Department: Production and Population Health

Campus: Hawkshead

Christopher is a research scientist, who has worked for his entire career in agricultural and veterinary science. His interests are broad, ranging from animal welfare to environmental physics, taking in agricultural engineering, environmental biology and veterinary ethics along the way.

Degrees
1978 PhD Environmental Physics, University of Nottingham
1974 BSc Physics, University of Birmingham
Employment
2005 - Professor of Animal Welfare, The Royal Veterinary College
1990 - 2005 Head of Bioengineering Division, then Director of Science, Silsoe Research Institute, UK
1980 - 1990 Lecturer in Animal Husbandry, School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, UK
Societies
1991 Elected Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers
Appointments and Awards
2011 Guest Professor Huazhong Agriculture University, China
2005 - 2012 Farm Animal Welfare Council/ Committee – Chairman
2005 Defra Review of Avian Quarantine
2002 Research Medal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England for research on environmental management for livestock
1992 - 2007 Special Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Nottingham
1978 - 1980 Agricultural Consultant, ADAS, UK

Christopher's research principally concerns the environmental biology and management of farm, companion and other animals. His research interests have broadened to veterinary ethics. Most of his collaborators and graduate research students are either biologists or veterinarians; they have all provided him with much inspiration.

The main source of funding for the research projects has been the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra and formerly MAFF) with regular support from animal welfare charities and industry. Currently, the gross value of current grants is over £5 million. Discussions about collaboration in relation to these interests from other researchers or potential graduate students are always welcome.

Refereed papers from 2005 onwards

Invited Papers, Book Chapters and Edited Proceedings since 2000 are listed at the end of this section

Jarvis, J. J. and Wathes, C.M. A mechanistic study of vertebrate spatial contrast sensitivity and acuity at low luminance. Visual Neuroscience. In press February 2012

Sherlock, L, McKeegan, D. E. F., Cheng, Z., Wathes, C.M. and Wathes, D.C.
Effects of contact dermatitis on hepatic gene expression in broiler chickens. British Poultry Science. In press, February 2012

Jamieson, J., Reiss, M. J., Allen, D., Asher, L., Parker, M. O., Wathes, C. M. and Abeyesinghe, S. M. Adolescents care but don’t feel responsible for farm animal welfare. Society and Animals. In press, January 2012

O’Connor, E. A., Saunders, J. E., Grist, H., McLeman, M. A., Wathes, C. M. and Abeyesinghe, S. M.
The relationship between the comb and social behaviour in laying hens. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. In press, September 2011

Sherlock, L, Wathes, C.M., Cheng, Z. and Wathes, D. C.
Differential genetic expression in the broiler chicken in response to the combined stressors of catching, transport and slaughter at the end of production. Stress. In press, September 2011

Asher, L., Buckland, E. L., Phylactopoulos, C. I., Whiting, M. C., Abeyesinghe, S.M. and Wathes, C. M. Estimation of the number and demographics of companion dogs in the UK. BMC Veterinary Research. In press July 2011

Boulton, A.C., Rushton, J., Wathes, C.M. and Wathes, D.C.
Past trends and future challenges for a sustainable UK dairy industry. Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, 2011, 172, 1-7.

McKeegan, D.E.F., Sparks, N.H.C., Sandilands, V., Demmers, T.G.M, Boulcott, P. and Wathes, C.M.
Physiological responses of laying hens during whole-house killing with carbon dioxide. British Poultry Science. 2011, 52, 645-657.
 

Jamieson, J., Reiss, M.J., Allen, D., Asher, L., Wathes, C.M. and Abeyesinghe, S.M.
Measuring the success of a farm animal welfare education event. Animal Welfare. In press, April 2011

O’Connor, E. A., Parker, M. A., Davey, E.L., Grist, H., Owen, R., Szladovits, B, Demmers, T. G. M., Wathes, C. M. and Abeyesinghe, S.M.
Effect of low light and high noise on behavioural activity, physiological indicators of stress and production in laying hens. British Poultry Science. 2011, 52, 666 -674.

Wieland, B., Alarcon, P., Velasova, M., Nevel, A., Towerie, H., Pfieffer, D., Wathes, C.M. and Werling, D.
Prevalence of endemic pig diseases in England: An overview six months into a large scale cross sectional study on post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS). The Pig Journal. 2010, 63, 20-24.

Forster, L., Wathes, C. M., Bessant, C. and Corr, S.A.
Owners’ observations of domestic cats after limb amputation. The Veterinary Record. 2010, 167, 734-739.

Xin, H. Gates, R. S. Green, A. R. Mitloehner, F. M. Moore, P. A. and Wathes, C.M.
Environmental impacts and sustainability of egg production systems. Poultry Science. 2011, 90, 263–277

Parker, M. O., O’Connor, E. A., McLeman, M. A., Demmers, T.G. M., Lowe, J. C., Owen, R. C., Davey, E. L., Wathes, C. M., and Abeyesinghe, S. M.
The impact of environmental stressors on growing pigs, Sus Scofra: 2. Social behaviour. Animal. 2010, 4, 1910-1921.

