Position/Title: Associate Professor
Phone: (519) 824-4120 ext. 53706
Office: ANNU 250
Renée’s love for animals combined with her interest in agriculture inspired her to become a researcher in animal behaviour and welfare, specializing in swine and dairy cows. While studying pig nutrition for her master’s degree, she discovered that animal behaviour and welfare were her true calling. Her first academic position after graduation was at Université Laval where she taught animal behaviour and welfare, and the ethics of animal use. In 2007, she became director of the University of Guelph’s Campus d’Alfred and focused on organic dairy production. She later joined the main campus and became more involved in swine behaviour research. She currently teaches « Principles of animal care and welfare » and « Equine Trends and Issues » to undergraduate students.
- B.Sc. in Animal Science, Université Laval (1989)
- M.Sc. in Animal Nutrition, Université Laval (1991)
- Ph.D. in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1995)
Affiliations and Partnerships
Renée has served as a member of several ethics committees on animal welfare, including three institutional animal care committees and five expert committees for the establishment of animal welfare standards for the industry. She currently serves on the Board of the National Farm Animal Care Council, and the Board of Trustees of the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada.
Having a background in animal nutrition and behaviour, her research focus has been the relationship between feeding practices and animal welfare. Other interests include feeding preferences, social behaviour, and animal stress as it relates to the social and physical environment. She was recently involved in research projects on grazing behaviour in dairy cows, on-farm welfare assessment in swine and dairy cows, swine handling and transportation, and environmental enrichment. Her current research at the University of Guelph focuses on the genetic basis of stress in pigs, and the natural control of internal and external parasites in pastured cows.
Graduate Student Information
Graduate students are involved in all aspects of Renée’s research, from collecting data in the field, such as observing dairy cow behaviour, to data analysis. Renée tries to give her students as much freedom and independence as possible to pursue their research interests. She sees her research program as a team effort and encourages her students to take pride in and ownership of their own research projects. She especially enjoys working with students who want to make a significant contribution in the area of animal welfare. Renée speaks French fluently and often works with Francophone students.