Dr. Rebecca Meagher

Assistant Professor, Animal Welfare

Meagher

Email: Rebecca.Meagher@dal.ca
Phone: 902.893.6645
Research Topics:
  • Short and long-term effects of early experience
  • Assessment of emotional states
  • Individual differences

I am broadly interested in the effects of housing and management on the welfare and behavioural development of captive animals. My research to date has focused primarily on dairy cattle and farmed mink, looking at the effects of the social environment and environmental enrichment on affective states, indicators of stress, cognition, and productivity. I have particular interests in fear and boredom-like states, and the implications of management practices in the early life of the animals. The ultimate goals of my work are to improve methods of welfare assessment, and determine what stimuli need to be provided to animals to improve well-being on farms.

Education and Qualifications

BSc, Zoology (University of Toronto)
PhD, Animal Science (University of Guelph)
Postdoctoral fellow (University of British Columbia)
Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Teaching

BIOA4004 Animal Adaptations and Stress
ANSC0113 Animal Husbandry and Welfare

Memberships

International Society for Applied Ethology
Animal Welfare Research Network

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rebecca_Meagher

Selected Publications

Meagher, R.K., Beaver, A., Weary, D.M., & von Keyserlingk, M.A.G. 2019. Invited review. Effects of early dairy cow-calf separation on behaviour, welfare and production: a systematic review. J. Dairy Sci. 102:5765-5783.

Beaver, A., Meagher, R.K., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., & Weary, D.M. 2019. Invited review. A systematic review of the effects of early cow-calf separation on dairy cow and calf health. J. Dairy Sci. 102:5784-5810.

Meagher, R.K. (2019). Is boredom an animal welfare concern? Animal Welfare 28:21-32.

Meagher, R.K., Weary, D.M., & von Keyserlingk, M.A.G. (2017). Some like it varied: individual differences in preference for feed variety in dairy heifers. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.  195:8-14.

Fureix, C. & Meagher, R.K. (2015). What can inactivity (in its various forms) reveal about affective states in non-human animals? A review. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.  171:8-24.

Meagher, R.K., Daros, R.R., Costa, J.H.C., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., Hötzel, M., & Weary, D.M. (2015). Effects of degree and timing of social housing on reversal learning and response to novel objects in dairy calves. PLoS One 10: e0132828.

Meagher, R.K., Dallaire, J.A., Campbell, D.L., Díez-León, M., Buob, M., Hansen, S., & Mason, G.J. (2014). Benefits of a ball and chain: Simple environmental enrichments improve welfare and reproductive success in farmed American mink (Neovison vison). PLoS One 9: e110589.

Meagher, R.K. & Mason, G.J. (2012). Environmental enrichment reduces signs of boredom in caged mink. PLOS One 7: e49180.

Meagher, R.K. (2009). Observer ratings: validity and value as a tool for animal welfare research. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 119: 1-14.

All Publications

Meagher, R.K., Beaver, A., Weary, D.M., & von Keyserlingk, M.A.G. 2019. Invited review. Effects of early dairy cow-calf separation on behaviour, welfare and production: a systematic review. J. Dairy Sci. 102:5765-5783.

Beaver, A., Meagher, R.K., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., & Weary, D.M. 2019. Invited review: A systematic review of the effects of early cow-calf separation on dairy cow and calf health. J. Dairy Sci. 102:5784-5810.

Meagher, R.K. (2019). Is boredom an animal welfare concern? Animal Welfare 28:21-32.

Meagher, R.K., Campbell, D.L., & Mason, G.J. (2017). Boredom-like states in mink and their behavioural correlates: a replicate.  Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 197:112-119.

Meagher, R.K., Weary, D.M., & von Keyserlingk, M.A.G. (2017). Some like it varied: individual differences in preference for feed variety in dairy heifers. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.  195:8-14.

Meagher, R.K., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., Atkinson, D., & Weary, D.M. (2016). Inconsistency in dairy calves’ responses to tests of fearfulness. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 185:15-22.

Fureix, C. & Meagher, R.K. (2015). What can inactivity (in its various forms) reveal about affective states in non-human animals? A review. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.  171:8-24.

Meagher, R.K., Daros, R.R., Costa, J.H.C., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., Hötzel, M., & Weary, D.M. (2015). Effects of degree and timing of social housing on reversal learning and response to novel objects in dairy calves. PLoS One 10: e0132828.

Costa, J.H.C., Meagher,R.K., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., & Weary, D.M. (2015). Early pair housing increases solid feed intake and weight gains in dairy calves. J. Dairy Sci. 98: 6381-6386.

Meagher, R.K., Dallaire, J.A., Campbell, D.L., Díez-León, M., Buob, M., Hansen, S., & Mason, G.J. (2014). Benefits of a ball and chain: Simple environmental enrichments improve welfare and reproductive success in farmed American mink (Neovison vison). PLoS One 9: e110589.

Gaillard, C., Meagher, R.K., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., & Weary, D. M. (2014). Social housing improves dairy calves’ performance in two cognitive tests. PLoS One 9: e90205.

Kinkaid, H.Y., Mills, D.S., Nichols, S.G., Meagher, R.K., & Mason, G. (2013). Feather-damaging behaviour in captive parrots: an initial analysis of potential demographic risk factors. Avian Biol. Res. 6: 289-296.

Buob, M., Meagher, R.K., Dawson, L., Palme, R., Haley, D. & Mason, G. (2013). Providing ‘get-away bunks’ and other enrichments to primiparous adult female mink improves their reproductive productivity. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 147: 194-204.

Meagher, R.K., Campbell, D.L., Dallaire, J.A., Díez-León, M., Palme, R. & Mason, G.J. (2013). Sleeping tight or hiding in fright? The welfare implications of different subtypes of inactivity in mink. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 144: 138-146.

Meagher, R.K. & Mason, G.J. (2012). Environmental enrichment reduces signs of boredom in caged mink. PLOS One 7: e49180.

Dallaire, J.A., Meagher, R.K. & Mason, G.J. (2012). Individual differences in stereotypic behaviour predict individual differences in the nature and degree of enrichment use in caged American mink. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 142: 98-108.

Meagher, R.K., Bechard, A. & Mason, G (2012). Mink with divergent activity levels have divergent reproductive strategies. Ethology 118: 543-554.

Meagher, R., Bechard, A., Palme, R., Díez-León, M., Hunter, D.B. & Mason, G. (2012). Decreased litter size in inactive female mink (Neovison vison): mediating variables and implications for overall productivity. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 92: 131-141.

Meagher, R.K., Duncan, I., Bechard, A. & Mason, G.J. (2011). Who’s afraid of the big bad glove? Testing for fear of humans and its correlates in mink. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 133: 254-264.

Dallaire, J., Meagher, R.K., Díez-León, M., Garner, J.P. & Mason, G.J. (2011). Recurrent perseveration correlates with abnormal repetitive locomotion in adult mink but is not reduced by environmental enrichment. Behav. Brain Res. 224: 213-222.

Bechard, A., Meagher, R. & Mason, G. (2011). Environmental enrichment reduces the likelihood of alopecia in adult C57BL/6J mice. JAALAS 50: 171-174.

Meagher, R.K. (2009). Observer ratings: validity and value as a tool for animal welfare research. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 119: 1-14.