking rate is linked to farm profit, it is through grass utilised that the effects occur. As a result, optimal stocking rate varies by farm.

This workshop will feature researchers Michael O’Donovan and Donal Patton, Teagasc Researchers; and Patrick Moylan Teagasc Kilkenny Dairy Advisor.

Topics will include:

  • The costs and profit implications for changing farm stocking rate
  • How to recognize the stocking rate ‘sweet-spot’ for my farm
  • How should outside land blocks influence stocking rate decisions?
  • My farm is optimally stocked - now what?

Milking 10 times a week – can it work for you?

MILKING TIME is one of the most labour demanding tasks on a dairy farm. Adopting a more flexible approach to the number of milkings per week may help reduce labour input and also improve work life balance. 

This workshop features Aidan Ahearn, Waterford dairy farmer; Emer Kennedy, Teagasc Moorepark Researcher; and Martina Gormley, Teagasc Dairy Specialist.

Topics will include:

  • A farmer’s experience with 10-in-7 milking
  • Update on research into flexible milking- solids yield, health and SCC effects
  • How flexible approaches to milking time can help with labour challenges
  • How do I know if flexible milking is an option for my farm?

Slurry storage and handling - how best to invest

SLURRY VALUE depends on its nutrient content, timing and method of application, and the relative cost of fertilizer. As new derogation regulations limit fertilizer rates, the nutrient content of our slurry becomes more valuable in its ability to grow grass.

This workshop will feature Pat Touhy, Teagasc Moorepark and William Burchill, University College Cork.

Topics will include:

  • Return on investing in additional slurry capacity to grow additional grass
  • New research into slurry volume on Irish dairy farms and comparisons against international studies
  • Alternative slurry handling options and technologies
  • Slurry additives – have they a role for Irish dairy farms?
Related Content

Teagasc Beef Conference focuses on improving the Sectors Green Credentials

Sheep Newsletter - November 2023

Dairy Newsletter - November 2023

Beef Newsletter - November 2023

Postgraduate Opportunities in Reproductive Biology

As part of a Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine-funded project entitled ‘Developing semen technology to improve the sustainability of the national herd; HeteroBull’, applications are invited for two positions leading to a PhD degree and one position leading to an MSc degree. One PhD will be based at the University of Limerick, one PhD at University College Dublin and the MSc will be based at Teagasc Moorepark.

Background: Artificial insemination (AI) has driven genetic progress in the dairy industry by facilitating intensive selection and use of the most elite sires. Despite rigorous assessments of sperm quality before semen is released, significant variation in field fertility still exists among bulls used in AI. There is anecdotal evidence internationally that mixing semen from more than one bull in the same semen straw (Heterospermic semen; HS) can protect against this variation and increase pregnancy rates, possibly due to sperm competition and/or allowing flexibility in timing of insemination relative to ovulation. HeteroBull aims to provide sound scientific evidence on the degree to which HS (both conventional and sex-sorted) can influence fertility and will establish the biological and molecular mechanisms underpinning this so that stakeholders can make informed decisions around its use.

Project Details: The overall objectives of the project are to:
• Assess the degree to which HS impacts pregnancy rates in lactating dairy cows and establish the bias towards individual bulls in the percentage of calves they sire in HS mixes.
• Quantify sperm function in HS mixes with a focus on capacitation, sperm transport, fertilisation rates and interaction with the female reproductive tract and establish the relationship to field fertility.
• Assess the role of seminal exosomes in sperm function with a focus on their miRNA cargo.
• Assess if HS increases the window during which cows can be inseminated, thereby increasing flexibility and facilitating once-a-day AI without comprising fertility.
• Evaluate if sex-sorted HS results in improved pregnancy rates compared to sex-sorted sperm from individual sires.
• Educate stakeholders on the role of HS in breeding programme.

This will be an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of animal reproduction. The successful candidates will join a highly motivated, internationally recognised, team of researchers and use cutting edge techniques in a project that straddles both basic and applied research.

Award: The stipend of €31,000 per annum includes university fees of up to a maximum of €6,000 and is tenable for 4 years (PhD positions) or 2 years (MSc position).

Candidate Attributes and Application Procedure
Candidates should have a high honours grade Bachelors in an Animal/Dairy Science, Veterinary Medicine, Biological Sciences, or related field with good knowledge of animal production systems. Interested candidates should submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest simultaneously to Prof. Sean Fair (, Prof. Pat Lonergan ( and Dr. Stephen Butler ( The closing date for applications is December 20th 2023 with interviews in January 2024.

Production Entomologist - Beta Bugs Limited

About us

Beta Bugs is an insect genetics company based in Roslin Edinburgh. Since day one, genetics has been our sole focus. We have built our company’s strategy, technology, and team around developing and distributing Black Soldier Fly breeds.

We leave large-scale production to Black Soldier Fly protein producers, our customers, who improve their bottom lines through our product. In doing so, we avoid unnecessary competition, and instead jointly focus our energies on scaling our industry.

Purpose of the Job

Entomologists are responsible for the upkeep of the Beta Bugs’ insect livestock and equipment within various environments including nucleus and production settings. Working directly with elite Black Soldier Fly, the Entomology team rears, measures, feeds, and breeds the insects to reach various genetic and production KPIs with data being collected and communicated to other technical teams such as Production Manager and Genetics and Breeding Programme Manager.

The Entomology team is also responsible for progressing the company’s zoo-technical and scientific know-how and expertise, leading to new techniques, technologies, and approaches to rearing Black Soldier Fly. By working with other teams, they are responsible for identifying opportunities and implementing solutions that can be used to drive progress and efficiently.

Key Results area

● Responsibility for the environment in which the BSF is raised (reporting and/or problem-solving facility issues).

● Maintaining colonies of BSF in a nucleus setting.

● Basic insect handling.

● Weighing and/or counting of BSF in various stages of the life cycle.

● Insect diet preparation and feeding.

● Installing and testing new equipment.

● Data collection, entry, and preliminary analysis.

● Interpretation and implementation of developments in literature, as necessary.

● Assisting with maintaining up-to-date health and safety records.

● Following SOPs.

● Maintaining colony biosafety.

● Assisting in internal process development.

Job Types: Permanent, Full-time


BSAS Member participates in the Global Youth Dialogue on Sustainable Livestock Transformation

BSAS Member Afsal Ayoob Khan participated in the “Global Youth Dialogue on Sustainable Livestock Transformation” organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations at FAO headquarters, in Rome, Italy, in September.
Afsal, who is also a PhD student at Rothamsted Research / SWBio DTP was awarded a travel grant to ensure he could participate in the conference and comments "It was a great learning experience for me".
FAO organized the first ever Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock Transformation from 25 to 27 September 2023. The event provided a neutral forum for representatives of FAO Members, producer organizations, research and academic institutions, development agencies, civil society organizations and private sector bodies to engage in dialogues on innovations and pathways to efficiently produce more nutritious, safe and accessible animal source foods with a reduced environmental footprint, and contribute to vibrant local and diversified livestock systems that are more resilient to shocks and disruptions.

FAO supports its Members to strengthen the contribution of livestock systems towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). FAO's work on sustainable livestock systems is at the interface of the four ‘betters’ of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31: better production, better nutrition, better environment and a better life. Sustainable livestock systems play important roles in achieving each of these aspirations.

The event is aimed to:

  • Raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable livestock production to implementing the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31, to attain the SDGs at global, regional and national levels.
  • Share information and knowledge on the strategic direction and technical developments in sustainable livestock production worldwide.
  • Establish priorities for the mobilization and pooling of scientific, technical and financial resources to achieve global sustainable livestock transformation.

The event covered four main themes:

  • Better livestock production systems: encompassing management and use of feed and animal genetic resources, animal health and welfare, digitalization and precision livestock farming;
  • Animal source food for better nutrition: presenting the state-of the-art knowledge on the contribution of animal source food to food security and nutrition and healthy diets;  
  • Livestock solutions for better environment: sharing information about good practices and initiatives to make optimal use of natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Better life: including how to support small-scale livestock producers to improve their livelihoods and income through inclusive services and policies, fostering more efficient and resilient livestock production.


STEM For Britain 2024



Exhibition of Posters by early-career research scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

The closing date for applications is Monday 27th November 2023.

The finals of the competition will be held in the Houses of Parliament on Monday 4th March 2024.

STEM for BRITAIN is a poster competition for early-stage researchers which is held in the Houses of Parliament. Applications are invited in five subject categories: Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Physics, Engineering, Mathematical Sciences and Chemistry. Finalists will be invited to an event in the Houses of Parliament where they will present their poster to Parliamentarians and the subject judges.

Prizes will be awarded in each subject category to the individuals who, alongside presenting excellent science and engineering, communicate their research in a clear and engaging manner:

Gold – £1000
Silver – £750
Bronze -£500

All gold medal winners will also be judged for the Westminster Medal, awarded for the most excellent science communication.

In the Biological and Biomedical Sciences category, applicants are also invited to apply for the Physiological Society Prize and Nutritional Society Prize (£500 each).

This year all applicants will also have the opportunity to enter for ‘The Dyson Award for outstanding research towards a more sustainable future’

Competition process

Applications open – 18th September 2023 – 27th November 2023

Applicants are initially invited to apply by submitting an application form, abstract and reference in a nominated subject category.

Finalist Selection Process – November 2023 / January 2024

Judges review all submitted applications and select finalists in each subject category. Finalists will be notified by the end of January and are asked submit a poster 2 weeks ahead of the competition date.

STEM for BRITAIN 2021 Finals – 4 March 2024

Finalists present their poster to judges and parliamentarians in the Houses of Parliament. We encourage finalists to invite their local MPs to attend this event.

If you have any queries, please firstly check our FAQs or contact us here

Governance and policy innovation: country experiences, tools and approaches

Governance and policy innovation: country experiences, tools and approaches

Thursday, 9 November 2023,

14:00-16:00 hours CET

VIRTUAL EVENT: >> Register on Zoom <<


In pursuit of the goal to create "more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind," the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) acknowledges the pivotal role of innovation in elevating the impact of its projects and programmes.

Within this context, innovation in governance and policy processes emerges as the linchpin for reinforcing evidence-based and inclusive decision-making. It is also the engine that drives the scaling of technological and other innovations contributing to the sustainable transformation of agrifood systems.

This forthcoming webinar provides a unique opportunity to glean insights from stakeholders and partners, who have tested tools and approaches in policy and governance innovation at the national level. It's an exploration of the tangible progress made, the challenges surmounted, and the invaluable lessons learned from concrete experiences from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malawi and beyond.

