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About Dr Kelly Gouveia

My main areas of interest are implementation of the 3Rs, in particular refinement and reduction methods that improve both animal welfare and scientific output. I am also interested in welfare assessments at slaughter, with a strong focus on devising strategies to minimise animal suffering during pre-slaughter operations.

I have always had a keen interest in animal related science, which led to me become a veterinary surgeon. My enthusiasm for animal welfare science began whilst I was undergraduate student in my final year dissertation project. Here, as a young training vet, I conducted research in animal welfare related issues in slaughterhouses across Portugal, measuring efficiency of captive bolt stunning in cattle and assessing pre-slaughter operations and post mortem lesions in free-range broilers. With these projects, I gained my first publications in the field, which led me to further pursue a career in academia. Since graduating I have worked as a research assistant assessing welfare among a range of species and settings, including collaborative work with internationally recognised research centres such as the University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Program, Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca. 

I completed a PhD in laboratory animal welfare science at the University of Liverpool in 2014, where I investigated effects of human handling on mouse welfare and subsequent variability in experimental studies. I joined the University of Chester in April 2018, as a full-time lecturer in Bioveterinary Science.


I teach on a number of modules on the Bioveterinary Science programme including veterinary pharmacology and therapeutics, veterinary disease investigation and public health and surveillance and disease control. I also participate in teaching on the Animal Behaviour and Welfare program and supervise undergraduate students in their final year dissertation on both programs.


My general research interest is in investigating practical methods to improve animal welfare across a variety of settings. In particular, 3Rs research focused primarily on refinement and reduction in laboratory animal research. Here, my main focus is on devising practical strategies to improve the quality of life of laboratory animals and measuring how stress reduction may improve reliability of scientific experiments. I am also interested in animal welfare at slaughter, in particular identifying strategies to improve welfare during pre-slaughter operations both on farm and at slaughter.

Published Work

The mouse (2020). Chapter 8. In: Animal-centric Care and Management. Enhancing refinement in Biomedical Research. Taylor & Frances. 9780429059544.

Gouveia K & Hurst JL (2019). Improving the practicality of using non-aversive handling methods to reduce background stress and anxiety in laboratory mice. Scientific Reports. 9. 20305.

Gouveia K & Hurst JL (2017). Optimising reliability of mouse performance in behavioural testing: the major role of non-aversive handling. Scientific Reports. 7. 44999.

Gouveia K, Waters J, Hurst JL (2013). Handling and restraint. NC3Rs.

Gouveia K & Hurst JL (2013). Reducing Mouse Anxiety during Handling: Effect of Experience with Handling Tunnels. PLOS one. 6, e66401.

Gouveia K, Magalhaes A, de Sousa L (2011). The behaviour of domestic cats in a shelter: Residence time, density and sex ratio. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 130, 53-59.

Gouveia, K.G., Ferreira, P.G., Roque da Costa, J.C., Vaz-Pires P. & Martins da Costa P. (2008) Assessment of the efficiency of captive bolt stunning in cattle and feasibility of associated behavioural signs. Animal Welfare, 18: 171-175.

Gouveia, K.G., Martins da Costa, P. & Vaz-Pires, P. (2009) Welfare assessment of broilers through examination of haematomas, foot-pad dermatitis, scratches and breast blisters at processing. Animal Welfare 18: 43-48.