Ashleigh Brown, Global Animal Welfare Advisor

Ashleigh has been at Brooke since 2009, and is responsible for offering technical, scientific and ethical guidance to ensure that Brooke and partners adhere to the highest standards of animal welfare, mitigate any potential welfare risks in project activities, and are supported to comply with the animal welfare policy.

Ashleigh Brown with a donkey

Ashleigh also provides animal welfare expertise to support various Brooke project activities (such as harnessing, farriery, welfare assessment), promotes learning opportunities for UK and international staff, and delivers training in animal welfare, behaviour, handling and welfare assessment to colleagues in all of our country programmes. She is also deputy chair of our Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body, coordinates the educational guest lecture series, and is a representative on the Staff Consultation Group.

    Expertise
    Ashleigh Brown and a horse

    Qualifications

    • Master of Science (distinction) in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare
    • Postgraduate Certificate in Development Management
    • Postgraduate Certificate in Conflict and Development
    • Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Lifelong Learning Sector
    • Bachelor of Science (hons) in Equine Science
    • Certificate of Educational Studies in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
       
    • Member of:
      • International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE)
      • Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW)
      • Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)
      • International Society for Equitation Science (ISES)

    Publications and presentations

    • Brown, A.F. & Muckle, P. (2020). Identifying learning needs for working equine harness improvement. Oral presentation at 29th International Society for Anthrozoology conference (virtual).
    • Sommerville, R., Brown, A.F., Upjohn, M. (2018). A standardised equine-based welfare assessment tool used for six years in low and middle income countries. PLoS ONE. Available here.
    • Brown, A.F. (2017). Assessing sustainability of welfare improvement in working equids in Petra, Jordan. Poster presentation at 7th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    • Brown, A. (2014). Development of measures of human-animal interaction for working equids.  Poster presentation at 6th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level, Clermont-Ferrand, France.
    • Brown, A. (2014). The Brooke: Working hard to help working equines. Sidelines magazine. Available here.

    • Brown, A.F. & Twaissi, A. (2012). Improving utility of animal-based measures of welfare through amendment to audit protocol. Poster presentation at 5th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level, Guelph, Canada.

    • Brown, A. (2008). Effect of environmental enrichment in the form of a foraging device ('Edinburgh Foodball') on expression of abnormal repetitive behaviour (ARB) in the captive sloth bear (Melursus ursinus)’. Oral presentation at Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) Vacation Scholarship meeting, Chester, UK.

    Hobbies

    Outside of Brooke, I'm involved in curating speakers and delivering events as a member of the TEDxLondon core leadership team. I also have interests in supporting human healthcare standards through my role as a lay advisor for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, where I'm lay representative on the Global Surgery Foundation, International Committee and Research Committee, as well as for the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and as an NHS Patient Safety Partner.

    I sit on the board of trustees for two animal charities focused on wildlife protection and conversation, and am a mentor in several career and academic mentoring programmes supporting young people and students.

    Ashleigh assessing a gharry horse with a vet in Ethiopia

    Ashleigh assesses the welfare of a gharry horse in Halaba, Ethiopia, alongside a veterinary colleague. In addition to providing valuable welfare data to inform Brooke’s activities, these activities also raise awareness of the importance of equine welfare and compassionate handling amongst community members and onlookers who gather to observe.

    Most memorable work moment

    The animals are the most memorable part of my work. I must have seen literally thousands of working equids over the years, but there are lots of individual animals I can still remember – what they looked like, their personalities and, sadly, often their suffering. 

    I will also never forget meeting one of my childhood heroes, the American horse trainer Monty Roberts who was so important in encouraging non-violent equine training methods around the world. I had the privilege of accompanying him on a visit to learn more about Brooke’s work in India, after which he became an ambassador for the charity.

    Additionally, I’ve made lasting friendships and connections with people all over the world whom I’ll never forget — and some of the more bizarre journeys in remote parts of the world have also been very memorable for different reasons!

    Ashleigh examining an equid in Senegal

    Ashleigh examined hundreds of animals in the deserts of the Ferlo in northern Senegal to understand their welfare needs and support the team in Brooke West Africa to design suitable projects.

    Best part of your job

    The best part is knowing that my work is meaningful and contributes to creating real improvements for working animals and the people who depend upon them.

    The best part is knowing that my work is meaningful and contributes to creating real improvements for working animals and the people who depend upon them around the world. It’s inspiring to play a part in creating improvements that will be beneficial in the future as well as the present, whether that’s through training and supporting international colleagues who go on to become equine welfare experts and catalysts for change in their own countries and regions, influencing owner behaviour and practices towards their animals for the better, or generating policy change in favour of animal welfare. All of these are outcomes that can be transferred to future generations, and will benefit animals and people for years to come.

    Ashleigh scoping the welfare needs of a horse in Nicaragua

    Working in conjunction with a colleague from Brooke’s Guatemalan partner, ESAP, Ashleigh conducted detailed scoping of welfare needs and the working equine context in the barrios of Managua, Nicaragua, to inform Brooke’s expansion in Central America.

    How did you get your job?

    I’m still as proud to be working with Brooke now as I was on my first day more than a decade ago.

    I had known about Brooke since falling in love with horses as a child and raising a wee bit of money to donate. As an adult, I knew I wanted to work in a job that enabled me to help animals, and had also spent several years working and travelling around the world, both of which were very relevant to the work I do now. I’d even been lucky enough to spend time with one of Brooke’s mobile veterinary units in Delhi when I was based in India doing behavioural research with rescued sloth bears. After completing my MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare, I was working with elephants in northern Thailand when I heard about the vacancy at Brooke via my MSc course director and knew it was my ideal job! I interviewed by phone from the mountains of Mae Hong Son, then relocated to the UK the week before starting at the London office. I’m still as proud to be working with Brooke now as I was on my first day more than a decade ago.