• 940 Citations
  • 17 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

Aggressive encounters lead to negative affective state in fish

Rogers, L., Sales, E., Shamsi, S., Kopf, R. K. & Freire, R., 14 Apr 2020, In : PLoS One. 15, 4, p. e0231330

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 8 Downloads (Pure)

    Australian and New Zealand veterinary students’ ranking of issues in aquatic animal welfare and ethics

    Lloyd, J. K. F., Collins, T., Cornish, A. R., Degeling, C., Fawcett, A., Fisher, A. D., Freire, R., Hazel, S. J., Hood, J., Johnson, J., Phillips, C. J. C., Stafford, K. J., Tzioumis, V. & McGreevy, P. D., 12 May 2020, In : Anthrozoos. 33, 3, p. 325-337 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Dermocystidium sp. infection in farmed Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii

    Shamsi, S., Zhu, X., Barton, D., Dang, M., Freire, R. & Nowak, B., 11 Jun 2020, In : Aquaculture.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Review of the online One Welfare portal: Shared curriculum resources for veterinary undergraduate learning and teaching in animal welfare and ethics

    McGreevy, P., Fawcett, A., Johnson, J., Collins, T., Freire, R., Degeling, C., Fisher, A., Hazel, S., Hood, J., Floyd, J., Phillips, C., Stafford, K., Hyde, M., Wilson, B. & Tzioumis, V., 03 Aug 2020, In : Animals. 10, 8, p. 1-14 14 p., 1341.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 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

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Press / Media

    Researcher proves Murray Cod have feelings

    Raf Freire


    3 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Wagga researcher proves fish have feelings

    Raf Freire


    3 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    New Charles Sturt research shows fish have feelings too

    Leia Rogers & Raf Freire


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Free-range egg label let down

    Rafael Freire


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media