Nienke van Staaveren

Post Doctoral Fellow

Nienke van Staaveren is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Harlander. She completed her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Animal Science at the Wageningen University (The Netherlands) with a brief exchange with the Swedish University of Agriculture (Sweden) focusing on animal health, welfare, and behaviour. These studies allowed her to work on several research projects in different animal species and sparked an interest in research and a desire to improve animal health and welfare. She continued her research through a Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine with emphasis on pig health and welfare under the supervision of Ass. Prof. Alison Hanlon (University College Dublin) and Dr. Laura Boyle (Teagasc – the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) in Ireland.  Her main focus was on the validation of carcass tail lesions during meat inspection as indicators of pig health and welfare on the farm, working closely with the industry. After the completion of her Ph.D., Nienke joined Dr. Harlander’s lab in January 2017 to work on an epidemiological study on feather pecking in collaboration with the Egg Farmers of Canada and has been awarded a Mitacs Elevate Fellowship. This research will allow for a better understanding of risk factors for feather pecking in furnished cages or non-cage systems. This knowledge will be translated in the development of a Canadian Feather Pecking Management Plan to provide advice to producers on how to prevent, reduce or stop feather pecking in their flocks and so promote the safe and successful transition to alternative systems while maintaining high animal welfare standards.