O’Connor, E. A., Parker, M. O., McLeman, M. A., Demmers, T.G., Lowe, J. C., Cui, L., Davey, E. L., Owen, R. C., Wathes, C. M., and Abeyesinghe, S. M.
The impact of chronic environmental stressors on growing pigs, Sus scofra: 1. Stress physiology, production and play behaviour. Animal. 2010, 4, 1899-1909.
Gover, N., Jarvis, J.R., Abeyesinghe, S.M. and Wathes, C.M. Stimulus luminance and the spatial acuity of domestic fowl (Gallus g. domesticus). Vision Research. 2009, 49, 2747–2753.

Sherlock, L., Demmers, T.G.M. Goodship, A. E.,, McCarthy, I. D. and Wathes, C. M.
The relationship between physical activity and leg health in the broiler chicken. British Poultry Science. 2010, 51, 22-30.

Kristensen, H.H., White, R.P. and Wathes, C.M.
Light intensity and social communication between hens. British Poultry Science. 2009, 50, 649-656.

Jarvis, J.R., Abeyesinghe, S.M., McMahon, C.E. and Wathes, C.M. Measuring and modelling the spatial contrast sensitivity of the chicken (Gallus g. domesticus). Vision Research. 2009, 49, 1448-1454

Wright, A.J., Powney, S.L., Nevel, A. and Wathes, C.M.
Pig welfare assessment: Development of a protocol and its use by veterinary undergraduates. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 2009, 36, 50-61.

Abeyesinghe, S. M., McLeman, M.A., Owen, R.C., McMahon C. E. and Wathes, C.M. Investigating social discrimination of group members by laying hens. Behavioural Processes. 2009, 81, 1–13.

Jarvis, J.R. and Wathes C.M.
A mechanistic inter-species comparison of spatial contrast sensitivity. Vision Research. 2008, 48, 2284-2292.

McLeman, M. A, Mendl, M., Jones, R. B. and Wathes, C.M.
Bimodal and unimodal discrimination of individual conspecifics by juvenile domestic pigs, Sus scrofa. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2008, 115, 123-137.

Saunders, J. E. Jarvis, J.R. and Wathes C.M.
Calculating luminous flux and lighting levels for domesticated mammals and birds. Animal. 2008, 2, 921-932.

Green, A. R., Wathes, C.M., Demmers, T.G.M., MacArthur-Clark, J. and Xin, H
Design of a novel environmental preference chamber for laboratory mice and its application for testing tolerance of atmospheric ammonia. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 2008, 47, 49-56.

Wathes, C.M., Kristensen, H.H., Aerts, J-M. and Berckmans, D.
Is precision livestock farming an engineer’s daydream or nightmare, an animal’s friend or foe, and a farmer’s panacea or pitfall? Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 2008, 64, 2-10.

Jarvis, J.R. and Wathes C.M.
On the calculation of optical performance factors from vertebrate spatial contrast sensitivity. Vision Research. 2007, 47, 2259-2271.

McKeegan, D.E.F., Abeyesinghe, S.M., McLeman, M.A., Lowe, J.C., Demmers, T.G.M., Lankhaar, J.A.C., White, R.P., Kranen, R.W., van Bemmel, H., Lankhaar, J.A.C., and Wathes, C.M. Controlled atmosphere stunning of broiler chickens: II Effects on behaviour, physiology and meat quality in a commercial processing plant. British Poultry Science. 2007, 48, 430-442.

Abeyesinghe, S.M., McKeegan, D.E.F., McLeman, M.A., Lowe, J.C., Demmers, T.G.M., White, R.P., Kranen, R.W., van Bemmel, H., Lankhaar, J.A.C. and Wathes, CM. Controlled atmosphere stunning of broiler chickens: I Effects on behaviour, physiology and meat quality in a pilot scale system at a processing plant. British Poultry Science. 2007, 48, 406-423.

Lowe, J., Abeyesinghe, S.M, Demmers, T.G.M., Wathes, C.M. and McKeegan, D.E.F.
A novel telemetric logging system for recording physiological signals in unrestrained animals. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 2007, 57, 74-79.

Kristensen, H.H., Prescott, N.B., Perry, G.C., Ladewig, J, Ersbøll, A.K., Overvad, K.C. and Wathes, C.M.
The behaviour of broiler chickens in different light sources and illuminances. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2007, 103, 75-89.

McKeegan, D.E.F., McIntyre, J.K., Demmers, T.G.M., Lowe, J.C., Wathes, C.M., van den Broek, P.L.C., Coenen, A.M.L. and Gentle, M.J.
Physiological and behavioural responses of broiler chickens to controlled atmosphere stunning – implications for welfare. Animal Welfare. 2007, 16, 409-426.

