PROGRAMS FOR YOUR GRADUATE CAREER
Livestock Behavior & Welfare
A major emphasis has been on assessing the effects of animal behavior on both weight gain and meat quality in cattle and pigs. My research group conducted some of the original work that linked calm temperament to weight gain. Pigs that became agitated shortly before slaughter have higher lactate, which contributes to poorer meat quality. Another important area was development of the objective scoring system that has become the basis of the North American Meat Institute Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide, and work on determining the factors that are essential to improve both captive bolt and electrical stunning. Other projects found that there were individual differences in calf defense behavior in beef cows and both good management and proper bedding materials in dairy free stalls reduced hock lesions. The most recent projects are a survey on leg conformation problems in feedlot cattle and another survey of 28 feedlots showed that handling practices have improved. Students in my program take an active part in choosing and designing their research projects.
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