Emma is a PhD student in the Animal Welfare group. Her thesis title is "Canine positive emotion: indicators, accuracy of assessments and relationship with pain perception"
Emma graduated from the University of Bristol in 2009, after completion of the BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare programme.
Emma then spent 18 months (July 2009 - November 2010), as a research assistant at the RVC, studying the welfare of companion dogs in the UK. Sponsored by a major animal charity, the work aimed to provide an objective outline of the best way to focus limited resources to tackle companion dog welfare issues. This work incorporated projects using stakeholder and expert opinion on tackling welfare issues, as well as the development of a quantitative tool to measure welfare priority using risk assessment principles and estimating the number of pet dogs in the UK.
PhD research aims:
a) identify reliable behavioural and physiological signals of positive emotion in companion dogs
b) examine the influences of personality or temperament traits, breed, age, and other variables on the expression of positive emotion in dogs
c) assess the accuracy and reliability of interpretation of canine emotional states by key stakeholders
d) investigate the effects of emotional states and temperament on pain perception in dogs with chronic pain conditions
The research aims to provide more information on positive emotions and associated indicators to improve objectivity of welfare assessments that include positive welfare, promote positive experiences and strengthen the human-animal bond. Investigation into canine emotional states and pain perception has implications in improving quality of life and pain management for affected animals
UFAW Research and Project Award 2011-2012 Examining positive affective states in the companion dog: contexts, indicators and human perception
Emma co-supervises student research projects related to companion animal behaviour and human-animal interactions, and has engaged in other undergraduate teaching commitments in the College.
Buckland EL, Whiting MC, Abeyesinghe SM, Asher L, Corr S and Wathes CM 2013 A survey of stakeholders' opinions on the priority issues affecting the welfare of companion dogs in Great Britain. Animal Welfare 22: 239-253. Accessed here: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ufaw/aw
Asher L, Buckland EL, Phylactopoulos IC, Whiting M, Abeyesinghe S and Wathes CM 2011 Estimation of the number and demographics of companion dogs in the UK. BMC Veterinary Research 7: 74. accessed here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1746-6148/7/74
Emma can be contacted via email for outreach activities, including media reports, educational resources, guest lecturer or speaker at conferences.