Key welfare research underway thanks to AWF funding

Six research projects to improve key areas of livestock and equine welfare have been given the go ahead thanks to funding from AWF.


Through AWF’s Norman Hayward Fund, grant recipients are able to undertake high quality veterinary research projects into the disease and welfare of horses, cattle and sheep and how these can be improved. This year’s selected projects run from one year to three, each receiving a different grant amount depending on the project length.

The Norman Hayward Trust was set up in 1995 and since 2005 the Fund has awarded over £1 million to research projects covering a wide range of areas, from an investigation into the most effective and safe maintenance regime for sand based arenas, to lameness prevention in livestock. 

The recipients for the Norman Hayward Fund 2016 are:


  • Karin Mueller, Liverpool University: Lameness in beef cattle - establishing a knowledge base
  • Lesley Stubbings, Independent: Improving the welfare and longevity of rams in commercial sheep flocks
  • Dr Maria R Lopez-Alvarez, Animal Health Trust: Validation of equine cell lines as a cellular replacement to model equine primary cells for in-vitro studies
  • Katherine Hughes, Cambridge University: Understanding the role of STAT1, STAT3 and STAT5 in naturally occurring inflammatory lesions of the bovine and ovine mammary gland 
  • Diana Williams, Liverpool University: The impact of liver fluke infection on the welfare of horses
  • Laura Green, Warwick University: Development, testing and rollout of an online lameness recording system for sheep farmers.

Karin Mueller, one of this year’s Fund recipients, said:

“Receiving news of this substantial grant from the AWF Norman Hayward Fund for our research into beef cattle lameness was absolutely wonderful. We are excited to be able to explore an area about which virtually nothing is known. Our work will potentially benefit millions of beef cattle, give a boost to beef farmers, and underline how seriously welfare of food producing animals is taken in the UK.”

Independent researcher Lesley Stubbings, who is focussing on the welfare and longevity of rams in commercial flocks, said:

“Sheep farmers have a saying that the ram is ‘half the flock’, yet our knowledge of the challenges to the health and welfare of rams on commercial sheep farms is sparse. The funding we have received from the Norman Hayward Fund will enable us to establish the main factors associated with losses, the costs involved and allow us to start looking for ways to improve the longevity and welfare of this vital group of animals.”

Chris Laurence, AWF Chairman, said:

“One of AWF's key charitable aims is to raise the standards of practical animal welfare which is why we fund several projects annually that have the potential to make a real difference to the way we understand various welfare aspects for horses, cattle and sheep. This year’s recipients show a great range and depth in their research topics and we look forward to some interesting outcomes that will improve the day to day lives of the target species.”

AWF grants support invaluable work in a range of fields - none of which would be possible without the charitable support of others. Find out how you can donate to AWF and help make improvements to animal welfare by visiting