David Fraser

David Fraser




MacMillan 183, 2357 Main Mall

UBC Animal Welfare Program

University of Glasgow, PhD, Zoology

University of Toronto, BA, Psychology

Please note that Prof. Fraser is no longer accepting new graduate students.

From his childhood on a farm in southern Ontario, David Fraser has maintained a fascination with animals throughout his 48-year research career. After 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 has worked with many organizations to find practical ways to improve the lives of animals. He was 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 Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council and led the development of the Council’s national strategy for farm animal welfare. He has served on advisory committees for many institutions, research programs and companies in various countries.

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.


Please see Google Scholar for a full list of publications.


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. 2018. Animal welfare: translating science into practice. Pages 129-143 in J. Mench (editor), Advances in Agricultural Animal Welfare, Woodhead Publishing (Elsevier), Duxford, UK.

Fraser, D. and K.E. Koralesky. 2017. Assuring and verifying dairy cattle welfare. Pages 993-1004 in Large Dairy Herd Management e-book, 3rd ed., D. Beede (editor), American Dairy Science Association, Chicago, USA.

Weary, D.M. and Fraser, D. 2017. Social and reproductive behaviour. Pages 79-89 in P. Jensen (editor), The Ethology of Domestic Animals, 3rd Edition. CABI, Wallingford, UK.

Fraser, D. and Nicol, C.J. 2017. Preference and motivation research. Pages 213-231 in M.C. Appleby, I.A.S. Olsson and F. Galindo (editors), Animal Welfare, Third Edition. CABI, 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.

Prof. Fraser is also in high demand as a lecturer off-campus. Some of his lectures can be found by searching for "David Fraser" and "animal welfare" on Youtube. Recent speaking engagements include:

  • World’s Poultry Congress, Paris, August 2021
  • Japanese Coaliton for Animal Welfare, Tokyo, January 26, 2020
  • National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Forum, Gatineau, November 26-27, 2019
  • One Welfare Conference, Sydney (Australia), Oct 14-15, 2019
  • Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Global Summit, Toronto, July 16, 2019
  • Journées de la Recherche Avicole, Tours (France) March 20-21, 2019

Please note that Prof. Fraser is no longer accepting new graduate students.