Personal profile


Helen's principle research interests and teaching experience lie in the area of Animal Welfare Science, with particular focus on companion animal behaviour and welfare, and animal welfare policy and law.  She has relevant industry experience with organisations such as the RSPCA and the Guide Dogs, and has also worked in the pet trade and with farm livestock. After completing her undergraduate studies in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, she started a career in lecturing and alongside this completed an MSc in Animal Welfare, eventually becoming a Senior Lecturer in Animal and Equine studies until 2018. 

From 2018 she worked towards a PhD on the herpetofauna trade (University of Northampton), with a specific focus on what husbandry information is available to owners, what species are being traded and the socio-economic factors associated with this. This PhD was awarded in August 2023 subject to minor corrections. During this time she also served as an external examiner for the University of Hull and the University of Nottingham. In 2021 she joined the team at Hartpury University in the Department of Animal and Agriculture where she specialises in animal welfare policy and legislation. She also continues to act as an Academic Consultant for the University of Hull. 

This academic year she is on the Hartpury internal committee to help organise the upcoming ISAZ (International Society for Anthrozoology) conference which Hartpury is hosting on the 27th-30th June 2024.  More info can be found here: ISAZ Conference | International Society for Anthrozoology

Current teaching

Helen is programme manager for Hartpury University's MSc Animal Welfare, Policy, and Legisation. Alongside this she leads several modules which include Advanced Principles of Animal Welfare; UK Legal Systems for Biologists; Agriculture and Food Production Regulations; and Ethics of Animal Use. To support these modules she works with numerous Visiting Lecturers in the field of Animal Welfare Science and Law. These include experts from Newcastle University, the University of Chester, the Royal Agricultural University, and from relevant industry organisations such as the RSPCA, Humane Slaughter Association, and the Pet Industry Federation. 

She has supervised postgraduate and undergraduate level projects for many years at a previous instition, and encourages students to take an applied approach in their research. Her current research on the pet trade, particularly what is traded online, will provide project ideas for future students. 

Research interests

Helen's main area of research interests surround the pet trade, its associated socio-economical factors, and the animal welfare consequences of this. This has stemmed from her PhD research whereby she worked alongside a software developer to create an expert system software that can monitor the online trade of pets via classified websites. Currently this has monitored the sales of herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) but has the potential to investigate all species traded online. 

Helen is also passionate about pedagogic research and has overseen several projects in this area at a previous institution. She is currently investigating topics such as online delivery, flipped learning, and effective ways to teach Law to scientists (and vice versa). 

Helen is also interested in research ethics and currently sits on the Hartpury Research Ethics Committee which involves reviewing and approving internal research project applications. 

External positions and memberships

Helen is currently the UFAW LINKS Academic at Hartpury University and is also a member of A-LAW (UK Centre for Animal Law). 

She is a member of the Animal Welfare Research Network (AWRN) and also joined its Early Career Researcher (ECR) committee in Oct 2023 as the Animal Welfare Law Representative. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, An overview of the pet herpetofauna trade in England from 2016-2021, University of Northampton


PGCE, University of Northampton


Master, University of Northampton


Bachelor, Coventry University


External positions

Academic Consultant, University of Hull

2021 → …

External Examiner, University of Nottingham


External Examiner, University of Hull



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