My name is Cathy Dwyer. I lead a team of behavior and welfare scientists at SIUC just outside Edinburg. My main area, I guess, is I'm interested in how mothers and offspring interact with each other and how that helps the offspring develop, but also how that helps them, in terms of, their welfare. So we're interested in the welfare of the mother, but also the welfare of the offspring and how they develop. So the research that we do looks at the animal from conception, or even a little bit before conception, so we look at how the mother is managed very early on in her pregnancy, all the way through her pregnancy. Then we look at how the behavior of the mother and the behavior of the offspring interact with each other, so that is really important for the survival of the offspring. So that's one of the main jobs that a mother does, is helps to keep her offspring alive, but, as well as that, she also teaches her offspring about what life is going to be like. There's lots of behaviors that we tend to think of as just being something that the animal does intrinsically that we now know that should have been taught to them by their mothers and that's how they learned to be a successful animal whether it's a sheep, or a pig, or a cow. And so we research all those different stages, so we look at what happens in pregnancy and some of the different ways we might manage the mother, and then we look at the behavior of the mother, we look at how that alters the behavior of the offspring, and how the offspring then copes and develops into an adult animal itself. So, up until a few years ago, we used to think that, I guess, really once an animal was born, that was when it started to learn and develop, and that's when things happened to it that might affects its welfare. But we now know a lot more about what happens in development, so really, right from the point where the egg is released and becomes fertilized, but even really before then. So, even before conception, things that happened to the mother, and very recently we know also things that happen to the father before he mates with the mother, can have an impact on that developing embryo. Some of the ways that we look at that is to manipulate the nutritional environment. We might do that by using a process called embryo transfer, where we take an embryo from one mother and we put it into the uterus to the womb of another mother, and we look at how those things that might have happened to that embryo in one mother, very early on. So the sort of nutritional environment that that came from and how that affects how it develops when that nutritional environment has changed because they're now in a different mother. It may be the mother of a different breed of animal. So we can look at whether early life development is affected by the breed of the mother, or we may look at things like different stressful events that we know happen in the lives of pregnant mothers. So we might look at how they're handled, how they're housed, whether they're housed in large groups or small groups, whether there's competition for food. All sorts of things that might happen on a farm to a farm animal, and what does that mean for the offspring? [COUGH] Some of the indicators that we might look at will be behavior, but we'll also look at the placenta. The placenta is the afterbirth, or the organ that the mother communicates with the fetus through with help develop the offspring through. So that regulates the amount of oxygen, the amount of nutrition, and crucially, I guess, some of the hormones that might reach the fetus. So stress hormones in the mother, how they might reach the fetus, how they might affect the developing brain, organs, and tissues of the fetus. We know that one of the targets for early life development is the stress access, so the access that we're concerned about from any welfare point of view is also affected by things that happen in the mother before birth. We can see that is a permanent effect, so we can see that the things that happened to the mother have a long lasting impact on how the offspring might cope with a stressful event. One of the things that we think happens when the mother is pregnant, and we do a lot of our work on sheep and on pigs, so we look at things that might normally happen to that mother. Either how she's housed, and, in the case of a pig, if she's housed in a social group, where there might be a lot of social interactions and fighting, things that might be quite unpleasant for the mother. Or we might look at an animal that's kept in an environment where she doesn't get a lot to eat, and that's quite common in sheep, particularly in hill sheep in Scotland or places where there's not a lot of nutrition where it would be very dry if there's droughts during pregnancy. There may not be a lot of food. All the answers what might be happening. We do know, in terms of nutrition, that, if the mother is undernourished in pregnancy, then that does have generally a negative impact on her offspring, both in terms of its own growth, its future reproductive status, and also its ability to learn things that are important. So those animals have reduced survival, the offspring do not survive as well. So that's a fairly important issue for the welfare of those offspring, that they don't cope as well with the environment. When we think about the more psychological stresses, how we manage those animals in terms of how they interact with other animals in their social group, how they interact with us as animal caregivers, then it's a little more difficult about whether the mother's stress is transmitted to the offspring in a way that's going to be negative for the offspring or positive. Some of the data we have suggests that some things are bad for the offspring, so they may be more stress reactive, but there may be some things that might be better for those offspring, and, at the moment, it's hard to say for sure that these are always negative. There may be things that the mother is trying to do to help her offspring cope better with the environment that it's going to be born into and it's going to live in. I think what we're trying to do with this work is to produce more concrete evidence of, what is the longer term impact? A lot of these studies are quite new, and quite often the study finishes at a point where the animal is very young. Maybe it's a newborn animal, and we don't yet know the long-term, maybe the lifetime consequences of the things that happen during the animal's whole life, so we know little bits. We know little blocks of things that might happen to the animal, but we don't know the total life consequence. In some of the other species, like humans and rodents, we also know that some of these effects go on for more than the current generation. So it may be that the grandmother is having an impact on her grand-offspring, and I think that's really fascinating to know just how long some of these challenges happen. How long are they affecting the lives of our animals? At the moment, I think we're really just starting in this area really to put together some of the behavior, the physiology, perhaps some of the impacts on how the brain develops, to understand what it really means for these animals for something to happen to their mothers when they're pregnant or their grandmothers when they were pregnant.