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Press Releases from American Society of Animal Science (13 total)

Producers breed better cows faster through genomic selection

Here’s the thing about bulls: they do not make milk. So when producers want to breed cows with better milk yield, it’s tricky to pick the right bulls for dads. Many breeders use a method called “progeny testing,” where a bull’s daughters are tested for milk production once they mature. But progeny testing takes money and time that many producers don’t have. Today, as DNA sequencing becomes more affordable, many producers

Animal Scientists Respond to Yahoo’s “College Majors That Are Useless”

Official statement from the American Society of Animal Science Board of Directors. For immediate release – Jan. 20, 2012 Animal Scientists Respond to Yahoo’s “College Majors That Are Useless” Students in animal science programs learn skills that are vital in food production and animal and human health. Enrollment in animal science majors is increasing, and job opportunities for animal science majors continue to expand. “I couldn’t disagree more with the recent comments

Amid concerns over FDA announcement, animal scientists emphasize importance of a …

Jan. 2, 2012—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that it would close hearings on the potential risks of “subtherapeutic” antibiotic use in food animals. This announcement means the FDA will no longer regulate the use of the antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline in feeds for livestock. Though some object to the policy change, FDA announcement actually comes at the recommendation of leading animal scientists. In the U.S., many

To save babies from suffocation, scientists study sheep births

In human babies, a lack of oxygen during birth can have tragic consequences. This suffocation, called fetal asphyxia, can cause severe brain damage and stillbirth. To better understand the causes of fetal asphyxia, a team of Uruguayan scientists recently conducted a study of sheep, an animal that closely resembles humans during birth. Like in humans, the availability of oxygen to lambs depends on oxygen transfer from the mother’s blood supply

Pea chips may be a good alternative to corn and soybean meal in swine diets

Producers who add pea chips to swine diets may be able to save money on feed without sacrificing pig growth or performance, according to researchers from North Dakota State University and the University of Illinois. In a paper published this October in the Journal of Animal Science, the researchers analyzed how diets with varying amounts of pea chips affected growth and meat traits in a group of young female pigs.

Listeria outbreak: Food safety researchers available for comment

CHAMPAIGN, IL—With 25 people dead from listeria contamination of cantalopes, officials are looking at cattle operations as a possible source of the bacteria. A FDA report released Oct. 19 noted that a truck used to haul cantaloupes to a cattle operation was parked adjacent to the cantaloupe packing facility and could have introduced listeria to the facility. Other possible factors in the outbreak are inadequate cleaning of the cantaloupe packing

In Australia, beef producers work to improve global market

By Madeline McCurry-Schmidt After Brazil, Australia is the largest beef exporter in the world. In 2009, Australian beef exports accounted for 19 percent of global cattle trade. In a recent paper for the review magazine Animal Frontiers, Australian beef expert Dr. Alan Bell explained how the Australian beef industry differs from beef production around the world. According to Bell, the Australian beef industry is different in how it deals with

Genetically-engineered animals could help human farmers

For the FDA, one fish is causing big problems. The AquAdvantage (AA) Salmon, a genetically-engineered (GE) salmon, famous for growing twice as fast as conventional salmon, has been under FDA review for 15 years. As the first GE animal created for human consumption, the AA Salmon has been subject to safety, environmental and ethics arguments. Just this July, eight senators presented a letter to the FDA urging the agency to

Changes in discharge permitting may help CAFO owners

For many CAFO owners, securing a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is expensive, inconvenient, and confusing. Owners of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) face complicated permitting systems that are inconsistent between states. But, according to a paper published in August by the Journal of Animal Science, giving permitting authority from environmental agencies to state agricultural departments could make the permitting process simpler. In their paper, University of Georgia researchers

Shade crucial for beef cattle performance

For cattle producers plagued with summer heat waves, researchers from the University of Queensland and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have good news. According to a recent study of Angus heifers, cattle with access to shade during summer heat may be 25 percent more profitable than cattle without shade. Providing cattle with just 2 m2 of shade showed significant improvements. The study was published in the September issue of the Journal

Sheep flock to new flavors

Sheep given a variety of feed flavors will stop gorging and start eating more small meals over the course of the day. These findings, published August in the Journal of Animal Science, could help livestock producers maximize feed intake and nutrient efficiency at the same time. Juan J. Villalba, study co-author and associate professor in foraging behavior at Utah State University, said that current sheep feeding practices usually provide animals will

Tips for responsible agriculture

According to a 2008 study, the entire process of raising an animal from birth to dinner table is responsible for 14 percent of total global warming in the European Union. While farmers work to “go green,” Dr. John Hermansen of Aarhus University (Denmark) has found that there are several steps livestock producers can take to reduce their carbon footprints even further. Hermansen’s paper, co-authored by Aarhus University scientist Dr. Troels Kristensen,

New ASAS president says scientists should be “aggressive” about public outre …

A new plan for ASAS Dr. Margaret Benson, the recently sworn-in president of the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS), admits that traveling is “fun perk” of her job. She traveled to Mexico this spring and is planning trips to Norway and Argentina. Benson’s got quite the colorful passport. But no matter where she travels for ASAS, Benson has an