In September, I gave an invited presentation, “Animal welfare: Current trends for dairy cattle and relevance to the AI sector” for the 27th National Association of Animal Breeders Technical Conference. I talked about how scientists study animal welfare, some of the major animal welfare priorities for today’s dairy industry, and what the AI sector can consider to optimize cattle welfare – both within AI facilities and for the wider population of dairy cattle through breeding advances.
In terms of the latter, an example I discussed was the use of polled genetics to breed naturally hornless cattle, which would reduce the need for the painful procedure of disbudding/dehorning. Maci Mueller, a PhD student at UC-Davis, presented a poster on her research at the technical aspects of this concept: what happens when using conventional selection vs. gene editing to breed for polled cattle?
World Dairy Expo
October kicked off with my first visit to World Dairy Expo here in Madison. It’s a huge cattle show and trade show. I had some great conversations with potential research partners, but with the overwhelming amount of exhibitors, I barely got to dip my toes into all the great things to see… Can’t wait for next year!