Join us for this virtual event, where innovation in policy and governance is demystified and its pivotal role in the future of agrifood systems takes centre stage.

The event will be in English.


  • Opening remarks
  • David Laborde, Director of FAO’s Agrifood Economics Division
  • Panel: governance and policy innovation in action
    How does innovation help develop more inclusive and effective governance to accelerate food systems transformation? 
  • Anna Rappazzo, Coordinator, Governance Innovation for Sustainable Food Systems, FAO 
  • Delgermaa Chuluunbaatar, Agricultural Research Officer, FAO
  • Jarot Indarto, Director of Food and Agriculture, Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning
  • Sarah Tione, Research Ethics Secretariat Administrator, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) 


  • In focus: experiences, tools and approaches in policy and governance innovation 
    Breakout discussions diving into cases from Cambodia, Indonesia and Malawi


  • Synthesis of experiences, tools and approaches Key takeaways from breakouts


  • Closing remarks Vincent Martin, Director of FAO’s Office of Innovation




Head of AFBI Farmed Estate

REF: IRC295892

DEPARTMENT: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Northern Ireland (AFBI)

SALARY: £52,578 - £56,237

LOCATION: AFBI Hillsborough


AFBI has an extensive (over 400ha) and varied farm research platform, which operates on a commercial basis but whose key focus is to deliver significant programmes of research with a focus on agricultural systems and the environmental.  A unique opportunity has arose for a dedicated, enthusiastic and forward thinking individual to oversee the strategic use and management of the farmed platform to ensure it’s efficient, effective and sustainable utilisation into the future.

Further appointments may be made from this competition should AFBI positions become vacant which require the same eligibility criteria and have similar duties and responsibilities

For more detailed information, including the duties and responsibilities of the post, and the criteria to be used during the recruitment and selection process, please click on the Candidate Information Booklet link below.

In order to apply for this position, please click on the “Apply for this job online” link below to register to this vacancy and to submit an online application.

Completed application forms must be submitted no later than 12:00 noon (UK time) on Friday 17th November 2023.

Applications are particularly welcomed from Roman Catholics and Females as these groups are currently under-represented within AFBI.


All queries can be directed to HRConnect by:



BSAS 2024 Abstracts Extension

BSAS 2024



The BSAS Annual Conference is the flagship event for animal scientists across the UK and Ireland and beyond.It provides endless opportunities to network, collaborate, socialise, update knowledge and debate with peers.

This year’s theme is the role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy and we encourage you all to submit your work to contribute to this important debate.

You will see from the programme that there are a number of themed sessions such as ‘the role of vets and farmers in tacking parasitic disease,’ ‘precision technologies in livestock management, health and welfare,’ along with the interesting animal nutrition and production, impacts of climate change and advancements in animal science sessions, and many more.

If you have research to present, either as supervisors, with students, or as part of your organisations activities, please look at the programme and submit an abstract. It is a great environment for postgrad students to develop their presentational skills and for established scientists and technologists to highlight their activities. 


We welcome abstracts in the areas of:

  • Adoption of science on farms and behaviour change

  • Adaption strategies for cattle and sheep to climate change

  • Advances in breeding and genetics

  • Advances in mitigating the environmental impact of ruminant production

  • Animal health and welfare

  • Sustainable proteins: insects co-products and technologies

  • Beef cattle

  • Climate change and animal disease

  • Companion and captive animals

  • Dairy cattle

  • Equine

  • Grazing systems

  • Nutrition

  • Pigs

  • Poultry

  • Precision technologies in livestock management

  • Responding to climate change and its potential effect on livestock

  • Role of diverse pastures in future proofing livestock sustainability

  • Role of vets and farmers in tackling parasitic disease

  • Small Ruminants (sheep, goats and deer)

  • The future diet of monogastrics with non-human edible ingredients

  • Young stock

  • Other


 Be part of this conference and BSAS’s 80th Birthday celebrations!


Submit your paper


Submission deadline 14th November 2023


We look forward to welcoming you to Belfast 9-11th April 2024.


Fnd out more

ATF - Policy brief on agricultural methane webinar

During this webinar, we will present the new ATF policy brief on agricultural methane that was published in July 2023:

Two events were organised by the ATF in 2022 concerning agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, notably methane: a joint symposium organised by the ATF and the Livestock Farming Systems Commission of the European Federation of Animal Science in Porto (05/09/22), and the ATF seminar organised in Brussels (17/11/22). These events made it possible to take stock of the latest advances in knowledge concerning agricultural methane emissions from the livestock sector, and possibilities for reducing these emissions. These events created a dialogue between scientists, policy makers, farmers and industry representatives.

This policy brief draws on the presentations from those two events, the IPCC 6th Assessment Report published in 3 volumes in 2021 and 2022, and the EU Methane Strategy.

Livestock Science Quality Assurance Manager - Higher Scientific Officer

REF: IRC296294

DEPARTMENT: Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Northern Ireland (AFBI)

SALARY: £32,880 - £34,011

LOCATION: AFBI Hillsborough, Co.Down BT26 6DR


Further appointments may be made from this competition should NICS positions become vacant which require the same eligibility criteria and have similar duties and responsibilities

For more detailed information, including the duties and responsibilities of the post, and the criteria to be used during the recruitment and selection process, please click on the Candidate Information Booklet link below.

In order to apply for this position, please click on the “Apply for this job online” link below to register to this vacancy and to submit an online application.

Completed application forms must be submitted no later than 12:00 noon (UK time) on Friday 3rd November 2023.


Enteric methane emissions from ruminant livestock – what is it, and how do we reduce it?

Ruminant animals play a key role in supporting global society, converting human indigestible plant material into high quality meat and dairy products for human consumption. Within the animals ‘rumen’, the largest of four compartments within their highly adapted stomach, dwells a microbial ecosystem, known as the rumen microbiome, consisting of various bacteria, archaea, protozoa and fungi, all of which contribute different functions that allow the ruminant to extract and manufacture nutrients from plant matter. The rumen microbial community is highly differentiated and functions in an orchestrated manner, the outcomes of which are mainly beneficial to the overall nutritional status of the host animal.

One group of rumen microbes belonging to the kingdom archaea, known as methanogens, are, however, responsible for ruminant animals contributing ~30% of global methane emissions. Methane as a greenhouse gas (GHG) is 28 times more potent then carbon dioxide and is a major contributor to agricultures global GHG emissions. The production of methane, also known as methanogenesis, not only negatively affects the environment but is also an energy loss to the host animal, which ultimately directly impacts farm profitability.

To date, the addition of anti-methanogenic (methane suppressing) additives to the diet of ruminant animals, together with the identification and genetic selection of low methane emitting animals, are two of the most promising methane mitigation strategies available to the ruminant livestock sector. While differences amongst the feed additives exist in their antimethanogenic action, in general the most effective additives are those, which specifically target inactivation of the key microbial enzymes required for methanogenesis. Indeed, a number of commercially available feed additives, of varying efficacy are currently available in many countries, with more likely to become available in the coming years. As a result, use of such feed additives are considered as a short to medium term strategy to mitigate agricultural GHG emissions while genetic selection of low methane animals as part of a national breeding program, while cumulative in nature, is a longer term strategy.

On Monday, 27th November 2023, the BSAS Ruminant Methane Mitigation Conference will take place in Belfast. At this one-day conference, some of the world’s leading scientists working in methane mitigation research, will provide an extensive overview of all the most promising methane mitigation strategies for ruminant livestock which are either currently available or underdevelopment. This is a must attend, ‘one-stop-shop’ event for all stakeholders within the ruminant livestock sector! For more details on the upcoming conference, please visit here.

Authors: Prof David Kenny and Dr Paul Smith

Affiliation: Teagasc Animal & Bioscience Research Department


Home Page Carousel

Training Videos Subscription Intro

Those without a BSAS membership can purchase a subscription to training materials separately.

Science in Parliament - Autumn 2023

Ruminant Methane Mitigation Conference

Women In Science Webinar

We are pleased to invite members to a special webinar on Thursday 9 November to hear from female leaders working in academia, industry and the British Society of Animal Science.

Each will share a brief overview of their background, why they have chosen such a demanding career and how they have overcome hurdles to get to where they are in their profession. They may even share a few lessons learned along the way! As always we expect this to be a highly interactive webinar and participants will have an opportunity to pose questions to the panel.

Who is the webinar for?

This webinar is open to all members, irrespective of gender, who are interested in promoting gender equality in agricultural science and supporting the incredible women in this field. It's an opportunity to celebrate achievements and foster a culture of empowerment and collaboration.

This webinar is particularly targeted at women working in Agricultural Science, whether you have just started your studies, are in your first job or have been working for over twenty years, you are warmly invited to tune in and join the conversation.

As females working in science, we juggle many parts of our lives and often lean on partners and others as we navigate busy work and travel schedules. This webinar celebrates our support networks and we encourage you to invite your partners to take part.

How do I attend?

All members will have received an email with a zoom link. If you have not received one, please email

Joining Details

Date: Thursday 9 November 2023

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (UTC)

Platform: Zoom

Link: Check your email - all members were issued with a zoom link via the email address provided when you registered as a member.


1:00 PM – 1:10 PM

Welcome and Introduction, Elizabeth Magowan

1:10 PM – 1:35 PM

Success Stories: Inspiring Women in Agricultural Science

  • Anna Dinsdale, Premier Nutrition

  • Jude Capper, Harper Adams

  • Laura Boyle, Teagasc

  • Lyndsay Chapman,CIEL

  • Minnette Batters, National Farmers' Union

1:35 PM – 1:55 PM

Q&A Session

1:55 PM – 2:00 PM

Closing Remarks

Why You Should Attend:

  • Gain insights from accomplished women who have excelled in agricultural science.

  • Learn how supportive partners play a crucial role to your success.

  • Connect with a community of like-minded individuals who share your passion.

  • Get inspired to achieve your career goals in agricultural science, no matter where you are in your journey.

BSAS Blog GB Calf Week

The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) has been an important part of my whole professional life, from my first poster presentation in 1995 to having the immense privilege of being President last year. As the immediate Past President, I am chairing the organising committee for the 2024 conference which promises to be a great event. I hope to see you in Belfast 9-11 April 2024!

But on to the topic for today – GB Calf Week.

Dairy farmers have cows to produce milk, right? – yes but, to do so, each cow must produce a calf, ideally once a year, and those calves can also add value to the farm business. Clearly breeding quality replacements for the dairy herd is vital to its performance, but also those calves destined to be reared for beef can add useful income to the overall farm business.

