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From his childhood on a farm in southern Ontario, David Fraser has maintained a fascination with animals throughout his 44-year research career. With a degree in psychology (Toronto) and a PhD in zoology (Glasgow), Prof. Fraser did research on the welfare of farm animals (Edinburgh School of Agriculture, 1971-1975) and on the behaviour and management of moose (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1975-1981) before developing a research team on farm animal welfare and behaviour at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa (1981-1997). He joined UBC in 1997 as NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Animal Welfare.

Prof. Fraser works with many organizations to find practical ways to improve the lives of animals. He is one of the original members of the Animal Welfare Working Group of the World Organisation for Animal Health (Paris) which develops global animal welfare standards on behalf of the 180 member nations. He chaired the expert consultation on animal welfare of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome). Within Canada he was elected one of the original members of the National Farm Animal Health and Welfare Council and led the development of the Council’s national strategy for farm animal welfare. He also serves on advisory committees for Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (Paris), the Centre for Zoo Animal Welfare (Detroit), Verified Beef Production (Calgary), and as advisor on animal welfare to the Loblaw Companies.

Prof. Fraser’s work has led to many innovations in animal housing and management, ranging from designing better pig pens to reducing highway accidents involving wildlife. His published papers include scientific studies on improved housing and handling of animals, theoretical contributions to animal welfare science, and papers on the practical and cultural dimensions of applying ethics to animal issues.

In addition to his professional work, Prof. Fraser is an enthusiastic cyclist, a sometime contributor of light verse to Canadian radio, a bad pianist, a father of four, grandfather of three, and mentor to a wide range of valued students and colleagues. He was appointed Member of the Order of Canada in 2005 for his work as ‘a pioneer in the field of animal welfare science’.

At UBC, Prof. Fraser works in the Animal Welfare Program and is Program Director of the Applied Biology Program.


University of Glasgow, PhD, Zoology
University of Toronto, BA, Psychology


Current courses:

  • Animals and Society (APBI 314). An introduction to the place of animals in society and culture, and their use for agriculture, biomedical research, companionship and other areas. Co-taught with Marina von Keyserlingk. Click herefor a detailed course outline. Click here and here to read student comments about this and related courses.
  • Animal Welfare and the Ethics of Animal Use (APBI 315). An interdisciplinary course which introduces students to the scientific study of animal welfare and many of the ethical issues surrounding the use of animals in agriculture, science, and society. Co-taught with D.M. Weary. Click here for a detailed course outline. Click hereto read student comments about this and related courses.
  • Graduate Courses in Animal Welfare (ANSC 515, 550, 551). For specific course information view the Animal Welfare Program website

Selected Publications

Please see Google Scholar for a full list of publications.


Dubois, S., Fenwick, N., Ryan, E., Baker, L., Baker, S., Beausoleil, N., Carter, S., Cartwright, B., Costa, F., Draper, C., Griffin, J., Grogan, A., Howald, G., Jones, B., Littin, K., Lombard, A., Mellor, D.J, Ramp, D., Schuppli, C. and Fraser, D. 2017. International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control. Conservation Biology, in press.

Baker, L., Lawrence, M.S., Toews, M., Kuling, S. and Fraser, D. 2016. Personality differences in a translocated population of endangered kangaroo rats (Dipodomys stephensi) and implications for conservation success. Behaviour, 153: 1795-1816. doi: 10.1163/1568539X-00003380.

Robbins, J.A., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., Fraser, D. and Weary, D.M. 2016. Farm size and animal welfare. Journal of Animal Science, 94: 5439-5455. doi:10.2527/jas.2016-0805.


Fraser, D. 2012. Compreendendo o Bem-Estar Animal: a Ciência no seu Contexto Cultural. (Portuguese translation of Understanding Animal Welfare: The Science in its Cultural Context, J. A. Fregonesi, translator). Editora da Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Londrina.

Fraser, D. (editor). 2010. Conservation and animal welfare science. Special issue of Animal Welfare, 19: 121-192.

Fraser, D., R.M. Kharb, C.M.E. McCrindle, J. Mench, M.J.R. Paranhos da Costa, K. Promchan, W. Song, A. Sundrum, P. Thornber and P. Whittington (2009). Capacity Building to Implement Good Animal Welfare Practices: Report of the FAO Expert Meeting. 52 pages. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.

Fraser, D. 2008. Understanding Animal Welfare: The Science in its Cultural Context. 324 pages. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.

Fraser, D., 2005. Animal welfare and the intensification of animal production: an alternative interpretation. FAO Readings in Ethics No. 2. 32 pages. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.

Recent Book Chapters

Fraser, D. and Nicol, C.J. 2017. Preference and motivation research. In M.C. Appleby, J.A. Mench, I.A.S. Olsson and B.O. Hughes (editors), Animal Welfare, Third Edition. CAB International, Wallingford UK.

Fraser, D. 2017. Animal welfare. In M. C. Rowlinson and C. Ward (editors), Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics, 264-273.

Fraser, D. and Weary, D.M. 2016. Applied animal behavior and animal welfare. In J.J. Bolhuis and L.-A. Giraldeau (editors), The Behavior of Animals: Mechanisms, Function and Evolution, 2nd Edition. Wiley, Oxford, in press.

Fraser, D. 2015. Foreword. In: D.J. Mellor, S. Hunt & M. Gusset (editors), World Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Strategy, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Gland, Switzerland.

Fraser, D. 2014. Animal welfare in the context of animal production. In: P.B. Thompson and D.M. Kaplan (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Springer, Dordrecht.

Fraser, D. 2014. Foreword. In: H. Lerner (editor), Hästen, hunden och den mänskliga hälsan – vård, behandling och terapi. Norstedts Juridik, Stockholm.

Fraser, D. 2013. Ruth Harrison – a tribute. In Animal Machines: The New Factory Farming Industry (M. S. Dawkins, editor). CABI, Oxford.

Fraser, D. 2012. Animal ethics and food production in the 21st century. In D. Kaplan (editor) Philosophy of Food. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Fraser, D. 2012. Understanding animal welfare from a research scientist’s perspective. Pages 91-98 in W.G. Pond, F.W. Bazer and B.E. Rollin (editors), Animal Welfare in Animal Agriculture: Husbandry, Stewardship and Sustainability in Animal Production. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Additional Information

Prof. Fraser is also in high demand as a lecturer off-campus. Recent speaking engagements include:

  • International symposium on Animal Welfare, Jan 12-13, 2017, Okinawa, Japan
  • Global Conference on Animal Welfare, World Organisation for Animal Health, Dec 6-8, Guadalajara, Mexico
  • European Society of Laboratory Animal Veterinarians/European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine annual scientific meeting, Nov 15-17, 2016, Lyon, France
  • Pig Veterinary Society and British Veterinary Poultry Association, Nov 10-11, 2016, Edinburgh
  • Wildlife Welfare Committee, Inaugural Conference,  Nov 8, 2016, Edinburgh (opening lecture)
  • International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations, July 10-13, 2016, Paris. (opening lecture)
  • International Conference of One Medicine One Science, April 24-27, 2016, Minneapolis
  • Inaugural Summit “Animals, Public Health and Ethics”, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Dec 9-10, 2015.
  • National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council Forum, Ottawa, Nov 23-24, 2015 (opening lecture).
  • 3rd International Meeting of Animal Welfare Researchers, Mexico City, Oct 27-28, 2015.