• 606 Citations
  • 14 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Personal profile

With a background in zoology and experimental psychology, Raf Freire seeks to better understand the effect of human contact on animal behaviour in a broad range of contexts. In captive animals, the effect of humans is mainly concerned with the effect on animal welfare. For animals involved in re-introduction programs, behaviour is important in predicting the chances of released animals surviving and thriving, and for ensuring that population resilience to environmental change is a central facet of management and pre-release training practices. In wild populations, the behaviour of the animal is often the first line of defence against anthropogenic challenges, and the ability of an animal to respond and adapt in a way that maximises its chances of survival is critical for determining the impact of environmental change. Better knowledge of wild animal behaviour therefore provides a more complete understanding of the impact of disturbances on population dynamics, and allow us to better predict population trends, and of course can inform the development of more effective mitigation strategies.

Research Interests

  • Impact of anthropogenic factors on animal behaviour and welfare
  • Complex decision making in animals
  • Animal cognition


Professional Information

External Appointments & Memberships:

  • Editorial Advisory Board, Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2011-present
  • International Society for Applied Ethology (member)
  • Australian Society for Fish Biology (member)
  • Scientific Associate of the Taronga Conservation Society of Australia. 2012-2015.
  • Member Animal Care and Ethics Committee (CSU)



  • VSC112: Animal Behaviour and Welfare
  • ASC225: Assessment of Animal Welfare
  • ASC525: Domestic Animal Behaviour

Education/Academic qualification

Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Charles Sturt University


Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh


Bachelor of Science (Zoology and Psychology) (Hons), University of Bristol


External positions

Lecturer, University of New England


Researcher, USDA-ARS

Post-doctoral researcher, University of Bristol

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Research Output

A bibliometric analysis of past and emerging trends in animal welfare science

Freire, R. & Nicol, C., 01 Nov 2019, In : Animal Welfare. 28, 4, p. 465-485 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Australian and New Zealand veterinary students' opinions on animal welfare and ethical issues concerning animal use within sport, recreation, and display

    Fawcett, A., Hazel, S., Collins, T., Degeling, C., Fisher, A., Freire, R., Hood, J., Johnson, J., Lloyd, J., Phillips, C., Stafford, K., Tzioumis, V. & McGreevy, P. D., 2019, In : Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 46, 2, p. 264-272 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Behavioral, demographic, and management influences on equine responses to negative reinforcement

    Fenner, K., Freire, R., McLean, A. & McGreevy, P., 01 Jan 2019, In : Journal of Veterinary Behavior. 29, p. 11-17 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 4 Citations (Scopus)

    Behavioural assessment of Murray cod decision-making and implications for conservation and welfare

    Rogers, L., Sales, E., Kopf, K. & Freire, R., 14 Oct 2019. 1 p.

    Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract

    Open Access
  • Differences in flight initiation distance (FID) between rural and urban populations of two species of Australian birds

    Davey, S., Massaro, M. & Freire, R., 29 Jul 2019, In : Behaviour. 156, 11, p. 1151-1164 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Press / Media

    Free-range egg label let down

    Rafael Freire


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Free range eggs: more than size of the range

    Rafael Freire


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Layer hen study contradicts some long held beliefs

    Rafael Freire & Ann Cowling


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Ferret behaviour and welfare in Australia

    Sarah Talbot, Skye Wassens & Rafael Freire


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media