I had the privilege of making a small contribution to the programme of GB calf week 2023 which ended on Wednesday last week (20th September). My AHDB colleague, Marco Winters, and I delivered a webinar on dairy-beef genetics and how that can help maximise the value of beef calves from the dairy herd. The programme for the week brought together farmers, vets, scientists and advisers, and is a great example of how animal scientists, working with others, can help address real challenges faced by the farming sector.

Science has delivered technology for sexing semen, which means the genetically superior cows in the herd are now routinely inseminated with female-sorted semen to maximise the genetic progress in the herd, with around three quarters of all dairy-breed inseminations now being with sexed semen. This means that far fewer dairy-breed male calves are produced, and the remainder of the dairy herd can be inseminated with beef semen to produce calves of higher value to the beef sector. Our webinar focused on the information and tools available to help in the selection of the best genetics to use to produce high-value calves for beef production.

For example, AHDB’s National Beef Evaluations (National beef evaluations | AHDB) provide estimated breeding values (EBVs) for five commercial carcase traits (plus three maternal EBVs) in beef cattle, using national data from processors, breed societies and the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). These carcase traits can be used to help select beef sires for use in the dairy herd to produce calves with greater potential for growth and carcase quality. Trends in the breeding values of beef sires used in the dairy herd show a much higher genetic merit for growth over the last 10 years, so that the days-to-slaughter EBV of calves born from dairy cows in 2021 was equal to that of calves born to suckler cows.

Of course, for calves to perform well, genetics is only part of the story. Every aspect of their management needs to be addressed, and other elements of the calf week programme described research on the health of dairy-bred calves, including managing bovine tuberculosis, rearing and nutrition.

Animal science has a part to play in improving every aspect of the production of beef from dairy-bred calves - their genetics, rearing, nutrition, and health, and our 2024 conference will address topics across these areas, while addressing our overall theme “The role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy.” Indeed, we plan a specific session on youngstock – so do submit your abstracts, and come along to join the conversation in Belfast in April 2024.

Annual Conference Promo

BSAS Annual conference 2024
Belfast, 9–11 April 2024

"The role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy"

Jobs Board


Pig Farmers’ Conference - Cavan

The Teagasc Pig Farmers’ Conference will take place on October 17th in the Hotel Kilmore, Cavan and on October 18th in the Horse and Jockey Hotel, Co. Tipperary. The event will begin at 1pm on both days with a light lunch provided. We urge all those involved in the sector to attend the conference and have the opportunity to meet fellow producers while seeing the latest information that the Teagasc Pig Development Department have put together for this year’s event.

This year we are delighted to have three invited speakers join our Pig Development Department line up for the event. Francesc Illas, works for Grup Batallé, a fully integrated company that manages 30,000 sows from genetics to final product, where he is currently the technical director and head of production. Johannes Vugts is a Senior Pig Production Adviser with HKScan, a 130 year old Scandinavian food company that is currently the fifth largest food manufacturer in Europe. He is based in Finland but also works Sweden and Estonia. Des Rice, who began his career as veterinarian, is a business Coach and psychotherapist and providing coaching and mentoring services on strategic, human-behaviour and stress management issues to many businesses and to various community groups.

We look forward to seeing many of you there, so make sure you mark it in your diary. If you would like any further information please contact Amy Quinn (, 087 3779015).

Teagasc Signpost Dairy Edge Podcast

The Dairy Edge is Teagasc’s weekly dairy podcast for farmers. Presented by Emma-Louise Coffey the podcasts will cover the latest information, insights and opinion to improve your dairy farm performance.

Signpost Dairy Farmers, John and Brendan Walsh, share details of their sustainability journey. They will outline the progress they are making in adopting the technologies that will allow them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The podcast will be available on Monday the 9th of October on all podcast platforms.

Pandemic-induced changes in human behaviour and routines affect the well-being and stress levels of dogs.

Take home message: The COVID-19 pandemic induced significant routine changes which increased stress levels for many dogs. A better understanding of these effects can improve stress management and the well-being of canine companions in times of disruption.

During the pandemic, owners spent more time at home with their dogs due to lockdowns and social restrictions. Dogs have a long history of coevolution with humans, serving various roles from hunting to providing companionship. The pandemic altered daily routines, which had potential implications for the well-being of dogs. Previous studies have found changes in routines, environments, and emotional states can lead to stress and behaviour problems in dogs, sometimes resulting in owners surrendering their pets to animal shelters. This study aimed to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dog behaviour in response to changes in their owners' routines and emotional states, ultimately shedding light on the complex relationship between humans and their canine companions.

Data collection occurred between November 2021 and February 2022, employing a mixed-methods approach, including qualitative interviews with dog owners and an online survey with 140 participants. The survey utilized 28 standardized questions and Likert-scale responses to gather data on past and present dog behaviour, household information, and owner stress levels. The data were analysed thematically, focusing on stress levels, routine changes, and the interplay between dog and owner behaviours.

Key findings included:

1. Changes in Routines:

Owners spent more time with their dogs, seeking emotional relief from them. While this increased bonding may seem positive, it resulted in varied emotional responses in dogs, including heightened attachment and anxiety. Alterations in exercise and social interactions impacted dogs' physical health and behaviour. Dogs experiencing abrupt changes in their routines were more likely to exhibit higher stress levels and were at risk of developing separation-related behaviours (SRBs) post-pandemic.

2. Effect of Changing Alone Time:

Changes in the amount of time dogs spent alone at home during the pandemic significantly affected their stress levels. Dogs experiencing dramatic increases or decreases in alone time exhibited higher stress scores, putting them at risk of developing SRBs post-pandemic.

3. Attention-Seeking Behaviour:

Alterations in exercise routines were linked to changes in dogs' attention-seeking behaviour. Dogs that experienced significant shifts in exercise levels, whether an increase or decrease, displayed higher attention-seeking behaviour. Reduced exercise was particularly associated with higher stress and attention-seeking scores.

4. Owner-Seeking Comfort:

During stressful periods, most dog owners sought comfort in their pets, reflecting a strong emotional bond. There was a clear positive correlation between human stress levels and dog stress levels, indicating that dogs are sensitive to their owners' emotional states. Similarly, a positive correlation between human stress and dog comfort suggests owners often turn to their dogs for emotional support.

5. Sex and Neuter Status:

While previous studies suggested that sex and neuter status might influence stress levels in dogs, this study did not find significant differences based on these factors.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected dogs through changes in their owners' routines, emotional states, and living environments. This study highlights the need for better owner education on recognizing and mitigating stress in dogs during disruptions. Based on these results, recommendations include raising awareness among dog owners about maintaining stable routines and environments, particularly providing guidelines for effective pet care during crises. Future studies should consider larger sample sizes and a specific focus on sex and neuter status to yield more comprehensive results. Controlled studies which delve deeper into specific stressors such as the impact of energy expenditure on sleep patterns and other behaviours are also suggested. Ultimately, these efforts can benefit both dogs and their owners during challenging times.

This study was carried out by Mathilde Aass in fulfilment of her BSc in Equine and Veterinary Bioscience at the University of Aberystwyth. Mathilde is now in her second year at Bristol University undertaking an accelerated veterinary medicine degree, having spent the past two years working as a veterinary clinic assistant in Norway between semesters. Mathilde would like to be a small animal vet to pursue her interests in how owners' routines and behaviours impact companion animals' well-being, particularly focusing on stress and hormonal changes, and exploring ways to reduce stress and discomfort in veterinary clinic environments for dogs and cats. Well done, Mathilde!

Lucy Ross, PhD graduate, University of Nottingham

Lucy Ross has been a BSAS Early Careers Council member for five years. She has now graduated from the University of Nottingham with a PhD in improving the heifer-rearing efficiency of fully-housed dairy systems in the UK.

BSAS blog by Elizabeth Magowan

Elizabeth Magowan

The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) is a well respected, long established and inclusive organisation which champions and prides itself as the leading organisation in the UK for dissemination of livestock science to a broad range of stakeholders. BSAS also provides a safe and friendly forum for livestock scientists to interact, develop and maximise the impact of their work.

As such I am very honoured to be the current president of BSAS, following in the footsteps of many great leaders from across the UK’s livestock sector.

The theme I have chosen for the year, which will culminate in the annual conference in April 2024 in Belfast is ‘The role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy’.

The reason for this is that I am passionate that Livestock cannot be dismissed and a global reduction in livestock numbers will have far reaching unintended consequences for economies, human health as well as environmental health. It is therefore the role of science to provide the evidence as to what Livestock’s role can and should be in a future ‘nutrient neutral’ food system supporting a world of increasing biodiversity.

In considering how to drive nutrient neutrality, where our air and water quality is much improved we will need to produce livestock within more circular systems, extracting maximum value from all outputs. As we journey that road we also need to recognise and quantify better the important role of livestock within biodiverse ecosystems, rural economies and our culture. In our developed society we have the fortunate position to engage in activities which make us happy – have we ever stopped to think how many people’s mental health is better as a result of being able to work with or observe our livestock across our countryside. In developing countries livestock play a significant role in religion, trading and survival of many families. While we may dismiss these additional and difficult to measure attributes that livestock provide, they run very deep.

Ultimately, the key role of livestock is to provide our population with a nutritious product consumed in moderation alongside fruit, vegetables etc– i.e. to contribute to a balanced healthy diet. The Dublin Declaration of Scientists on the societal role of livestock and associated publications does a very good job at setting out good evidence with regard to the importance of Livestock and its products within society, especially for human health.

Furthermore, at the recent EAAP conference there were a number of excellent presentations and a key take home for me was that the demand for meat and milk globally is not expected to get less in the coming years.

While Livestock production absolutely needs to play a significant role in contributing to the net zero agenda in the UK, it is not expected to be net zero in its own right, and as noted above Livestock has other nutrients to manage as well, notably nitrogen and phosphorous which need to be addressed to support improvements in our air and water quality.

Overall this cumulates to an exciting time for livestock scientists. In the post war era in the UK the challenge was to increase production to feed a hungry population, and livestock science underpinned nutritional, managerial and genetic advances to achieve the world leading position we have today. Todays’ challenge in now to maintain that productivity at least, but in an environmentally friendly way. With the great news recently that we can once again play a full role in EU projects, I have every confidence that the UK livestock science sector will rise to the challenge to not only bring forward novel and world leading innovations to create a world leading environmentally friendly livestock production sector in the UK, but will also bring forward unique strategies to ensure the adoption of those strategies are effective, efficient and long lasting.

