College of Veterinary Medicine

Research in IPN

Ruth C. Newberry, Ph.D.


  Ruth Newberry

Adjunct Associate Professor
E-Mail: rnewberry@wsu.edu


In the Newberry laboratory, our research concerns the behavior and well-being of animals, with a focus on environmental enrichment, social behavior, and human-animal interactions. We use behavioral measures such as vocalizations, exploration, and play to assess affective states. We also investigate animal preferences, motivations, and decision-making to gain insights into the inner subjective lives of animals. Our goal is to develop methods for improving animal care through environmental enrichment, social grouping strategies, handling and training methods, and housing design. We also seek methods to prevent and control abnormal behavior. We work with a variety of species in agricultural, laboratory, and zoo settings, as well as with companion animals.


A current focus is identifying factors contributing to the development and expression of injurious behavior in animals. We are characterizing the behavioral, morphological and neurobiological characteristics of aggressive and cannibalistic individuals with the aim of understanding the mechanisms underlying these behaviors. The role of individual and social learning in the spread of injurious behaviors is also under investigation. This information is used to develop humane animal management systems that reduce the risk of animal injury and promote animal well-being.


Ruth C. Newberry, Ph.D.Biographical Information

Ruth C. Newberry, Associate Professor, received her B.Sc. in biology and her Ph.D. in agriculture from the University of Edinburgh in 1979 and 1983, respectively. She held a fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Agassiz, British Columbia from 1983-1985. She was subsequently employed there as a research scientist until 1996, when she joined the faculty of the Departments of IPN and Animal Sciences. She was the first faculty member appointed in the Center for the Study of Animal Well-being (www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-CSAW). She is a Past President of the International Society for Applied Ethology (www.applied-ethology.org), and is currently a scientific advisor to various groups addressing issues of farm animal well-being.

Recent Publications

Colonnello, V., Iacobucci, P. and Newberry, R.C. 2010. Vocal and locomotor responses of piglets to social isolation and reunion.  Developmental Psychobiology 52, 1-12.

Cloutier, S. and Newberry, R.C. 2010.
Physiological and behavioural responses of laboratory rats housed at different tier levels and levels of visual contact with conspecifics and humans. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 125, 69-79.

McGowan, R.T.S., Robbins, C.T., Alldredge, J.R., and Newberry, R.C. 2009. Contrafreeloading in grizzly bears: implications for environmental enrichment. Zoo Biology 28, 1-19.


Thogerson, C.M., Hester, P.Y., Mench, J.A.,
Newberry, R.C., Okura, C.M., Pajor, E.A., Talaty, P.N. and Garner, J.P. 2009. The effect of feeder space allocation on productivity and physiology of Hy-line W36 hens housed in conventional cages. Poultry Science 88, 1793–1799.

Thogerson, C.M., Hester, P.Y., Mench, J.A.,
Newberry, R.C., Pajor, E.A. and Garner, J.P. 2009. The effect of feeder space allocation on behavior of Hy-line W36 hens housed in conventional cages. Poultry Science 88, 1544-1552.

Newberry, R.C.
and Swanson, J.C. 2008.  Implications of breaking mother-young social bonds. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 110, 3-23.

Cloutier, S. and Newberry, R.C. 2008.  The use of a conditioning technique to reduce the physiological and behavioural stress associated with repeated intra-peritoneal injections in rats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 112, 158-173.

Dennis, R., Newberry, R.C., Cheng, H-W. and Estevez, I. 2008.  Appearance matters: artificial marking alters aggression and stress. Poultry Science 87, 1939-1946.

Wibowo, T.A., Gaskins, C.T., Newberry, R.C., Thorgaard, G.H., Michal, J.J. and Jiang, Z. 2008.  Genome assembly anchored QTL map of bovine chromosome 14. International Journal of Biological Sciences 4, 406-414.


Croney, C. and Newberry, R.C. 2007. Group size and cognitive processes. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 103, 215-228.


Newberry, R.C.
, Keeling, L.J., Estevez, I. and Bilčk, B. 2007.  Behaviour when young as a predictor of severe feather pecking in adult laying hens: the redirected foraging hypothesis revisited. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 107, 262-274.

Gifford, A.K., Cloutier, S. and Newberry, R.C. 2007.  Objects as enrichment: effects of object exposure time and delay interval on object recognition memory of the domestic pig. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 107, 206-217.


Other Selected Publications

Newberry, R.C. 2004. Cannibalism. pp. 239-258. In: Welfare of the Laying Hen. Ed. by G.C. Perry, CABI Publishing, Wallingford UK.

Cloutier S., Newberry, R.C., Honda, K. and Alldredge, J.R. 2002. Cannibalistic behaviour spread by social learning. Animal Behaviour 63, 1153-1162.

Donaldson, T.M., Newberry, R.C., Spinka, M. and Cloutier, S. 2002. Effects of early play experience on play behaviour of piglets after weaning. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 79, 221-231.

Spinka, M., Newberry, R.C. and Bekoff, M. 2001.  Mammalian play: training for the unexpected.  The Quarterly Review of Biology 76, 141-168.

Newberry, R.C., Estevez, I. and Keeling, L.J. 2001.  Group size and perching behaviour in young domestic fowl.  Applied Animal Behaviour Science 73, 117-129.

Sustr P., Spinka, M., Cloutier, S. and Newberry, R.C. 2001. Computer-aided method for calculating animal configurations during social interactions from x, y coordinates of color-marked body parts. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers 33, 364-370.

Cambridge, A.J., Tobias, K.M., Newberry, R.C. and Sarkar, D.K. 2000.  Evaluation of subjective and objective measurements of postoperative pain in cats.  Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 217, 685-690.

Newberry, R.C. 1999.  Exploratory behaviour of young domestic fowl.  Applied Animal Behaviour Science 63, 311-321.

Newberry, R.C., Webster, A.B., Lewis, N.J. and Van Arnam, C. 1999.  Management of spent hens.  Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 2, 13-29.

Newberry, R.C. and Shackleton, D.M. 1997.  Use of cover by domestic fowl: a Venetian blind effect?  Animal Behaviour 54, 387-395.

Mendl, M. and Newberry, R.C. 1997.  Social conditions.  pp. 191-203. In: Animal Welfare.  Ed. by M.C. Appleby and B.O. Hughes, CAB International, Oxfordshire UK.

Newberry, R.C.
1995. Environmental enrichment: increasing the biological relevance of captive environments.  Applied Animal Behaviour Science 44, 229-244.

Newberry, R.C., Wood-Gush, D.G.M. and Hall, J.W. 1988.  Playful behaviour of piglets.  Behavioural Processes 17, 205-216.

Newberry, R.C. and Wood-Gush, D.G.M.  1986.  Social relationships of piglets in a semi-natural environment.  Animal Behaviour 34, 1311-1318.

Newberry, R.C. and Wood-Gush, D.G.M. 1985.  The suckling behaviour of domestic pigs in a semi-natural environment.  Behaviour 95, 11-25.

Please see: PubMed Publications and ScienceDirect Publication searches (Note:  Searches may produce additional "Newberry" authors.)

Last Edited: Aug 19, 2013 9:44 AM   

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