Dr. Sara Hintze

My enthusiasm for applied ethology and animal welfare science emerged with my first lectures on these topics as a vet student at the University of Giessen, Germany. Aiming to gain some insight into the day-to-day work of an animal welfare scientist, I got involved in projects on abnormal repetitive behaviour in mice and dogs in the Division of Animal Welfare and Ethology in Giessen. My interest in the underlying mechanisms and the effects of abnormal repetitive behaviour on animal welfare started to develop, and the experience I made during this time further strengthened my wish to become an animal welfare scientist.

After graduating from vet school, I gained some field experience in ethology at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station in Grünau, Austria, investigating the influence of intestinal parasites on the behaviour of hand-raised greylag goslings. Subsequently, I participated in the masters programme ‘Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare’ at the University of Edinburgh, UK, which I completed with a thesis on the causes and consequences of mounting behaviour in finishing pigs supervised by Rick D’Eath.

Following the masters programme, I did my PhD on emotions in horses in the Division of Animal Welfare at the University of Bern, Switzerland, under the supervision of Hanno Würbel. During my PhD, I used both cognitive (Judgement Bias Task) and behavioural measures (facial expressions, Qualitative Behaviour Assessment) aiming to identify indicators of emotional valence in horses. Besides my work with the horses, I learned more about lab rodent behaviour and welfare, being involved in a project on positive facial expressions in rats and the refinement of the judgement bias task for mice and rats. Moreover, I started to become very interested in the refinement and the scientific validity of animal experiments.

Here at BOKU I have continued my research on refining and validating the Judgement Bias Task in different species (calves, pigs, marmosets) and on establishing behavioural indicators to assess emotions across species. Moreover, I have started projects on inactivity, restlessness and boredom-like states in pigs and cattle. I give lectures and seminars on farm animal ethology, applied physiology and different aspects of animal welfare and I co-supervise BSc, MSc and PhD students.

Journal articles

Adriaense JEC, Šlipogor V, Hintze S, Marshall L, Lamm C, Bugnyar T 2021. Watching others in a positive state does not induce optimism bias in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), but leads to behaviour indicative of competition. Animal Cognition. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-021-01497-1. Manuscript

Hintze S, Maulbetsch F, Asher L, Winckler C 2020. Doing nothing and what it looks like: inactivity in fattening cattle. PeerJ 8:e9395. Manuscript

Rault J.-L, Hintze S, Camerlink I, Yee J 2020. Positive welfare and the like: Distinct views and a proposed framework. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 7:370. Manuscript

Bučková K, Špinka, M, Hintze S 2019. Pair housing makes calves more optimitic. Scientific Reports, 9:20246. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-56798-w. Manuscript

Schanz L, Krueger K, Hintze S 2019. Sex and age don't matter, but breed type does - Factors influencing eye wrinkle expression in horses. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 6:154. Manuscript

Richter SH, Hintze S 2019. From the individual to the population - and back again? Emphasising the role of the individual in animal welfare science. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 212, 1-8. Abstract

Bailoo JD, Murphy E, Boada-Saña M, Varholick JA, Hintze S, Baussier C, Hahn KC, Göpfert C, Palme R, Voelkl B & Würbel H. Effects of cage enrichment on behavior, welfare and outcome variability in female laboratory mice. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12:232. DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00232. Manuscript

Hintze S, Melotti L, Colosio S, Bailoo JD, Boada-Sana M, Würbel H, Murphy E 2018. A cross-species judgement bias task: integrating active trial initiation into a spatial Go/No-go task. Scientific Reports, 8:5104. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-23459-3. Manuscript

Hintze S, Murphy E, Bachmann I, Wemelsfelder F, Würbel H 2017. Qualitative Behaviour Assessment of horses exposed to short-term emotional treatments. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 196, 44-51. Abstract

Hintze S, Roth E, Bachmann I, Würbel H 2017. Towards a choice-based judgement bias task for horses. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2016.1276834. Abstract

Hintze S, Smith S, Patt A, Bachmann I, Würbel H 2016. Are eyes a mirror of the soul? What eye wrinkles reveal about a horse’s emotional state. PLoS ONE 11(10):e0164017. Manuscript

Finlayson K, Lampe JF, Hintze S, Würbel H, Melotti L 2016. Facial indicators of positive emotions in rats. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0166446. Manuscript

Bailoo J, Varholick J, Garza X, Jordon R, Hintze S 2016. Maternal separation followed by isolation-housing differentially affects prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response in C57BL/6 mice. Developmental Psychobiology, 9999, 1-8. Abstract

Hintze S, Scott D, Turner S, Meddle SL, D´Eath RB 2013. Mounting behaviour in finishing pigs: Stable individual differences are not due to dominance or stage of sexual development. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 147, 69-80. Abstract

Kaulfuss P, Hintze S, Würbel H 2009. Effects of tryptophan as dietary supplement on dogs with
abnormal-repetitive behaviors. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research,
4, 97. Abstract