John Webster
Professor John F. Webster
President 1992 to 1995

John Webster MA, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS, FNS,FAfN

John Webster, trained as a vet, began a research career with Sir Kenneth Blaxter (KB) at the Hannah Research Institute, Ayr, studying the impact of cold stress on energy metabolism in ruminants. This led him to the University of Alberta, Canada, where it was really cold, but he was allowed to teach cowboys. However, KB persuaded him to return to the Rowett Institute, Aberdeen where his interests ranged from ruminant digestion to appetite control and the energetics of protein and fat deposition in the rat.

In 1977 he was appointed to the Chair of Animal Husbandry at the University of Bristol, where he established a unit for the study of animal behaviour and welfare, which has achieved international acclaim. He was a founder member of the U.K. Farm Animal Welfare Council and first propounded the ‘Five Freedoms’ which have gained international recognition as standards for defining the elements of good welfare in domestic animals. He is a past president of the Nutrition Society and British Society for Animal Science.

He became Emeritus (i.e. unpaid) Professor in 2005 and has since sought to contribute mostly through writing. Recent books include Management and Welfare of Farm Animals (editor), Understanding the Dairy Cow, Animal Husbandry Regained and, in the Animal Welfare series, Limping towards Eden, and Understanding Sentient Minds and why it matters.