Veterinarian awarded for contributions to bovine welfare


Murdoch lecturer in Cattle Health and Medicine, Dr Josh Aleri has been recognised on the world stage for his ground-breaking research into improving the health and well-being of Australian dairy cows.

Dr Joshua Aleri flew to Sapporo, Japan to accept the Ruminant Well-being Research Award as part of the bi-annual World Buiatrics Association congress - the largest scientific gathering for cattle scientists and veterinarians.

The prestigious award acknowledges a recent PhD graduate who is working to significantly improve the industry’s ‘understanding of ruminant well-being’. Ruminant animals include cattle, sheep, deer, giraffes and their relatives.

Dr Aleri’s award-winning research involved developing and testing scientific methods to improve the health and welfare of dairy cattle during the calving period.

“The calving period, also termed the ‘transition period’, is quite stressful at most dairy farms because of the high incidence of both infectious and metabolic diseases, which affects farm profitability and animal health and welfare,” Dr Aleri said.

“We developed a technique for measuring an animal’s overall immune performance as a single measure, and then later assessing the associations between its immune status and other health and performance parameters, such as stress responsiveness; growth rates; resistance to internal parasites; and milk quality.”

The methods developed by Dr Aleri and colleagues from CSIRO and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources in Victoria were the first of their kind for Australia.

“More work needs to be done before we can implement this technology into breeding selection programs, for instance, looking at several other associations between immunity and health parameters,” Dr Aleri said.

“The culmination will be converting our field tests to a less tedious laboratory test using just a hair sample.”

Dr Aleri was just one of two recipients of awards in the ruminant animals field sponsored by the Animal Welfare Business Unit of global pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim alongside veterinarian Hans Coetzee of Kansas State University (pictured), and said he was humbled to receive the award in front of his peers.

“It also gave me the opportunity to meet with many brilliant cattle scientists and veterinarians from all over the world and share on matters of cattle health and welfare,” he said.

He has previously won the Gustav Rosenbenger Memorial award in 2014 and the Victorian Farmers Research Award in 2016 for being the best graduate research student in ruminant research.

Posted on:

20 Sep 2018


Health, Research, Science

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