Ally’s background is in social anthropology and primatology. Her postgraduate research focused on relationships between humans and orangutans, with a particular focus on ethical dilemmas faced by humans who work with the charismatic red ape. Ally’s Master of Arts thesis examined relationships between orangutans and keepers in a zoo in her hometown (Auckland, New Zealand), while her PhD at University College London explored debates about methods and ethics in orangutan rehabilitation and reintroduction: the process of returning traumatised orphans back to the wild.
Ally worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Dr Beth Greenhough and Dr Reuben Message on the Species and Spaces project at the School of Geography and Environment, Oxford, Ally's work looked at those animals used in research in POLES: Places Other than Licensed Establishments, considering how transposing animal research to POLES – such as farms, fisheries, conservation sites, zoos, and veterinary clinics – poses new questions and challenges for human-animal relationships. After AnNex, Ally went on to explore the social and ethical issues that could arise on the way towards Predator Free 2050 at the University of Aukland.