Dr Krista McLennan


BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, MRSB, SFHEA, PGCTHLE; Deputy Head of Department for Biological Sciences and Senior lecturer in Animal Behaviour

My research


One of my main areas of research is the welfare of production animals. I am interested in the behavioural indicators of pain, and in particular the relationship between disease, behaviour, and welfare. I developed the Sheep Pain Facial Expression Scale that can be used by farmers and veterinarians to help them recognise and assess pain in sheep. 
I currently collaborate Dr Marwa Mahmoud from the University of Cambridge Computer Science team working on developing an automated system for facial expression and lameness detection, as well as the potential for parturition. We have also recently started a collaboration with Elizabeth Sklar and Simon Parsons at the Lincoln Agri-Robotics centre to work on these projects.
I also collaborate with Dr Jane Ladlow and Dr Nai-Chieh Liu who are part of the Cambridge BOAS Research Group, working on developing a facial expression scale to assess the welfare of Brachycephalic dogs.

See below for more details on these projects and others.

Looking for a supervisor or potential collaborations?


I am always interested in supervising masters and PhD projects looking at the following areas, but I am also open to other research projects looking at welfare and behaviour in farm, equine or companion animals:
  • Precision livestock farming.
  • Using technology to assess animal welfare.
  • Facial recognition in sheep.
  • Facial expression of pain during parturition in sheep.
  • Facial expression in BOAS dogs.
  • Welfare assessments in equine, farm, or companion animals
  • Disease and pain in farm and equine species.
  • Lameness in farm or equine species.
Please email me for more information on how to apply for these projects or if you are interested in collaborating with me.



Automated detection of lameness in sheep


This project currently involves three summer intern projects looking at video footage of lame sheep and developing an initial computer algorithm for its automated detection




Automated detection of facial expression in sheep


This project has been on-going since 2017 and is looking at developing an automated detection system that can be used by farmers to detect pain in their sheep




Facial expression of BOAS-affected dogs


This project is in collaboration with the Cambridge BOAS Research group looking at the effect of BOAS on dogs welfare.




Animal Welfare Indicators Project


The Animal Welfare Indicators Project (AWIN) was an International project involving over ten different countries focussing on the development of welfare indicators of a range of species.




Social Bonds in Dairy Cattle; the effects of a dynamic group system on welfare and productivity


This was my PhD project looking at how current dynamic group systems can change the social behaviour of dairy cattle and effect their welfare and productivity