Science That Delivers on Farm - UFU, AFBI & AgriSearch webinar series

Join our new series jointly delivered but the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), Agri-Foods and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Agrisearch.

Each session will be held online via Zoom starting at 8pm, lasting for 1 hour

Session dates and topics

  • 26 September: Increasing Production Efficiency
  • 3 October: Resilient Grassland Management
  • 10 October: Dairy Nutrition
  • 17 October: Nutrient Management in Grassland
  • 24 October: Farm Case Studies of Carbon Benchmarking

Isabel Lewis

Ceva Animal Health launches its 2024 ‘Call for Projects’ to help enhance the human-animal bond


Ceva Animal Health (Ceva) has launched its 2024 ‘Call for Projects’ search to discover and support new, innovative solutions for the wellbeing and care of companion animals to enhance the human-animal bond.

Through the ‘Call for Projects’ programme, the company seeks to harness the expertise and creativity of individuals, startups, and organisations to address key issues in animal health and develop groundbreaking solutions that will benefit companion animals worldwide.

The worldwide initiative welcomes projects that span a wide range of areas with the objective of co-developing innovations to advance pet wellbeing and support the human-animal bond. These include, but are not limited, to:

  • Digital Health Solutions: leveraging technology and data to enhance the monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment of companion animals.

  • Preventive Care: novel approaches to preventive care, such as nutrition, vaccination, and behaviour management.

  • Wellness and Enrichment: innovative products or services that promote physical and mental wellbeing in companion animals.

  • Diagnostic Tools: advanced diagnostic tools, including rapid and non-invasive methods for accurate diagnosis and monitoring of animal health.

Participants are encouraged to submit their project proposal detailing their innovative solutions, target audience, and potential impact on Agorize. Projects must be submitted in one (or more) of the categories available on the platform: Devices, Digital or Technology.

A panel of judges, comprising leading experts from Ceva, will carefully evaluate the submissions based on criteria such as innovation, feasibility, scalability, and potential for impact.

Selected projects will receive valuable support from Ceva, including mentorship, access to industry networks, and resources to accelerate the development and commercialisation of their innovative solutions. Additionally, the selected projects will gain recognition and visibility within the animal health community, paving the way for future collaborations and partnerships.

"We are excited to launch the 2024 'Call for Projects’," says Marc Prikazsky, Chairman and CEO at Ceva. "Companion animals play an essential role in our lives, and we are convinced that by fostering innovation we can improve their wellbeing and ensure they receive the care they deserve. With the increasing humanisation of pets, our furry companions have become members of the family. ‘Pet parents’ are increasingly looking for new solutions to provide them with the best possible care. That’s why we encourage individuals and organisations from diverse backgrounds to participate and help us discover game-changing solutions for companion animal health."

Ceva is the #5 global animal health company, present in 110 countries worldwide. The company has a deep commitment and recognised expertise in improving the lives of companion animals. It knows the important role pets play in our lives and is dedicated to continuing to advance the human-animal bond, a central piece of the company’s One Health approach.

Professor Sir Ian Wilmut

Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, leader of the team that created Dolly the Sheep, has died at age 79.

The creation of Dolly the Sheep at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute in 1996 was the first time a mammal had been cloned from an adult somatic cell. Previously, it was believed that cloning could only be achieved with embryonic cells.

'Science has lost a household name' said Professor Bruce Whitelaw, director of the Roslin Institute. 'Ian led the research team that produced the first cloned mammal in Dolly. This animal has had such a positive impact on how society engages with science, and how scientists engage with society. His legacy drives so many exciting applications emerging from animal and human biology research.'

Professor Wilmut's early work focused on the cryopreservation of semen and embryos. He received his doctorate from Darwin College, Cambridge, in animal genetic engineering in 1971. He remained in Cambridge, spending two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Unit of Reproductive Physiology and Biochemistry, where he was part of the team that created Frostie, the first calf born from a frozen embryo in 1973. That same year, he became a senior scientific officer at the Animal Breeding Research Organisation (which would become the Roslin Institute in 1993).

Professor Wilmut was also actively engaged in policy discussions related to his work, asserting that his research would not lead to any form of human cloning. In 2006, he co-authored a book, 'After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning,' with Dr Roger Highfield, science director of the Science Museum Group. Both Professor Wilmut and Dr Highfield participated in a conversation at the Progress Educational Trust's 2017 conference, about the media's reaction to his work and lessons that can be learned today (see BioNews 884).

After Dolly, Professor Wilmut turned his focus to regenerative medicine and stem cells until his retirement in 2012. Following his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease in 2018, he became a patron for a research programme that supports new trials developing therapies to slow the progression of the disease.

Membership Profile: Debbie Nash, Senior Lecturer in Animal and Equine Science, Aberystwyth University

Membership Profile: Debbie Nash, Senior Lecturer in Animal and Equine Science, Aberystwyth University

How did you first become aware of BSAS, and what motivated you to join as a member?

Many years ago when I moved to Aberystwyth University, many of my colleagues were members and encouraged me to join.

What specific benefits have you experienced as a member of BSAS?

As well as the many membership benefits listed online, I became very active on the Programme Committee, helping to organise the annual conference, especially organising the equine sessions. Over a period of years I moved up to being secretary, deputy and finally chair of that committee, which certainly raised my professional profile. In fact it was well received by my University and helped support a successful promotion application.

Another benefit of the BSAS conference is that it is very post-graduate friendly and is a great platform for PhD students to present for the first time. I would always encourage an inexperienced student to present there as it’s guaranteed to be a welcoming forum for a first scientific conference.

How has being a member of BSAS helped you in your career or professional development?

    Being a member of BSAS has also introduced me to the BSAS-RSB accreditation scheme, which enables me to be recognised as a Registered Animal Scientist. Part of the requirement to remain on the register is to maintain an active CPD record, and indeed, many of the committee level activities and conference attendance at BSAS qualified as CPD points to ensure I stay on the register each year.

    Have you actively participated in any BSAS committees or working groups? If yes, how has this involvement influenced your understanding of the animal science field?

    Yes, see above. Attending the annual conferences is also very helpful to expand my learning from other fields, as well as advance my knowledge of latest developments. Some of these developments can be used to updated my lecture notes for teaching under and post graduate students.

    In what ways has BSAS facilitated networking opportunities with other professionals in your field of interest?

    Yes, BSAS supported an initiative I had which was an annual meeting ‘Colloquium for Equine Reproduction’. I started the colloquium by myself but it was financial difficult to run (as well as time consuming) so BSAS offered to incorporate it as a satellite meeting in the annual conference. The colloquium ran for 2 years, and stopped as other more global equine reproduction meetings started to become more popular (and I could no longer lead the organising as I started a family and had to reduce my commitments). Nonetheless, the support was super and it also helped me expand my networks and reputation as a scientist.

    Have you had the opportunity to present your research or work at any

    BSAS conferences or events? If yes, how was your experience?

      Yes, and this is one of the Societies’ strengths…a friendly and

      welcoming platform to present work to UK-wide professionals.

       To sign up to become a BSAS member visit

      Member Profile: Issy Lewis share her experience of student and early career membership

      Early Career Member Profile - Issy Lewis

      How did you first become aware of BSAS, and what motivated you to join as an Early Career member?

      During my undergraduate I became aware of the BSAS and joined on a student membership. Once I finished my PhD and entering the early stages of my career I was motivated to network with like minded scientists at various stages of their career.

      What specific benefits have you experienced as an Early Career member of BSAS?

      Having the opportunity to be a member of the early careers committee has allowed the opportunity to participate in BSAS activities such as fresher’s week and the annual conference.

      Do you feel that your voice and opinions are heard within BSAS as an Early Career member?

      In the early stages of my time as a member of the early careers committee I have ben able to voice my opinion on the society’s future plans and suggest solutions to current problems. All ideas are considered which encourages me as a member to actively participate.

      Can you share a memorable or rewarding experience you've had as an Early Career member of BSAS?

      By joining the BSAS as an early career member I was able to reconnect with a previous colleague and discuss how our careers have developed and learning we were on a very similar career trajectory in academia.

      What advice would you give to other Early Career professionals who are considering joining BSAS?

      Utilize all the benefits that are available for instance access to journals, networking opportunities and workshops to name a few.

      You can watch a short video of Issy in which she explains the benefits of BSAS membership here.

      Member Profile: Issy Lewis share her experience of student and early career membership

      Early Career Member Profile - Issy Lewis

      How did you first become aware of BSAS, and what motivated you to join as an Early Career member?

      During my undergraduate I became aware of the BSAS and joined on a student membership. Once I finished my PhD and entering the early stages of my career I was motivated to network with like minded scientists at various stages of their career.

      What specific benefits have you experienced as an Early Career member of BSAS?

      Having the opportunity to be a member of the early careers committee has allowed the opportunity to participate in BSAS activities such as fresher’s week and the annual conference.

      Do you feel that your voice and opinions are heard within BSAS as an Early Career member?

      In the early stages of my time as a member of the early careers committee I have ben able to voice my opinion on the society’s future plans and suggest solutions to current problems. All ideas are considered which encourages me as a member to actively participate.

      Can you share a memorable or rewarding experience you've had as an Early Career member of BSAS?

      By joining the BSAS as an early career member I was able to reconnect with a previous colleague and discuss how our careers have developed and learning we were on a very similar career trajectory in academia.

      What advice would you give to other Early Career professionals who are considering joining BSAS?

      Utilize all the benefits that are available for instance access to journals, networking opportunities and workshops to name a few.

      You can watch a short video of Issy in which she explains the benefits of BSAS membership here.

      Join A Thriving Community of Animal Scientists: Sign Up for BSAS Student Membership During Freshers Week!

      As Freshers Week is about to kicks off, we would like to welcome all incoming and returning students to the new academic year.  The British Student Association of Animal Science (BSAS)would also like to invite you to become a part of our vibrant community by signing up for BSAS Student Membership at the unbeatable price of just £15 for the entire year!

      BSAS is a national organisation dedicated to advancing the animal science sector, improving the understanding of all aspects of animal science and ensuring research and knowledge transfer has a practical and beneficial application. A key part to advancing the sector is to foster excellence, personal growth, and professional development among animal science university students across the country.

      By signing up with BSAS, you are joining a prestigious academic society that opens doors to an array of opportunities, beginning with access to vital resources that will enrich your university experience and set you up for a successful future.

      Here's what you can expect from your BSAS Student Membership:

      Educational Events and Workshops: Attend scientific seminars, workshops, and webinars led by leaders in animal science, covering a wide range of subjects to complement your studies and expand your knowledge. Our training supports are student friendly, giving you the information you need without the complex jargon.

