Dr. Fritha Langford

Name : Dr Fritha Langford; PhD, MSc, BSc

Job title : Researcher

Specialist area : Dairy cattle welfare; Sleep and rest in animals; Animal welfare education

Department : Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Institute : Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)

Short introductory biography

Fritha Langford is originally from Sheffield in England, but moved to Scotland to attend university and has not returned south of the border since. Fritha studied Marine and Environmental biology at the University of St. Andrews and decided two important things: firstly, animal behaviour was the area she would most like to study further and secondly, studying fish in Scotland was a little too cold for her liking. Fritha completed an MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare (1999-2000) at the University of Edinburgh, particularly enthused by the welfare of farm animals. She carried out her master research on dairy calves supervised by Dan Weary at the University of British Columbia. On return she was awarded the UFAW Research Training Scholarship to undertake a PhD at the University of Edinburgh supervised by Michael Cockram. The PhD used non-invasive methods to characterise sleep in sheep and use the recognition of sleep to aid animal welfare studies. She has been working at SRUC in the Animal Behaviour and Welfare team since finishing her PhD (2005 to present).

Research interests

At SRUC Fritha Langford has mainly been working in the area of Dairy Cow behaviour and welfare. She worked on the large-scale DEFRA-funded project that compared cows from organic dairy farms with those from matched Non-organic (conventional) dairy farms. This project involved gathering and analysing large amounts of on-farm data (lameness and body condition scoring cattle; detailed building audits of cow accommodation; and behavioural observations of cow time budgets) carrying out surveys with the farmers and assessing health data from national records. Fritha has run a project to specifically address the potential social behaviour issues associated with continuous housing of dairy cows in a second DEFRA-funded project. She has carried out stochastic modelling and written a report for Dairy Co on the issues surrounding the culling of dairy cattle. Fritha has also been working on a multi-disciplinary project to promote a ‘duty of care’ among children and young people to animals, focusing on the production of materials to teach primary-age children about animal needs, with an emphasis on the scientific evaluation of the success of such materials.

Education interests

Fritha Langford is passionate about promoting animal welfare education. She has been involved with the University of Edinburgh MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare for many years and has been Module co-leader for Farm and Lab Animal Welfare (she does the farm half) since 2007. Fritha is also on the exam board and teaching committee for this MSc. Fritha also teaches undergraduate causes at SRUC in Animal Behaviour (HND) and Animal Welfare and Behaviour (BSc) making full use of virtual learning environments and video conference to engage students in college sites across Scotland. She is also involved with teaching veterinary students within the University of Edinburgh and disadvantaged school-leavers in the Scottish schools LEAP scheme. Fritha has supervised a number of MSc, MRes and BSc students in their dissertations. Additionally, Fritha takes part in knowledge exchange and science communication with farmers, members of the public and other stakeholders, at events including the Royal Highland Show and the Edinburgh Science Festival.

Contribution to AWIN

Fritha Langford is Work Package leader for WP 4. She is working with her WP 4 colleagues on the mapping of worldwide animal welfare teaching and trying to devise ways of providing meaningful ratings for the public across the globe. She is developing the ‘Learning Objects’ that take high-quality research from the AWIN project and other areas of animal welfare science and turn them into easily accessed educational material for many audience types. Finally, she is working hard to create a research school within the AWIN project for all PhD students across the EU and elsewhere, to learn, to share knowledge and to have fun.

Relevant activities and professional affiliations

Fritha is a member of The International Society of Applied Ethology (ISAE) and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW).

Recent publications

Langford, F.M., and Cockram, M.S. 2010. Is sleep in animals affected by prior waking experiences. Anim. Welf. 19, 215-222.

Langford, F.M., Rutherford, K.M.D. Sherwood, L., Jack, M.C. Lawrence A.B. and Haskell, M.J. 2010. Behavior of cows during and after peak feeding time on organic and conventional dairy farms in the UK J. Dairy Sci. 94, 746-753.

Tolkamp, B.J., Haskell, M.J., Langford, F.M., Roberts, D.J. and Morgan. C.A. 2010. Are cows more likely to lie down the longer they stand? Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 124, 1-10.

Langford, F.M., Rutherford, K.M.D., Jack, M.C., Sherwood, L., Lawrence, A.B. and Haskell, M.J. 2009. A comparison of management practices, farmer-perceived disease incidence and winter housing on organic and non-organic dairy farms in the UK. J. Dairy Res. 76, 6-14.

Rutherford, K.M.D., Langford, F.M., Jack, M.C., Sherwood, L., Lawrence, A.B. and Haskell, M.J. 2009. Lameness prevalence and risk factors in organic and non-organic dairy herds in the United Kingdom. Vet. J. 180, 95-105

Haskell, M.J., Langford, F.M., Jack, M.C., Sherwood, L., Lawrence, A.B. and Rutherford, K.M.D. 2009. The effect of organic status and management practices on somatic cell counts on UK dairy farms. J. Dairy Sci. 92, 3775-3780.


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Duty of Care

Fritha Langford - Interview