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ISES 13th Equitation Science conference – ISES 2017 Down Under

Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia

Peta Lee Hitchens PhD

BAppSci, MVPHMgt, PhD

Dr Peta Hitchens is a Research Fellow in Equine Veterinary Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne. She combines expertise in epidemiological research of equine and human health, safety and welfare, with experience working in the racing industry in regulation and operations management.

In 2016, Peta joined the University of Melbourne’s Equine Orthopaedic Research Group, a multidisciplinary team that aims to determine the causes of musculoskeletal injuries in horses by developing mathematical and epidemiological models of bone biology processes. Their primary goal is to work alongside the racing industry to develop evidence-based strategies that reduce the occurrence of such injuries.

Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, she held positions at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the University of California, Davis and in the Tasmanian racing industry. Peta’s research at UC Davis showed that catastrophic musculoskeletal injury to the horse was the leading cause of substantive jockey injury, demonstrating clearly that detrimental animal welfare can also directly impact humans. She also conducted the first large-scale epidemiological analysis of routinely collected data on animal welfare inspections for the Swedish Department of Agriculture, with a focus on poor welfare of animals used in sports and entertainment.

It is Peta’s cross-faceted experience working between industry, government and academia that has driven her viewpoint on the importance of collaboration in order to ensure that evidence-based strategies are employed to benefit the health, safety and welfare of horses and their riders alike.