      Networking Opportunities: Connect with like-minded individuals, mentors, and industry professionals at BSAS conferences and events. Build valuable connections that could lead to internships, job opportunities, or collaborative projects. Expand your netowrk further by signing up for the BSAS Early Career Committee which is made up of peers from other universities and industry across the UK and Ireland.

      Career Support: Gain a competitive edge in the job market with our career-focused resources, including a dedicated session at the annual conference for student and early career members, which covers writing articles, CV workshops, interview preparation sessions, and job fairs featuring top employers.

      Scholarships and Awards: As a BSAS member, you will be eligible to apply for exclusive BSAS scholarships and awards to support your academic journey and recognise your achievements.. The BSAS Undergraduate Thesis of The Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the early career category.

      Engaging Community: Be a part of a supportive community of students who share similar interests and ambitions. Engage in discussions, debates, and extracurricular activities with fellow members. Join the Early Career Council (ECC) and help to shape the resources we offer as well as develop essential skills, such as leadership, communication, and teamwork.

      Exclusive Offers: Enjoy discounts on various educational resources, books, events, and services through our partners and sponsors.

      Watch Georgina Smith's short video which highlights some of the member benefits she enjoys here.

      Signing up for BSAS Student Membership is easy! Simply visit our website and register using our easy to use form. Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to enrich your university experience and unlock potential opportunities for your career.

      For more information, visit our website

      To sign up for student membership, visit



      Conference 2024



      BSAS 2024 - Submissions

      Authors are invited to submit their abstracts for inclusion in the BSAS 2024 conference, using the guidelines below. A peer review of the papers will be performed, and accepted papers will be published in open access indexed Proceedings of BSAS 2024, published by animal - Science Proceedings.

      Selected abstracts will be allocated into the conference programme as posters or oral presentations, a representative (presenting author) is expected to register for the conference to present the work.

      Thank you for submitting your work for BSAS 2024, if you have any questions, please email

      Once you have read the following guidelines, please click here to submit your work.

      BSAS 2024 - Information

      Please find conference information and guidelines

      Genetic components of body condition score and locomotion in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows

      By Abigail Frazer

      The inclusion of new traits, such as body condition score and locomotion, into breeding goals, is being considered as a potential solution to prevent the worsening of health and fertility in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. Evaluation of these traits in terms of their heritability, ease of measurement and genetic correlation with health, reproduction and condition will be paramount to ensure their future implementation in breeding programmes.

      It is well known that traditional selection of Holstein-Friesian dairy cows for increased milk production has inadvertently resulted in a decline in the health and fertility of such cows. In recent years, there has been increased emphasis on the inclusion of functional traits in breeding goals in an attempt to improve reproduction and health, while simultaneously reducing involuntary culling of animals. The measurement of such traits is however often difficult and extremely subjective, with many of them having low heritability and therefore little potential to ultimately improve health and fertility.

      Locomotion is a trait that describes the quality of a cow’s gait and has a role in determining lameness, which is a major concern on dairy farms with severe consequences on milk yield, reproductive performance, and welfare. Diseases of the legs and feet are also highly prevalent among dairy farms, causing significant economic losses due to involuntary culling of chronically lame animals. Body condition score is a trait that measures body tissue reserves and can be used to predict the fertility, health, and welfare of cows. Body condition score is thought to have high genetic variability and is strongly correlated with breed and other conformation traits, making it ideal for use in selection indices. Overall, locomotion and body condition score are among the main traits with links to fertility and health, hence the interest to include them in breeding programme criteria.

      In a recent study, data on over 300,000 Holstein-Friesian cows was collected, with evaluation of body condition score and locomotion performed by trained classifiers using 9-point scales. All cows were body condition scored from 1 being very thin to 9 being very fat – the optimum value was 5 being intermediate. 43% of cows were evaluated for locomotion from 1 being lame (severe abduction and short stride) to 9 being normal (no abduction and long stride) – the optimum value. Genetic parameters were estimated, and breeding values calculated using the same model. Genetic trends were then extrapolated.

      The aims of this study were to estimate the genetic parameters for body condition score and locomotion, while assessing how such traits interact with other traits, and it did so successfully. Body condition score was found to have moderate heritability (0.19) with genetic correlation to fertility, while locomotion was found to have low heritability (0.06) and strong genetic correlation to feet and leg traits.

      Overall this study demonstrated that the inclusion of body condition score and locomotion in breeding criteria could contribute to more effective cattle selection, in order to ultimately improve fertility and feet and leg traits respectively in dairy cattle.

      Abigail Frazer is an Animal Science graduate from Newcastle University and undergraduate Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Nottingham.


      Jagusiak, W., Ptak, E., Otwinowska-Mindur, A. & Zarnecki, A., 2023. Genetic relationships of body condition score and locomotion with production, type and fertility traits in Holstein-Friesian cows. Animal, 17(6)

      Healthy and sustainable diets: The role of animal-derived foods


      Animal-derived foods (milk and dairy, meat, fish and eggs) offer primary sources of essential nutrients some of which are not readily available in plant-based foods. These foods play an important role across every stage of life, including childhood, adolescence, pregnancy and lactation, and older age. However, consumer concerns around their carbon footprint to produce animal-derived foods, animal welfare in intensive livestock production systems, and dietary patterns (such as vegetarianism and veganism) are primary drivers for the reduction of consumption in animal products; and increasingly their replacement with plant-based alternatives, particularly in developed countries. Affordability and availability challenges also favour a low intake of animal-derived foods in many developing countries.

      This event will address issues around the role of, and the balance between, animal-derived foods and plant-based alternatives in human diets and provide evidence on how we can develop and promote healthy, sustainable, and accessible diets for different consumer demographics and dietary patterns.


      The event is intended to broker links between science, agriculture, food, nutrition and health industries, with a target audience of academics, students and early-career researchers across all these fields; stakeholders across the food chain including farmers, agricultural consultants and managers, food manufacturers and product developers, nutrition and health consultants and professionals, marketing and retailers; policy-makers; and consumers, as well as the public who are seeking evidence-based information around health and sustainable diets.

      Exhibition and sponsorship

      For further information and prices, please email

      Call for Posters

      Contributions are invited from early-stage researchers and PhD students working on the nutritional composition and the role of animal-derived foods (milk, dairy, meat, eggs, fish) and plant-based alternatives in human nutrition and health, as well as the environmental footprint and socio-economic implications of consuming animal-derived foods and plant-based alternatives. In addition, studies that investigate pathways to develop and promote healthy, sustainable and accessible diets for different consumer demographics and dietary patterns are highly encouraged and within the remit of this conference.

      The objective for the competition is to identify posters which best explain the outcomes of the research, and also in the context of the potential application of the results by the industry and consumers. There will be voucher prizes of £100 for 1st place and £50 for 2nd place. An abstract of maximum 250 words (250 words does not include author names, affiliations, references or figure captions) indicating title, authors, institution included with the Poster, should be sent to by Monday 30 October 2023 with the subject line “Healthy and Sustainable diets event - poster submission” You can download an abstract template here.

      The 1st place winner will be additionally awarded with the opportunity to publish their poster in JSFA as well as JSFA Reports.


      Tuesday 5 December 2023


      Registration and refreshments


      Welcome and introduction; What is a healthy and sustainable diet? Alice Stanton, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland & Devenish Nutrition

      Session 1: Human nutrition and health

      10:45  Dietary transition from animal to plant-derived foods: are there risks to health? Prof Ian Givens, University of Reading

      11:00  The contribution of red meat to nutrition and health in adults Kate Arthur, AHDB

      11:15  The role of animal-sourced foods on child nutrition in developing countries Prof Adegbola Adesogan, University of Florida

      11:30  The role of fish in a balanced and healthy diet Dr Matthew Sprague, University of Stirling

      11:45  Panel discussion

      12:05  Refreshment break

      Session 2: Environmental and socio-economic sustainability

      12:30  Merging the environmental and nutritional sciences: viewing agri-food environmental footprints through novel lenses Dr Graham McAuliffe, Rothamsted Research

      12:45  Sustainability in livestock production systems: what are the options? Prof Michael Lee, Harper Adams University

      13:00  Is cultured meat a threat or opportunity for UK farmers? David Rose, Royal Agricultural University

      13:15  Panel discussion

      13:35  Lunch, posters and exhibition

      Session 3: Implementation, challenges and solutions

      14:30  How can we achieve a healthy and sustainable diet? Ursula Arens, Nutrition writer and consultant

      14:45  Supply-chain perspectives on healthy and sustainable diets Emer Lowery, Waitrose

      15:00  Panel discussion

      15:20  Networking reception

      16:30  Close of conference

      Women In Science Webinar

      We are pleased to invite members to a special webinar on Thursday 9 November to hear from female leaders working in academia, industry and the British Society of Animal Science.

      Each will share a brief overview of their background, why they have chosen such a demanding career and how they have overcome hurdles to get to where they are in their profession. They may even share a few lessons learned along the way! As always we expect this to be a highly interactive webinar and participants will have an opportunity to pose questions to the panel.

      Who is the webinar for?

      This webinar is open to all members, irrespective of gender, who are interested in promoting gender equality in agricultural science and supporting the incredible women in this field. It's an opportunity to celebrate achievements and foster a culture of empowerment and collaboration.

      This webinar is particularly targeted at women working in Agricultural Science, whether you have just started your studies, are in your first job or have been working for over twenty years, you are warmly invited to tune in and join the conversation.

      As females working in science, we juggle many parts of our lives and often lean on partners and others as we navigate busy work and travel schedules. This webinar celebrates our support networks and we encourage you to invite your partners to take part.

      How do I attend?

      To attend, please block out 1 - 2PM in your diary on Thursday 9 November and click this link.

      Joining Details

      Date: Thursday 9 November 2023

      Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (UTC)

      Platform: Zoom



      1:00 PM – 1:10 PM

      Welcome and Introduction, Elizabeth Magowan

      1:10 PM – 1:35 PM

      Success Stories: Inspiring Women in Agricultural Science

      • Anna Dinsdale, Premier Nutrition

      • Jude Capper, Harper Adams

      • Laura Boyle, Teagasc

      • Lyndsay Chapman,CIEL

      • Minnette Batters, National Farmers' Union

      1:35 PM – 1:55 PM

      Q&A Session

      1:55 PM – 2:00 PM

      Closing Remarks

      Why You Should Attend:

      • Gain insights from accomplished women who have excelled in agricultural science.

