Professor David Main


Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning & Resources), Professor of Production Animal Health and Welfare.


David Main is a veterinary surgeon and Professor of Production of Animal Health and Welfare at the Royal Agricultural University. He has research interests in science and practice of knowledge exchange, animal welfare assessment and improvement strategies and animal welfare education. Former member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council, Food Ethics Council and Soil Association Council. He is chair of Home Office Animals in Science Committee and member of McDonald’s Global Chicken Sustainability Advisory Council.

Previous initiatives include the AssureWel project, a collaboration with RSPCA and Soil Association that introduced welfare outcomes into certification schemes and the Healthy Feet Project that has been widely adopted by the UK dairy industry. He was also project co-ordinator for Hennovation, an EU H2020 project that investigated the value of participatory approaches to innovation in the laying hen sector.

  • Lin, Yi-Chun; Mullan, Siobhan; Main, David C.J. (2018) Use of welfare outcome information in three types of dairy farm inspection reports Asian-Australasian Journal Of Animal Sciences 31: 1525-1534     
  • Lin, Yi-Chun; Mullan, Siobhan; Main, David C.J. (2018) Optimising lameness detection in dairy cattle by using handheld infrared thermometers. Veterinary Medicine And Science 4: 218-226         
  • van Dijk L., Elwes, S. Main, D.C.J., Mullan S.M. and Jamieson J. (2018) Farmer perspectives on welfare outcome assessment: learnings from four farm assurance scheme consultation exercises. Animal Welfare 27: 1-11  
  • Bard, A.M.; Main, D.C.J.; Haase, A.M.; Whay, H.R. Roe, E.J. Reyher, K.K. (2017) A feasibility study of Motivational Interviewing: the effect of brief training on veterinarian communication and farmer change language in herd health discussions. Cattle Practice  25: 225-226
  • Bard A.M., Main D.C.J., Haase A.M., Whay H.R., Roe E.J., Reyher K.K .(2017) The future of veterinary communication: Partnership or persuasion? A qualitative investigation of veterinary communication in the pursuit of client behaviour change. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0171380. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0171380
  • van Dijk, L.; Hayton, A.; Main, D.C.J.; Booth, A. King, A. Barrett, DC. Buller, HJ; Reyher, KK (2017) Participatory Policy Making by Dairy Producers to Reduce Anti-Microbial use on Farms. Zoonoses And Public Health 64: 476-484  
  • van Dijk, L., Buller, H., MacAllister, L. , Main, D. (2017) Facilitating practice-led co-innovation for the improvement in animal welfare. Outlook on Agriculture. 46 131–137         
  • Clarke, N., Main, D.C.J., Paul, E.S. (2017) Students’ beliefs in animal sentience: no decline across veterinary education Veterinary Record 180, 378.