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John Webster

John Webster

Professor Emeritus
University of Bristol


John Webster is Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, in South West England. He is a former President of both the Nutrition Society and the British Society for Animal Science. He is internationally renowned for his work in animal welfare assessment and the implementation of theory into practice. His academic and scientific accomplishments are extensive. John Webster became a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1963 and obtained his PhD from Glasgow University in 1966, studying the energy metabolism of ruminants. He first proposed, and later developed, the concept of the ‘Five Freedoms,’ which have been adopted by the U.K. Farm Animal Welfare Council and other organizations as the basis for assessing animal welfare. John and colleagues established the Bristol Welfare Assurance Programme for monitoring and improving animal welfare on farm. Aside from over 250 scientific, educational and other professional articles, John has authored three books, ‘Understanding the Dairy Cow’ (2nd edition 1993), ‘Animal Welfare: A Cool Eye towards Eden’ (1994, still in print) and ‘Animal Welfare: Limping towards Eden’ (2005). His current pursuits include studies to address lameness in dairy cattle, and the improvement of quality assurance schemes for livestock farms. John also acts as an expert witness for the European Commission.

Research Interest

Animal welfare