      • Learn how supportive partners play a crucial role to your success.

      • Connect with a community of like-minded individuals who share your passion.

      • Get inspired to achieve your career goals in agricultural science, no matter where you are in your journey.

      Joint AAAP & AAAS Animal Production Congress 2024 8th - 12th July   Melbourne

      This year’s theme is ‘Embracing Disruption as an opportunity for animal science’ and will be held on 8th - 12th July at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

      The Joint AAAS & AAAP Joint Animal Production is now open for paper submissions.

      Harriet Bunning

      Georgina Smith

      Effects of lactic acid bacteria-fermented formula milk supplementation on colonic microbiota and mucosal transcriptome profile of weaned piglets

      Written by: Georgina Smith

      Take home message: This study investigates a lactic acid bacteria-fermented formula as a supplement for weaned piglets to help support gut health. The findings suggest that fermented milk is beneficial for the colon health of weaned piglets.

      Background: Weaning is one of the biggest challenges in a piglet’s life due to abrupt dietary and social changes and is often the source of post-weaning diseases and disorders. Historically piglets have been treated with antibiotics or zinc oxide as a method of controlling the dysbiosis in the gut during this period, however, understanding has grown, and legislation changed regarding the suitability of these treatments for weaned piglets. Research now focusses on alternative treatments to ease piglets into the next stage of life while maximising welfare, growth and performance. One option is to introduce probiotics, which are beneficial microbial species intended to be fed for their digestive and immune benefits. Fermented milk offers a good carrier for probiotics as it already contains some of these beneficial species and with increased popularity of liquid feeding systems, can be easily supplemented to piglets. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of lactic acid bacteria-fermented formula on the colonic health of weaned piglets.

      Method: Two groups of Landrace x Large White piglets were used, all at 30 days old. All piglets had ad lib access to a corn-soybean-based feed and fresh water throughout the trial period and one group got an additional 80 mL of the lactic acid bacteria-fermented formula three times a day, whereas the control group were offered additional water three times a day. The formula treatment consisted of bovine milk powder, functional oligosaccharides (complex sugars found in colostrum and milk), sucrose and 3 strains of lactic acid bacteria. All piglets were monitored over a 21-day trial period to assess improvements in gut health and growth performance.

      Parameters measured to quantify growth performance included body weight, average daily feed intake, average daily gain, feed intake to weight gain ratio, and diarrhea index. Some of the parameters measured to assess gut health included (but were not limited to) number of goblet cells and associated gene expression (responsible for secreting mucus and associated with improved health due to mucus blocking adhesion of pathogens to the intestinal wall), histological scoring of colonic tissue (to quantify damage seen in the colon through inflammation or injury), analysis of pro-inflammatory cytokines (internal markers that indicate levels of inflammation), and microbial populations (abundance and diversity of which can be linked to better or poorer colonic health).

      Findings: Some highlights from the results include that the fermented milk supplementation significantly decreased colonic damage scores and decreased some pro-inflammatory cytokines, suggesting it is beneficial for gut health. The treatment group showed increased average daily gain but no difference was seen in feed intake to weight gain ratio, due to the increase in feed intake that was also seen in the treatment group. It was suggested that the volatile flavour compounds within the fermented milk formula are likely causing the improved feed intake and weight gain. It was discussed that the adjustments in colonic microbiota and gene expression were largely responsible for the improved health and growth performance seen in this trial but it should also be considered that the extra nutrients and energy provided by the formula are also important. Diarrhea scores between groups were no different but the authors comment that the scores were generally low which could be why no stark difference was seen and suggest this as a point for further study as post-weaning diarrhea is a common issue the industry faces.

      Conclusion: Fermented milk formula provides beneficial probiotic effects and could support piglet gut health through the challenging weaning period, and, as summarised by the authors, “it is important to consider further promoting liquid feeding facilities and developing lower-cost production processes for the feasibility and sustainability of probiotic fermented milk in future animal husbandry”.


      A. Lin, X. Yan, R. Xu, H. Wang , Y. Su, W. Zhu

      BSAS Dairy Nutrition Conference

      Thank you to our sponsors


      If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please contact

      Registration Rates




      Non Member

      Early Bird (closes 10th Dec 2023)

      £175.00 £195.00




      Drinks Reception & Conference Dinner




      The production and consumption of milk from dairy cattle is of foundational importance in all societies, providing essential nutrients, many of which are lacking in diets globally. The pressures on today’s milk production systems are financial, environmental and societal. Feed is the main input cost per litre of milk and dairy cow nutrition is pivotal in sustainable dairy operations.

      The effect of improved feed efficiency and longevity on reducing the environmental impact of livestock systems is well-documented. To that end, increasing feed efficiency whilst concurrently reducing disease incidence has to be a priority in modern dairy systems.

      Join us for the conference that will showcase the latest recommended practice in feeding the dairy cow. Here, science will underpin applied nutrition throughout the production cycle, from calf to heifer to cow. Global experts, including Dr Dave Davies, Professor David Kenny and Professor Liam Sinclair, will share their science and evidence-based knowledge to help advance your dairy cow nutrition knowledge.

      Attendance at this conference qualifies for 30 CPD points.

      Key topics:

      • Feed Analysis & Evaluation
      • Livestock Feed Innovations
      • Practical Feeding


      10th January 2024

      1300 Registration and Refreshments 

      Opening – Elizabeth Magowan, BSAS President and AFBI

      Feed Analysis and Evaluation (related to practical experience on farm)

      Chair – David Wilde, Massey Feeds, UK

      1400 Methods and interpretation of forage analysis, Dr Dave Davies, Silage Solutions Ltd., UK

      1445 Processing methods to optimise feed nutritive value, Prof John Newbold, SRUC

      1530 Coffee break

      Forage/Pasture based systems – The Challenges

      Chair – Prof Michael Lee, Harper Adams University, UK

      1600 Practical grazing management for ruminants – the plant’s perspective, Charlie Morgan, GrassMaster Ltd

      1630 Practical grazing for ruminants – a nutritionist’s perspective, Prof David Kenny, Teagasc, Ireland

      1700 101 of silage making, Dr Dave Davies, Silage Solutions Ltd., UK

      1900 Drinks reception

      1930 Dinner

      11th January 2024

      0900 Registration and Refreshments

      Global Livestock Feed

      Chair – Prof David Kenny, Teagasc, Ireland

      0930 International raw materials, James McCulloch, Agricultural Industries Confederation, UK

      Practical feeding


      Chair – Dr Steven Morrison, AFBI

      1000 Feeding the calf, Dr Ginny Sherwin, University of Nottingham

      1045 Feeding the heifer, Dr Alex Bach, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies

      The cow

      Chair – Dr Helen Warren, Alltech, Ireland

      1130 Feeding the dry cow, Prof Alastair Macrae, University of Edinburgh

      1215 Feeding the milking cow, Prof Liam Sinclair, Harper Adams University

      1300 Buffet lunch and depart

      Download event booklet

      Sponsorship  Opportunities - please contact to find out about sponsorship opportunitites.

      The animal Management Board is thrilled to welcome Isabelle Louveau as the incoming Editor-in-Chief

      The animal Management Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Isabelle Louveau as the new Editor-in-Chief (EiC) of animal, the esteemed scientific journal dedicated to advancing the fields of animal science and management. Dr. Louveau's extensive experience in scientific publishing make her an invaluable addition to the leadership team at animal.

      Joining in January 2024, Isabelle Louveau will work alongside the current Editor-in-Chief, Isabelle Ortigues, and other team members to create a seamless transition, ensuring a smooth handover of responsibilities and maintaining the journal's commitment to delivering high-quality and impactful research to its readership.

      Theanimal Management Board is confident that Isabelle Louveau's proven expertise and dedication to scientific publishing will further enhance animal's reputation as a leading platform for cutting-edge research in animal science. Her vision for the journal aligns perfectly with its mission of fostering knowledge dissemination and supporting innovative research within the field.

      "We are excited to welcome Isabelle Louveau to our team as the new Editor-in-Chief," said Jaap van Milgen, INRAE and Independent Chair of the animal Management Board. "Her unique background and remarkable accomplishments in scientific publishing make her the ideal candidate to lead animal to new heights. We express our heartfelt gratitude to Isabelle Ortigues-Marty for her invaluable contributions and her commitment to supporting a seamless transition process."

      Ms. Louveau expressed her enthusiasm for her new role, stating, "I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead animal as its Editor-in-Chief. I look forward to working closely with the talented team at the journal and contributing to the advancement of animal science through impactful research publication. Together, we will maintain animal's position as a beacon of excellence in the field."

      During the transition period, Isabelle Louveau and Isabelle Ortigues-Marty will collaborate closely to ensure a seamless editorial process. This transition strategy highlights animal's commitment to maintaining its high standards and continuing to serve as an essential resource for researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts in the animal management field.

      The entire animal team and the animal Management Board extend their sincere appreciation to Isabelle Louveau for accepting this prestigious role. Her leadership is poised to usher in a new era of growth and innovation for animal and build on the stellar work delivered by Isabelle Ortigues-Marty who leaves the journal with an all time high impact factor of 3.6.

      Related article: Why you should publish with animal

      TEAGASC PHD WALSH SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY - RU-MINIG: RUmen microbiome MINING for bacterial cultures to reduce methane

      “RU-MINIG: RUmen microbiome MINING for bacterial cultures to reduce methane”

      Background: The agri-food sector is one of Ireland and New Zealand’s largest indigenous industries and a key player in the national economy. However, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural, primarily enteric methane, accounts for 38 and 49% of Irish and New Zealand total GHG emissions.

      Enteric methane originates as a by-product of rumen microbial fermentation. Previous research from Ireland and New Zealand has highlighted the contribution of individual species of lactic acid producing bacteria (LAB), to inter animal divergence in methane output.

      This Walsh Scholarship is part of an international collaboration between researchers in Ireland and New Zealand, called ‘RU-MINIG, funded by the Ireland – New Zealand Joint Research Mechanism (2023-2027). The goal of the project is to evaluate the anti-methanogenic effects of individual strains of LAB and their suitability as potential silage inoculants for beef cattle. Promising LAB will also be administered to calves in early life, to investigate their potential to alter the course of microbial establishment within the rumen, and have a lasting impact on the subsequent enteric emissions of an animal in later life.

      The successful candidate will join a team with a track record of success in this research topic, and have access to research infrastructure. There will be opportunities throughout the programme for professional development training, conference attendance and international travel to expand your research interest.

