Associate Professor
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Room 1B-408, 4/F, Block 1, To Yuen Building, 31 To Yuen Street, City University of Hong Kong
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Alan McElligott is an Associate Professor in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, City University of Hong Kong. He received his BSc from University College Cork, PhD from University College Dublin, and postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich. After serving as faculty member at the University of Nottingham, Queen Mary University of London and the University of Roehampton, he joined City University of Hong Kong in 2020.

Alan is a member of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) as a well as serving on ASAB’s Education Committee. He is also a member of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) and the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE). His research has been featured in many news reports across TV, radio, newspapers and other media. Recently his research has been the focus of two TV documentaries on farm livestock cognition and welfare: “SMART AS A GOAT” by ZED TV (France), and “INTO FARM ANIMALS’ MINDS” by ARTE TV (France/Germany).  He is as an editor for Frontiers in Veterinary Sciences, Animals and Animal Sentience.

My website:

Twitter: @amcell

  • How Livestock Perceive and Communicate with People
  • Expression and Perception of Animal Emotions
  • Use of Vocalisations in Precision Livestock Farming
  • Mother-Offspring relations in Livestock
  • Domestic Animal Welfare, e.g. dogs and cats
  • Public Attitudes to Animal Welfare and Sentience

Herborn K, McElligott AG, Mitchell M, Sandilands V, Bradshaw B, Asher L (2020) Spectral entropy of distress calls as an iceberg indicator for chicken welfare. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 17, 20200086.

Nawroth C, Martin ZH, McElligott AG (2020). Goats use human pointing gestures in an object-choice task. Frontiers in Psychology 11,915.

Baciadonna L, Briefer EF, McElligott AG (2020) Investigation of reward quality-related behaviour as a tool to assess emotions. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 225, 104968

Baciadonna L, Briefer EF, Favaro L, McElligott AG (2019) Goats distinguish between positive and negative emotion-linked vocalisations. Frontiers in Zoology 16, 25.

Mcloughlin M, Stewart R, McElligott AG (2019) Automated bioacoustics: methods in ecology and conservation and their potential for animal welfare mmonitoring. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 16, 20190225.

Nawroth C, Albuquerque N, Savalli C, Single M-S, McElligott AG (2018). Goats prefer positive human emotional facial expressions. Royal Society Open Science, 5, 180491.

Spence CE, Osman M, McElligott AG (2017) Theory of Animal Mind: Human Nature or Experimental Artefact? Trends in Cognitive Sciences 21, 333-343

Valentova JV, Otta E, da Silva M-L, McElligott AG (2017) Underrepresentation of Women in the Senior Levels of Brazilian Science. PEERJ 5, e4000

Nawroth C, Brett JM, McElligott AG (2016) Goats display audience-dependent human-directed gazing behaviour in a problem-solving task. Biology Letters 12, 20160283.

Padilla de la Torre M, Briefer EF, Reader T, McElligott AG (2015) Acoustic analysis of cattle (Bos taurus) mother-offspring contact calls from a source-filter theory perspective. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 163, 58-68.

Baciadonna L, McElligott AG (2015) The use of judgement bias to assess welfare in farm livestock. Animal Welfare 24, 81-91.

Briefer EF, Tettamanti F, McElligott AG (2015) Emotions in goats: mapping physiological, behavioural and vocal profiles. Animal Behaviour 99, 131-143.

Briefer EF, Haque S, Baciadonna L, McElligott AG (2014) Goats excel at learning and remembering a highly novel cognitive task. Frontiers in Zoology 11, 20.

Briefer EF, McElligott AG (2013) Rescued goats at a sanctuary display positive mood after former neglect. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 145, 45-55.

Briefer EF, Padilla de la Torre M, McElligott AG (2012) Mother goats do not forget their kids' calls. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 279, 3749-3755.

Dr. McElligott is currently looking for highly motivated and talented PhD students, research assistants, and postdoctoral fellows who are keen to pursue projects matching his research interests. Interested candidates, please contact Dr. McElligott ( with a cover letter and a brief two-page CV.