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Agricultural News

OSU Livestock Well-Being Specialist Introduces Herself and Her Research to Pork Producers

Mon, 18 Mar 2013 16:43:31 CDT

OSU Livestock Well-Being Specialist Introduces Herself and Her Research to Pork Producers
A recent addition to the faculty is Dr. Michelle Calvo-Lorenzo. She is a Livestock Well-Being and Environmental Specialist in the Department of Animal Science.

She recently spoke at the Pork Congress in Midwest City to introduce herself and some of the avenues of research she hopes to pursue at OSU. She spoke in more detail with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays. She said she was very excited to be named to the position at OSU.

"This is a position that is going to allow for me to achieve my personal goals. In not coming from a farm background and getting involved in food production as a scientist has been so much fun. It's been wonderful, so eye-opening, an appreciation for farmers and what they do to produce food and see all the challenges that they are dealing with every day. So, by taking this position, I feel like I can give back to them and I can, essentially, provide that data that helps them defend their practices or help them improve those practices. As a scientist my role is to remain as unbiased as possible so that everything we evaluated is fully evaluated in an unbiased fashion. And, so, to be able to do that for farmers and to teach students about how we do that and why we do that and to teach them to communicate that to everyday consumers or to their friends or their families is tremendous."

She says there are a number of areas that she is interested in, and she thinks there are several ways she can assist Oklahoma producers very quickly.

"I'm really hoping to work with the swine and beef industries-two huge industries here in Oklahoma. With respect to the swine industry, I really want to do some transportation work and look at improving some of the comfort and thermal comfort with some of these early-weaned pigs when they're transported in and out of the state- I'm looking at ways to improve those ambient conditions especially when they're transported during extremely cold and extremely hot temperatures like we've seen recently in the summers and winters."

She says another of her desires is to tackle the area of pain alleviation in livestock.

"I'm very passionate about looking at new methods and testing new methods that, of course, are feasible and cost-effective for producers to incorporate into their operations so they can, in fact, say 'We do produce or we do use surgical procedures in a pain-free fashion.' A lot of consumers are starting to think about how their dogs and cats are being neutered and they spend hundreds of dollars putting them under anesthesia, so when they hear about a piglet that's castrated or a dairy calf that's dehorned and understand there's no pain alleviation associated, sometimes, with that due to costs and lots of things, that's very hard for them to wrap their heads around. And so I really want to help them find some tools to help them overcome this issue because these procedures are necessary to manage these animals effectively, reduce any safety risks and so forth. And, so, we need to find ways we can alleviate the pain with those procedures."

In her work so far, she said she is convinced producers are doing and wanting to do the right thing. And her research is intended to help. "We want to do it because it's right," she said.

She said she's very excited about the sustainability issue said that it is a process it is not a destination. There will always be room for more improvements.   

Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear Ron Hays's full interview with Dr. Calvo-Lorenzo.


Ron Hays talks to Michelle Calvo-Lorenzo about her work in livestock well-being.
right-click to download mp3


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