Skip to main content
Donate Today

RSPCA Animal Welfare Seminar

Ensuring a humane death for farm animals

Thursday 22 February 2018
Alastair Swayn Theatre, 33-35 Brindabella Circuit, Canberra Airport

Recent advances in humane killing and slaughter have significant implications for farm animal welfare. The first event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, this one-day seminar outlined innovations and research in the field. Good farm animal welfare means giving animals a humane death, as well as a life worth living.


Dorothy McKeegan

BVA Animal Welfare Foundation Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow, UK

Keynote: Welfare assessment of Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS)

Dorothy McKeegan studied Zoology at the University of Glasgow before completing the MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at Edinburgh University in 1995. She gained her PhD (on feather pecking behaviour in hens at the Roslin Institute) in 1999. Dorothy is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, where she delivers an integrated teaching programme for animal welfare and ethics in undergraduate and postgraduate curricula and co-coordinates the MSc in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law.

Dorothy has wide ranging research interests relating to animal welfare and animal ethics, with expertise in behaviour and neurophysiology and a particular interest in poultry welfare. She has worked extensively on avian pain, sensory physiology and humane slaughter, leading projects on avian chemical senses, beak trimming, emergency killing for disease control and development of new humane methods of on-farm killing. Recently she has been working on the application of infrared thermography as a novel welfare assessment approach in birds, as well as evaluating the welfare impact of Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning.

Alison Small

Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Agriculture & Food

Keynote: DTS: Diathermic Syncope® - a new technology for pre-slaughter induction of insensibility

Alison Small graduated as a veterinarian from the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1993 and spent 12 years working in mixed, mainly livestock practice. During this time she worked as an On-Plant Vet in a number of abattoirs, under contract to the UK Meat Hygiene Service, and holds the UK Animal Welfare Officer certificate. She was awarded a PhD from the University of Bristol, UK, in May 2007.

Since January 2006, she has been working for CSIRO, first at Food Science Australia, QLD as a Research Scientist and Meat Industry Adviser, and, since July 2010, at the CSIRO McMaster Laboratory in Armidale, NSW. Current research areas include pain mitigation for livestock; alternatives to painful husbandry procedures, lamb survival and humane slaughter.

Previous Seminars

RSPCA Australia gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Commonwealth Government for the Animal Welfare Seminar through a grant-in-aid administered by the Department of Finance.