King, J.M., Parsons, D.J., Turnpenny, J.R., Nyangaga, J., Bakari, P. and Wathes C. M.
Modelling energy metabolism of Friesians in Kenya smallholdings shows how heat stress and energy deficit constrain milk yield and cow replacement rate. Animal Science. 2006, 82, 705-716.

Kristensen, H.H., Perry G.C., Prescott, N.B., Ladewig, J., Ersbøll, A.K., and Wathes, C.M.
Leg health and performance of broiler chickens reared in different light environments. British Poultry Science. 2006, 47, 257-263.

Barber, C.L., Prescott, N.B., Jarvis, J.R., Le Sueur, C., Perry, G.C. and Wathes, C.M.,
Comparative study of the photopic spectral sensitivity of domestic ducks Anas platyrhynchos domesticus), turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo) and humans. British Poultry Science. 2006, 47, 365-374.

Kristensen, H.H., Aerts, J-M., Leroy, T., Wathes C.M. and Berckmans, D.
Modelling the dynamic activity of broiler chickens in response to step-wise changes in light intensity. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2006, 101, 125-143.

McKeegan, D.E.F., McIntyre, J.K., Demmers, T.G.M., Wathes, C.M. and Jones, R.B.
Behavioural responses of broiler chickens during acute exposure to gaseous stimulation. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2006, 99, 271-286.

Taylor, N., Prescott, N., Perry, G., Potter, M., Le Sueur, C. and Wathes, C.
Preference of growing pigs for illuminance. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2006, 96, 19-31.

McKeegan, D.E.F., Smith, F.S., Demmers, T.G.M., Wathes, C.M. and Jones, R.B.
Behavioural correlates of olfactory and trigeminal gaseous stimulation in chickens, Gallus domesticus. Physiology and Behaviour. 2005, 84, 761-768.

Welch, D.C., Colls, J.J., Demmers, T.G.M. and Wathes, C.M.
A methodology for the measurement of distributed agricultural sources of ammonia outdoors. Part 2: field validation and farm measurements. Atmospheric Environment. 2005, 39, 673-684

Welch, D.C., Colls, J.J., Demmers, T.G.M. and Wathes, C.M.
A methodology for the measurement of distributed agricultural sources of ammonia outdoors. Part 1: validation in a controlled environment. Atmospheric Environment. 2005, 39, 663-672

McLeman, M.A., Mendl, M., Jones, R.B. and Wathes, C.M.
Discrimination of conspecifics by juvenile domestic pigs, Sus scrofa. Animal Behaviour. 2005, 70, 451-461

Abeyesinghe, S.M., Nicol, C.J., Hartnell, S.J. and Wathes, C.M.
Can domestic fowl, Gallus gallus domesticus, show self-control? Animal Behaviour. 2005, 70, 1-11

Done, S.H., Chennells, D.J., Gresham, A.C.J., Williamson, S., Hunt, B., Taylor, L.L., Bland, V., Jones, P., Armstrong, D., White, R.P., Demmers, T.G.M., Teer, N. and Wathes, C.M.
Clinical and pathological responses of weaned pigs to atmospheric ammonia and dust. The Veterinary Record. 2005, 157, 71-80

Jones, E.K.M., Wathes, C.M. and Webster, A.J.F.
Avoidance of atmospheric ammonia by domestic fowl and the effect of early experience. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2005, 90, 293-308

Invited Papers, Book Chapters and Edited Proceedings  

Wathes, C. M.
The prospects for precision livestock farming. Royal Agricultural Society of England Journal, 2010, 171, 26-32.
 

Wathes, C.M.
Precision livestock farming for animal health, welfare and production. In Proceedings of the XIII International Congress in Animal Hygiene. (Ed. A. Aland). Tartu, Estonia, 17-21st June 2007, pp 397-404.

[Also published with minor revisions in “Sustainable animal production. The challenges and potential developments for professional farming “, (Eds A. Aland and F. Madec) Wageningen Academic Publishers, the Netherlands, 2009, 411-419].

Wathes, C.M., Kristensen, H.H., Aerts, J-M. and Berckmans, D.
Is precision livestock farming an engineer’s daydream or nightmare, an animal’s friend or foe, and a farmer’s panacea or pitfall? Precision Livestock Farming ’05 (Ed. S. Cox). Proceedings of 2nd European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, Uppsala, Sweden, 9-12th June 2005, Wageningen Academic Press, The Netherlands. 2005, 33-46.

IWathes, C.M and Whittemore, C.T.
Environmental management of pigs. In: “Whittemore’s Science and Practice of Pig Production”, (Eds. I. Kyriazakis and C. T. Whittemore), 3rd Edition, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. 2006, 533-592.

Christopher lectures on animal welfare and applied animal ethics at the RVC and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate research projects on these topics.

Clinical issues in veterinary medicine interest Christopher and will expand over the coming years. He was a co-organiser of the First International Coneference on Veterinary and Animal Ethics, that was held in London in September 2011.