Dr Alexandra Whittaker

Dr Alexandra Whittaker
 Position Senior Lecturer
 Org Unit School of Animal and Veterinary Science
 Email alexandra.whittaker@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 7868
 Location Floor/Room G ,  Corridor Block ,   Roseworthy
  • Biography/ Background

    I qualified as a veterinary surgeon from The University of Cambridge in 2001. After a spell in small animal general practice I moved into the research/academic environment to work as an animal welfare adviser and lecturer. During my career to date, I have developed a keen interest in welfare science and its application in veterinary decision making, and ethics as applied to the veterinary field. My main clinical interests are in comparative medicine, and veterinary anaesthesia/analgesia. I undertook training (mainly in the UK) within the disciplines of animal welfare and laboratory animal science. I subsequently attained UK veterinary specialist qualifications in animal welfare science, ethics and law, and laboratory animal science.

  • Qualifications

    VetMB- Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (University of Cambridge, UK)
    LLB (Hons)- Bachelor of Laws (UNE)
    GCOL (HE)- Grad.Cert Online Learning (UAdel)

    MA-  Master of Arts (University of Cambridge, UK)

    MBA - Master of Business Administration (CSU)

    MANZCVS (animal welfare)- Member of Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists
    DWEL- Diploma in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law (RCVS, UK)

    DLAS- Diploma in Laboratory Animal Science (RCVS)

    Dip ECAWBM-AW - European Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law

    PhD- Doctor of Philosophy (UAdel)

  • Teaching Interests

    I currently co-coordinate the course "Professional Skills in Veterinary Bioscience III" for the third year veterinary science cohort and the new animal science elective course "Animals and the Law". I also teach into various other courses including: laboratory animal science;principles of animal welfare,behaviour and ethics;and animal health.  

  • Research Interests

    I am interested in physiological and behavioural measures indicative of animal welfare, particularly in the context of intensive animal production and laboratory animal management. Current work is looking at housing strategies for sows in the context of social grouping and strategies to minimise aggression. My other main interest is in the use of analgesics in clinical practice and as a refinement strategy for routine animal husbandry procedures. Specific areas of interest include:

    • Effects of routine animal management on well-being- especially inputs of space and enclosure complexity on behavioural and physiological indicators of well-being.
    • Effects of husbandry refinements on well-being.
    • Assessment of positive welfare outcomes.
    • Pain assessment in laboratory animals and comparison of therapeutics.
    • Use of animals in teaching- refinement strategies.
    • The legal status of animals- effects on attitudes towards them and their treatment.
  • Publications

    Original Papers/Commentary

    1. Whittaker AL, Plush KJ, Terry R, Hughes PE, Kennaway DJ, Van Wettere WHEJ. Effects of space allocation and parity on selected physiological and behavioural measures of well-being and reproductive performance in group-housed gestating sows. Livestock Science 205. Doi: 10.1016/j.livsci.2015.03.007.  

    2Whittaker AL, Williams DL. Evaluation of Lacrimation Characteristics in Clinically Normal New Zealand White rabbits Using the Schirmer Tear Test I. In press Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.

    3. Alexandra L Whittaker, Kerry A Lymn, Gordon S Howarth.The effects of metabolic cage housing on the rat behavioural ethogram and performance in the social interaction test.  Submitted to J Applied Animal Welfare Science.

    4. Alexandra L Whittaker, Kerry A Lymn, Anthony Nicholson, Gordon S Howarth. The assessment of general wellbeing using spontaneous burrowing behaviour in a short-term chemotherapy- induced mucositis model. Laboratory Animals 2015: 49(1); 30-39.

    5. Lewis Vaughan, Monica Kloppers, Alexandra Whittaker.The influence of bilateral preputialectomy on aggressive behavior, and incidence of aggression-related injury, in group-housed male Swiss mice. In press Animal Technology and Welfare. 

    6. C Francisco, GS Howarth and AL Whittaker. Impact of two techniques of facial vein blood sampling on animal welfare and blood sample quality in mice.Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science 2015: 54(1); 1-5.

    7. Alexandra L Whittaker, Gordon S Howarth, Kerry A Lymn. Evaluation of Facebook to create an online learning community in an undergraduate animal science class. Educational Media Interantional 2014: 51 (2); 135-145.

    8. Alexandra Whittaker. Animal research regulation in Australia-does it pass the test of robustness? Global Journal of Animal Law, Issue 1/2014.

    9. Alexandra L Whittaker. An approach to teaching a stand-alone course in animal law to animal and veterinary sciences students at an Australian University. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 2014;1;55-59.

    10. Lewis Vaughan, Jane Dawson, Paula Porter, Alexandra Whittaker. Castration promotes welfare in group-housed male Swiss outbred mice maintained in educational institutions. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science 2014; 53 (1);1-6.

    11. Alexandra L Whittaker. Animal Law Teaching in Non-Law Disciplines:Incorporation in Animal and Veterinary Science Curricula. Australian Animal Protection Law Journal 2013;112-114 (letter to Editor).

    12. Hanru Wang, Caitlin L Brook, Alexandra L Whittaker, Andrew Lawrence, Roger Yazbeck, Gordon S Howarth. Effects of Streptococcus thermophilus TH-4 in a Rat Model of Doxorubicin-Induced Mucositis. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 2013;4 (8);959-968.  http://informahealthcare.com/eprint/9SQ7yQuHxcivguySFUVH/full

    13. Alexandra L Whittaker, Gail I Anderson. A policy at the University of Adelaide for Student Objections to the Use of Animals in Teaching. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 2013; 40(1);52-57.

    14. Robyn Terry, William HEJ van Wettere, Alexandra L Whittaker, Paul J Herde, Gordon S Howarth. A proof of concept study in swine to investigate the feasibility of intestinal sucrase activity measurement utilizing the non-invasive 13C- sucrose breath test. Comparative Medicine,2012;62(6):504-507.

    15. A.Whittaker, D. Noonan, F. Chew. Investigation of training and development options for research and teaching animal users- a case study. Animal Technology and Welfare, 2012;11 (1):21-29.


    1. Alexandra L Whittaker and Gordon S Howarth. Use of spontaneous behaviour measures to assess pain in laboratory rats and mice: How are we progressing? Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2014;151;1- 12  http://dx.doi.org.proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/10.1016/j.applanim.2013.11.001

    2. A.L.Whittaker, G.S.Howarth, D. Hickman. Effects of space allocation and housing density on measures of well-being in laboratory mice: a review. Laboratory animals, 2012;46:3-13.

    3. A.L. Whittaker, William H. Van Wettere and Paul E. Hughes. Space requirements to optimize welfare and performance in group housed pigs-a review. American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 2012;7: 48-54.

  • Professional Associations


    Follow me on ResearchGate


  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesAnimals & Veterinary Science
    ExpertiseAnimal welfare; animal law; laboratory animals
    NotesVeterinary specialist qualifications in animal welfare sciences, ethics and law and laboratory animal science.

The information in this directory is provided to support the academic, administrative and business activities of the University of Adelaide. To facilitate these activities, entries in the University Phone Directory are not limited to University employees. The use of information provided here for any other purpose, including the sending of unsolicited commercial material via email or any other electronic format, is strictly prohibited. The University reserves the right to recover all costs incurred in the event of breach of this policy.

Entry last updated: Tuesday, 29 Mar 2022

To link to this page, please use the following URL:  https://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/alexandra.whittaker