Dr Simon Turner

Scotland's Rural College

Research Interests

My research interest lies in understanding the causes and consequences of individual differences in social behaviour, particularly the influence of selective breeding on traits which affect animal and human welfare.

Alongside colleagues, my research addresses long-standing welfare issues by assessing the role that selective breeding can play in producing animals more suited to the environments in which they are housed. I work closely with major breeding companies developing approaches to measure behaviour and welfare on large numbers of animals and assessing the likely success and wider implications of breeding for novel traits.

Current areas of work focus on quantifying the genetic contribution to post-mixing aggressiveness in pigs and the desirability of breeding against this trait and developing methods of measuring beef cattle temperament in response to handling under European production conditions. I also have an interest in developing methods to assess welfare in extensively managed beef cattle and play a role in co-ordinating knowledge transfer activities from SRUC welfare-related work commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Selected Publications

  • Turner, S.P. and Dwyer, C.M. 2007. Welfare assessment of extensive animals: Challenges and opportunities.  Animal Welfare, 16: 189-192. Full Text
  • Turner, S.P. and Lawrence, A.B. 2007. Relationship between maternal defensive aggression, fear of handling and other maternal care traits in beef cows.  Livestock Science, 106: 182-188. Full Text
  • Turner, S.P., Roehe, R., Mekkawy, W., Farnworth, M.J., Knap, P.W. and Lawrence, A.B. 2007. Bayesian analysis of genetic associations of skin lesions and behavioural traits to identify genetic components of individual aggressiveness in pigs.  Behaviour Genetics.  In press. Full Text
  • Turner, S.P., Farnworth, M.J., White, I.M.S., Brotherstone, S., Mendl, M., Knap, P., Penny, P. and Lawrence, A.B. 2006. The accumulation of skin lesions and their use as a predictor of individual aggressiveness in pigs.  Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 96: 245-259. Full Text
  • Turner, S.P., White, I.M.S., Brotherstone, S., Farnworth, M.J., Knap, P.W., Penny, P., Mendl, M. and Lawrence, A.B. 2006. Heritability of post-mixing aggressiveness in grower-stage pigs and its relationship with production traits. Animal Science, 82: 615-620. Full Text