      Requirements: Applicants should have a primary degree (First or upper Second Class Honours) or a M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline (Microbiology, Animal or Agricultural Science, Molecular biology, Biochemistry, Biology etc.). The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and be prepared for both laboratory and field work. A full EU driving licence is also required. Proficiency in the English language is required.

      Please see the following link with regard to English Language requirements

      Award: This 3 year PhD Scholarship is part of a large international project called ‘RU-MINIG’, funded by the Ireland – New Zealand Joint Research Mechanism (2023-2027). The scholar will be registered at University College Cork (UCC), but primarily based at the Teagasc Animal and Bioscience Research Department, Grange Co. Meath, Ireland, with complementary laboratory and course work conducted at UCC.

      The scholar will be under the joint supervision of Prof. Sinéad Waters and Dr. Paul Smith (Teagasc) and Prof. Paul Ross (UCC). The scholarship funding is €24,500 per annum and includes University fees of up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum and is tenable for 3 years.

      Further Information/Applications: For further information please email: or

      Application Procedure: Submit an electronic copy of a Curriculum Vitae, which should include a short personal statement and the names and contact details of two referees, by email to: .

      Freshers Week

      Welcome to Freshers Week.

      Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer/ Associate Professor/ Professor in Behavioural Genetics/ Epigenetics

      The role

      Bristol Veterinary School (BVS) is seeking to recruit a dynamic researcher with skills in behavioural genetics/epigenetics and an interest in animal welfare science to develop, build and lead research into the underlying genetic influences on animal behaviour and welfare.

      Through a better understanding of how gene-environment interactions influence animal behaviour, health and welfare, we will be able to identify genetic risk factors for behaviour and welfare problems, and the heritability of characteristics including emotional traits in companion and farm species that influence coping abilities. This will allow us to make predictions about the development of resilient or vulnerable phenotypes, alter early rearing conditions accordingly, screen for specific genotypes, and select against abnormal and undesirable behaviour in animal breeding programmes. Together, these developments have huge potential for improving the welfare of animals living alongside people.

      To achieve these goals, the successful applicant will be expected to develop a funded research programme in a relevant area which may include, but is not limited to: population-level GWAS (genome-wide association studies) to detect genetic variants associated with behaviour or welfare-relevant traits; lab-based studies of the genetics/genomics of welfare-relevant traits and animal personality differences; development of non-invasive genetic indicators of, and screening for, at-risk or resilient phenotypes; identification of genetic and epigenetic risk factors for behaviour disorders in companion animals; welfare implications of genetic selection for production characteristics in farmed animals and genetic modification of laboratory animals; implications of breeding practices for welfare in companion animals.

      Applicants with interests, skills and experience in these and other relevant areas are welcome, but they must have a clear vision of how their work will advance animal welfare and/or animal welfare science and/or generate methods for improving animal welfare and resilience or minimising welfare harms.

      The post is advertised from Lecturer to Professor level.

      The post is based at Bristol Veterinary School on the University of Bristol’s Langford campus, within the Faculty of Health Sciences.

      What will you be doing?

      You will develop your research in a collaborative environment encompassing the Bristol Animal Welfare and Behaviour Research Community and BVS researchers in other areas including animal infection, immunity and disease, AMR, clinical research, sustainable agriculture and livestock production, agricultural economics, and animal nutrition, and a cross-cutting data science community, all sitting within two over-arching research themes of Population Health and Global Food Security. Many collaborative opportunities in the wider University are also available. You will be expected to build a research group through external funding from UKRI and related funders, supervise postgraduate research students, and contribute to teaching in relevant subject areas on one or more of our Veterinary Science BVSc (incl. Accelerated Graduate Entry Programme), Veterinary Nursing and Companion Animal Behaviour BSc, and Global Wildlife Health & Conservation MSc programmes.

      You should apply if

      Applicants should have a PhD in animal welfare or a related subject and a strong track record of publication and grant funding success, commensurate with experience and the level at which they apply.

      Additional information

      Contract type: Open ended

      Work pattern: Full time 1.0 FTE (though we are happy to discuss flexible working including part-time and/or job-share applications).

      Grade: K - M

      Salary: £47,047 - 82,596 p.a (pro rata)

      School/Unit: Bristol Veterinary School

      This advert will close at 23:59 GMT on 17/09/2023

      For any informal enquiries please contact Professor Michael Mendl- or Dr Suzanne Held-

      BSAS Member Professor Frank Dunshea Awarded New Frontiers In Animal Science Award in the US

      At the recent American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) annual scientific meeting in Albuquerque, Prof Frank Dunshea was awarded the Federation of American Animal Science Societies (FASS) American Feed Industries Association (AFIA) New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award for 2023.

      Frank is the first person from outside North America to be awarded this prestigious award. A longstanding member of the British Society of Animal Science, Frank is a Professor of Growth and Development at the University of Leeds and a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Chair of Agriculture at The University of Melbourne. He has a BAgSci and PhD from La Trobe University and post-doctoral training at Cornell University and worked as a government scientist before joining the university sector.

      Frank is an outstanding scientist, who has published over 1,000 journal, conference, book, and technical articles. His recent primary research focus has been on the effect of climate change on livestock production and identifying nutritional interventions to mitigate heat stress.

      Overall, his nutritional research has led to exciting findings, many of which have been adopted by the livestock industries. Frank has received many awards for his research in animal science, including the ASAS Awards for Growth and Development (2009), Non-Ruminant Nutrition (2013), Meat Science (2017) and Ruminant Nutrition (2022), as well as the Asian-Australasian Association for Animal Production Woogene award for Animal Biotechnology (2022).

      Frank is a Fellow of the Nutrition Society of Australia, the Australasian Pig Science Association, and the Australian Association of Animal Sciences. In late 2022, he was made a Fellow of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences, only the second animal nutritionist to receive this honour”.

      Post Doctoral Scientists in Sustainable Livestock Production

      Job type: Various
      Location: Hillsborough
      Salary: £32,880 - £34,011
      Quantity of Posts Available: 3

      A permanent full-time position for an enthusiastic post-doc scientist is currently available in AFBI’s Animal Welfare Unit. The work will involve multiple farm animal species (e.g. cattle, pigs, poultry) as well as the assessment of a variety of aspects of welfare (e.g. behaviour, health, physiology). The job not only includes designing, carrying out, and reporting on experiments, but also participating in wider activities enabling research, e.g., funding acquisition, creating and maintaining scientific networks, and supporting students in their own research.

      For further information and to submit your application, click APPLY NOW

      Completed application forms must be submitted no later than 12:00 noon (UK time) on Friday 11th August 2023.

      Applications are particularly welcomed from Roman Catholics and Females as these groups are currently under-represented within AFBI.

      Two New Farming Innovation Programme Funding Opportunities

      Do you have a new farming product or service that could improve farming methods and help the environment?

      Two new Farming Innovation Programme funding opportunities could help you explore your idea's potential or develop it.

      Feasibility Study (Round 3) - Funding to check if your idea works in practice

      For collaborative feasibility studies investigating new farming solutions (up to two years)

      Total project costs: £200k - £500k

      Small R&D Partnerships (Round 3) - Funding to develop your product or service

      For collaborative research and development projects (up to three years)

      Total project costs: £1m - £3m

      Find out more about the funding opportunities

      Watch the Briefing event on replay to find out more about scope and eligibility criteria, the Innovation Funding Service, application finances, academic partners, submitting your application, the assessment and project set up for successful applicants.

      The funding is for collaborative projects, which means that you'll need to partner with others to apply.

      To find partners and get answer to your questions, join one of our two webinars.

      Small R&D Partnerships - Round 3 – Q&A and Finding Partners Webinar

      14 August 2023


      > Register now

      Feasibility Study - Round 3 - Q&A and Finding Partners Webinar

      20 September 2023


      > Register now

      Conference 2021

      General Training

      Our featured training videos suitable for wide audiences.

      Conference 2022

      Training videos from the 2022 BSAS conference

      Conference 2023

      Videos from the 2023 BSAS conference.


      View some of our featured webinars

      Early Careers

      Training videos designed for students and those in early phases of their careers.


      Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor / Professor in Sustainable livestock

      The role

      Bristol Veterinary School is seeking to appoint a dynamic and exciting researcher in the field of Sustainable Livestock Production. This strategic appointment will play a pivotal role in addressing the complex challenges posed by the need to feed an increasing human population while reducing and reversing the impact on global climate, maintaining global biodiversity, and improving animal health and welfare. The post will contribute to the significant advancement of global human and animal public health, animal welfare, and scientific knowledge. The position is expected to expand upon our existing research strengths in the field of data sciences, animal behaviour and welfare, infectious diseases, and to contribute to our key research themes of Global Food Security and Population Health. We particularly welcome applications from researchers in fields relevant to conventional and emerging livestock production systems and to the relationship between these systems and climate, land use, wildlife and culture.

      What will you be doing?

      Appointees will demonstrate and provide exceptional leadership skills, enhancing the existing research and educational programs within the Bristol Veterinary School. The appointee will be expected to develop cross disciplinary collaborations with the existing research groups within the BVS and with research groupings within the wider University and affiliated Institutes. Appointees will support university and institutional initiatives as well as develop their research programs through external funding from UKRI, Wellcome Trust and other related funding streams, supervise and mentor postgraduate students and contribute to the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in relevant subject areas on one or more of our Veterinary Science BVSc (incl. Accelerated Graduate Entry Programme), Veterinary Nursing and Companion Animal Behaviour BSc, and Global Wildlife Health & Conservation MSc programmes.

      You should apply if

      Applicants should be recognised nationally and internationally for excellence in their research programme in areas relevant to sustainable livestock production and have an interest in using interdisciplinary approaches to identifying novel, high impact solutions. Consistent with the level of appointment, applicants must have a PhD and an established, independent track record in research, as evidenced by successful acquisition of competitive grant funding and strong publication history of peer reviewed research outputs.

      Additional information

      Contract type: Open ended

      Work pattern: Full time 1.0 FTE (though we are happy to discuss flexible working including part-time and/or job-share applications).

      Grade: K - M

      Salary: £47,047 - 82,596 p.a (pro rata)

      School/Unit: Bristol Veterinary School

      This advert will close at 23:59 GMT on 17/09/2023

      For any informal enquiries please contact Professor Mick Bailey- or Dr Daniel Enriquez Hidalgo-

      Corporate Membership

      Corporate Membership of BSAS adds value to your organisation, saves money and offers a wide range of benefits.


      Shaping the future of animal science

      Help us shape the future of animal science, ensuring it is relevant to the needs of your sector by driving future research projects and BSAS activities. Corporate membership offers opportunities for academic and industry engagement and to and drive industry-led initiatives and sessions at the BSAS annual conference and events.

