Sophia Hepple  -  Evaluation of calf management practices in early life which can impact on long term survival and productivity


After graduating from Bristol University with a vet degree and three young children, I started work locally in large animal practice and then mixed practice before returning to Bristol as the first Matthew Eyton scholar in preventive medicine and welfare. I completed a PhD in pig nutrition and immunology, popping a few more children out along the way, followed by a lectureship in veterinary parasitology. I then joined the State Veterinary Service (SVS) mid-way through the lectureship, juggling two jobs (and had another child). I switched full time to the SVS, principally to follow my passion for farm animal welfare. Instead I was put in charge of poultry health and had to start learning all over again! Within a few years I was charged with animal welfare responsibilities across Dorset and Somerset and became a veterinary adviser for farmed animal welfare in the public sector. I carried on studying in my spare time getting an RCVS certificate & diploma and am now an RCVS Specialist in animal welfare science, ethics and law. Since 2008 I have been recognized as a national expert in animal welfare for the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument managed by the Directorate-General Enlargement of the European Commission. I have trained vets in pig and calf welfare in both Romania and Serbia, as well as delivering training to all Member states on broiler welfare.

I support Plymouth Argyle Football club and secondarily (through marriage) The Black Cats (Sunderland). I live in North Somerset with my husband, Richard, and my cross-bred herd of unruly children.

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