“Chickens on camera: automated assessment of welfare using optical flow” by Professor Marian Dawkins CBE FRS

Date: Wednesday, 20th May 2015 (click for Google Calendar entry)
Time: 8.15 pm – 9.45 pm
Venue: Inorganic Chemistry Lecture Theatre, South Parks Road

Please RSVP at our Facebook event page so that we can better estimate attendance numbers for that day!

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Talk Abstract:

Globally, agriculture is under unprecedented pressure to meet the twin demands of feeding the rising human population and mitigating climate change by becoming more ‘sustainably intensive’. But where is animal welfare in this farming of the future? We are developing a system that puts animal welfare centre stage and also helps farmers to manage their flock more effectively. The system works by using cameras to monitor the movement of whole flocks and then analysing the statistical properties of this movement to give information about not only welfare but also key human health issues such as Campylobacter.

About the Speaker:

Marian Dawkins is a professor of animal behaviour at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include vision in birds, animal signalling, behavioural synchrony, animal consciousness and animal welfare. Dawkins completed her Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Oxford in 1970. She became a lecturer in zoology in 1977 and in 1998 was made Professor of Animal Behaviour. She is currently Head of the Animal Behaviour Research Group and is the Director of the John Krebs Field Laboratory. Dawkins has written extensively on animal behaviour and issues of animal welfare. Central to her most recent view on animal welfare is scepticism about whether science can establish that animals have consciousness and therefore its role in definition and measurement of animal welfare and suffering. Instead, her view is that good animal welfare rests on determining the needs and wants of animals, which do not require that they are conscious. These theses are presented in her book, Why Animals Matter: Animal Consciousness, Animal Welfare, and Human Well-being.

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