Western College of Veterinary Medicine

Research Area(s)

  • Animal behaviour and welfare (food animals)


After completing his degree in veterinary medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), Dr. Diego started his PhD degree program on feed additives and different management strategies as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters in order to optimize rumen fermentation and to reduce the incidence of digestive upsets.

Dr. Moya then moved to Canada where he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Beef Welfare and Behaviour Unit of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). He worked on the use of feeding behaviour pattern recognition techniques for early detection of morbidity, the development of novel methods to measure chronic stress in beef cattle, the assessment of the effects of age and handling on welfare of livestock undergoing routine management procedures, and the use of tri-axial accelerometers to measure animal behaviors related to pain and discomfort.

Most recently, as an Interdisciplinary Research Fellow in Animal Sciences at Aberystwyth University, Dr. Moya's research interest included the study of animal behaviour, physiology and metabolism to understand the interaction of ruminant animals with the immediate environment, as well as to explore the potential of the gut-microbiome-brain axis regulation in farm animal health, welfare and productivity.

Academic Credentials

  • DVM, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2005
  • MSc, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2008
  • PhD, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2011

Teaching and Clinical Areas

Study of animal behavior and welfare, with a focus on food animals in general, and beef cattle in particular, including:

  • explain the internal and external mechanisms that modulate animal behaviour
  • describe the main issues on animal welfare of food animals and animals used for scientific purposes
  • study the behavioural traits of domestic animals that are closely related to health and performance
  • explain the physiology and how to assess pain, discomfort and stress of food animals
  • discuss the ethical, legal and economic consequences of animal welfare


Dr. Moya's research focuses on the study of animal behaviour, physiology and metabolism to optimize the balance between animal welfare, health and productivity. The unifying thread is the use of animal behaviour as the main phenotypic trait to assess nutritional and management strategies, such as: 

  • the impact of novel foods/additives
  • the long-term effects of early-life cow-calf management
  • the use of precision farming technologies to measure and manage yield variability at the individual level