      Global partnerships

      Free individual membership of the European Federation for Animal Science (EAAP) for named individuals as part of your corporate membership package.

      animal family of Journals

      We are proud to have the esteemed animal - the international journal of animal biosciences as our society's journal. Standing the test of time, animal publishes robust, scientific and ethically led articles for researchers, industry, stakeholders and policy makers across the globe.

      It offers our members unparalleled benefits and sets itself apart as the premier platform for disseminating robust cutting-edge research and advancements in the field. BSAS Member are entitled to 15% APC discount.

      BSAS Annual Conference, Events and Webinars

      A fixed date in the animal science calendar, the annual conference provides endless opportunites to network, collaborate, socialise and learn with peers.

      BSAS members receive generous discounts to attend each year. Members can also join the organising committee and shape the agenda.

      Job Board

      Advertise your vacancies free of charge on the BSAS Job Board to find your new staff. The BSAS job board is dedicated to finding and filling roles in animal and related science. Jobs are also promoted via the societies newsletter and social media channels.

      Animal Scientist and Technologist Register

      BSAS Accreditation provides a mark of assurance for individual member's work and achievements when dealing with clients, colleagues, employers, collaborators, funders, government and other societies. BSAS members enjoy free access to apply to the register.

      Corporate Membership Fees

      The BSAS corporate membership fees are invoiced annually on the 1st April to the organisation.
      The discount rate applies to all members in the group. Fees are discounted by 10% for 4-5 members and by 15% for 6 and above individual members within a corporate membership.

      Discounted fees only apply to those paying full membership (rates for postgraduate students are already discounted).

      For further information please contact

      Read more

      Australian Association of Animal Sciences

      British Cattle Breeders Club

      Stapledon Memorial Trust

      British Grassland Society

      Society of Chemical Industry

      British Society for Immunology

      Royal Society of Biology

      The Nutrition Society

      Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock


      Breeding Programme Manager

      Beta Bugs Ltd

      Working Hours: Full-time, flexible
      Salary: Competitive, composed of a mix of base salary and EMI options.
      Location: Roslin, Edinburgh

      About us
      Beta Bugs is an insect genetics company based in Roslin Edinburgh. Since day one, genetics has been our sole focus. We have built our company’s strategy, technology, and team around developing and distributing Black Soldier Fly breeds.

      We leave large-scale production to Black Soldier Fly protein producers, our customers, who improve their bottom lines through our product. In doing so, we avoid unnecessary competition, and instead jointly focus our energies on scaling our industry.

      Purpose of the Job
      The role of the Breeding Programme Manager is to build, improve and maintain quantitative genetic value and capability within Beta Bugs. The Breeding Programme Manager will have responsibility for maintaining the trajectory of the breeding programme, this will include developing and implementing breeding strategies, trait measurements, and breeding value along with selection methods.

      To do this the Breeding Programme Manager will work with a dedicated team that will improve lines of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Illucens) whilst meeting key commercial KPIs and breeding objectives. This involves developing and implementing the tools, systems, and processes needed within various aspects of the organisation including livestock husbandry, technology, and data science to ensure genetic improvements across desired industry-relevant traits are achieved, measured, recorded and reported.

      Key Results area
      • Day-to-day management of Beta Bugs black soldier fly breeding programme, environment, husbandry processes and team.
      • Achieve the breeding objective by way of creation, implementation, and continuous improvement of a breeding strategy.
      • Develop and utilise performance-tracking tools, systems, and methodologies for use within the breeding programme.
      • Perform selections based on the needs of the breeding objective, cascading relevant information to the team.
      • Report data in meetings throughout the company, to audiences with various technical knowledge, and write clear and concise reports for internal as well as external review.
      • Capture and analyse data, building reports both daily and generationally showcasing performance across all life stages including plotting phenotypic, environmental and genetic trends.
      • Evaluate quantitative KPIs at all life stages, building statistical reports outlining correlations and heritability.
      • Monitor and improve Beta Bugs dedicated database.
      • Stock management.
      • Any other related tasks.

      What We’re Looking For
      You’re passionate about genetic management and improvement of populations and want to deliver impact, both to Beta Bugs and the wider insect farming industry, through your work.
      You have a Master or PhD degree in Animal Genetics or a related field, with proven understanding of quantitative genetics and data analysis, preferably through relevant experience within a commercial environment. You have programming skills in Python or R for data processing, handling data analysis and visualization.

      You are independent, organised and you thrive in collaboration with multidisciplinary teams working in a rapidly emerging sector. You have strong communication skills, and are able to work with people at all levels of the company.

      What We Offer
      We offer 30 days annual leave (inclusive of bank holiday), flexible working hours, company pension scheme (8% employer contribution) and group life assurance scheme.

      We are reviewing applications for this role on a rolling basis and looking to appoint the successful candidate to this role by October 2023 latest.

      If you feel you’re a fit for the role, we look forward to receiving your covering letter via email at

      BSAS News

      Inviting Expressions of Interest: Join the British Society of Animal Science ‘Sponsorship and Awards’ Committee

      The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) is excited to announce the formation of the new 'Sponsorship and Awards' Committee, and we are inviting passionate and dedicated professionals to express their interest in joining the team. This committee will play a pivotal role in advancing animal science research and development by fostering strategic partnerships and recognizing outstanding contributions within the field.

      The British Society of Animal Science is dedicated to the advancement of animal science in the UK. Our society brings together researchers, academics, practitioners, and enthusiasts who are committed to improving the welfare, productivity, and sustainability of animals in agriculture and related industries. We provide a platform for networking, knowledge exchange, and collaboration to ensure the continual progress of animal science for the benefit of society and the environment.

      The 'Sponsorship and Awards' Committee will be a vital pillar within BSAS, responsible for cultivating partnerships with industry stakeholders, educational institutions, and governmental bodies. By securing sponsorships and financial support, the committee will enhance BSAS' capacity to organise impactful events, share cutting-edge research, and educational initiatives that foster innovation in animal science.

      Furthermore, the committee will be entrusted with overseeing the BSAS awards program, which acknowledges exceptional individuals and organisations for their pioneering contributions to animal science. By identifying and honouring outstanding achievements, the awards will encourage a culture of excellence and inspire others to push the boundaries of animal science research.

      We are actively seeking expressions of interest from individuals who possess:

      Passion for Animal Science: A genuine dedication to the advancement of animal science and a desire to contribute to its growth and positive impact on society.

      Expertise and Experience: Professionals with diverse backgrounds in animal science, agriculture, academia, industry, or related fields are encouraged to apply. Previous experience in committee work, event organization, or sponsorship management will be beneficial.

      Networking and Communication Skills: The ability to build and maintain strong relationships with stakeholders, sponsors, and award recipients, and excellent communication skills to effectively represent BSAS to external partners.

      Vision and Creativity: Forward-thinking individuals who can contribute fresh ideas and innovative approaches to the sponsorship strategy and awards program.

      Time Commitment: Willingness to actively participate in committee meetings, contribute to decision-making processes, and attend relevant events or conferences as required.

      If you are interested in joining the 'Sponsorship and Awards' Committee and contributing to the future of animal science in the UK, please submit your expression of interest along with a brief note outlining your area of science/industry and what you feel you will contribute to the team. Email expressions of interest to Steven Morrison ( by 31st October.

      The 'Sponsorship and Awards' Committee promises an exciting opportunity to shape the landscape of animal science while collaborating with like-minded professionals. Together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of animals and the sustainability of the industry.

      BSAS Delivers a Tenth Successful R and Statistics Workshop

      BSAS Delivers a Tenth Successful R and Statistics Workshop under the Guidance of Davina Hill and Assisted by Katie Dubarry and Michael Arthur

      The British Society of Agricultural Sciences (BSAS) held another triumphant R and Statistics Workshop this month, giving its members a comprehensive training event for the tenth year.

      Led by Lecturer in Welfare Physiology and R expert, Dr Davina Hill from the University of Glasgow, and ably assisted by PhD students, Katie Dubarry (University of Edinburgh) and Michael Arthur (Teagasc), the workshop provided participants with valuable skills and increased confidence in statistical analysis through a series of lectures and guided interactive break-out sessions.

      As a leading organization dedicated to promoting understanding and excellence in animal sciences, BSAS has consistently emphasised the importance of advancing statistical proficiency to enhance data-driven decision-making within the animal science community. The popular annual workshop sold out once again this year, a testament to BSAS' commitment to providing relevant support to its members, with attendees participating from diverse backgrounds, including researchers, students, and industry professionals.

      Throughout the two-day workshop, Davina Hill, Katie Dubarry and Michael Arthur demonstrated their expertise in utilizing R, a powerful programming language for statistical computing and graphics. The workshop's comprehensive curriculum covered a wide array of topics, including:

      • Introduction to R and RStudio
      • Data manipulation and visualisation
      • Statistical analysis and hypothesis testing
      • Statistical modelling
      • Experimental design

      Participants were highly engaged during the interactive sessions, gaining hands-on experience and practical insights into the applications of R in their respective domains. The virtual format of the event provided flexibility, enabling attendees to participate and collaborate with peers and tutors in a relaxed format.

      Davina Hill, who was invited to design a statistics workshop for BSAS in 2013 by then CEO Mike Steele, expressed her enthusiasm for the positive responses received from the participants over the years. She said, "It's been a wonderful experience to watch the course grow and evolve from its first delivery at the University of Leeds in summer 2013 through to today’s virtual workshop, which enables people from a range of backgrounds to take part from anywhere in the world. Sharing the power of R with hundreds of participants, comprising postgraduates, academics and industrial scientists, over the last decade and witnessing their progress and enthusiasm has been truly inspiring."

      Michael Arthur who provided valuable assistance throughout the workshop, added, "It's gratifying to see how the participants embraced the intricacies of R and its potential applications. The enthusiasm and willingness to learn showcased by the attendees have made this event a memorable success."

      Maggie Mitchell, CEO of BSAS commented “The 10th BSAS R and Statistics Workshop not only imparts essential skills but also fosters a sense of community and collaboration among participants, which will undoubtedly continue to thrive beyond the training”.

      BSAS extends its gratitude to Davina Hill, Katie Dubarry and Michael Arthur for their exceptional guidance and expertise, ensuring the workshop's resounding success. The Society also extends its appreciation to all participants whose active engagement contributed to the event's positive and dynamic atmosphere.

      For more information about the BSAS and future workshops and events, please visit

      Diarmuid Moloney