Existing indicators for assessing animal welfare provide limited information on the experiential process in the brain of animals. Identifying indicators of experience in animals is important for ensuring public assurance of good animal welfare and the social license to operate of the red meat industry. Promising biomarkers of mental experience have been identified in the human sciences, which have not been fully explored in relation to animals. To assess some of these biomarkers, we conducted an experiment using a routine painful husbandry procedure in lambs to induce changes in their experience. Samples were collected from the lambs at several time points relative to the procedure and analysis for changes in biomarkers, such as oxidative stress, proteins, and microRNA.

Sarah Babington

Sarah Babington completed her degree in veterinary science at the University of Queensland, Gatton campus and spent several years working as an On-Plant Veterinarian for the Australian Government Department of Agriculture at export slaughtering establishments across NSW and Qld. She currently works for RSPCA Australia as the Scientific Officer for farm animals where she focuses on advocating for improvements in welfare for poultry and animals at slaughter. Just over two years ago, she moved to Perth to start her PhD project on identifying and validating biomarkers of sheep welfare, which involves collaborative work between UWA and UQ.

Sarah Babington, The University of Western Australia  E: sarah.babington@research.uwa.edu.au

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Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation hosts science seminars across the disciplines of animal, horticulture, crop, food and nutritional sciences.

With a range of speakers from Australia and abroad, the series explores how high-impact science will significantly improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the tropical and sub-tropical food, fibre and agribusiness sectors.

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The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is a research institute at The University of Queensland supported by the Queensland Government via the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.


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