Food Futures Institute

Centre for Animal Production and Health

Centre Director: Professor Graham Gardner
Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia


About the centre

The Centre for Animal Production and Health works across the value chain to support the production of meat, milk and fibres for human consumption and use.

Research activities in the closely industry-linked Centre include livestock health, welfare, nutrition, reproductive efficiency and growth, meat science and consumer attitudes.


News from the centre


The centre’s core research areas

We aim for economically efficient, sustainable and ethical production of quality food and fibre. Producing this in an environmentally and socially responsible way is the ultimate goal of our research.



Animal Behaviour, Health and Welfare

We focus on improving pathogen detection, vaccine development and antimicrobial resistance among livestock, as well as the management of animals in export environments.

Our animal behaviour, health and welfare research also extends to nutrition for intensive and extensive production and the development of animal welfare assessment tools.


Food Safety and Public Health

In the food safety and public health space we investigate the management of zoonotic diseases, the microbial contamination of meat products and effective food storage practices.

This area of research also covers livestock and watershed management as they pertain to food safety and public health interests.

Picture of two baby lambs with endearing expressions

Production Animal Systems

Our research into the efficient, sustainable and ethical production of animals has a strong focus on reproductive and maternal efficiency, which includes improving reproductive outcomes in sheep and lambs.

Our research also investigates metabolic diseases in production animals, sustainable sheep parasite management and the effective and efficient use of limited resources in production systems.


Meat, Milk and Fibre Production

We focus on optimising meat quality and developing products to meet consumer preferences for taste, texture and nutrition.

The research team is at the cutting edge of certification programs with expertise that covers the main production animals – beef and dairy cattle, sheep for meat and wool, pigs, goats and chickens.


Key researchers

Professor Graham Gardner

Professor Gardner’s research is predominantly focused on the impact of selection for growth, leanness and muscling within the sheep and cattle industries.

Professor Gardner is also heavily involved in the development of measurement technologies for determining lean meat yield and eating quality. Most recently he developed an X-ray system for use in determining lamb carcase composition at abattoir chain-speed.

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Associate Professor Andrew Thompson

Dr Thompson’s research on sheep production systems has seen him managed many of the national research projects focused on improving lamb survival in Australia over the last 20 years.

His other research interests include reproduction in ewe lambs, developing more ‘easy-care’ sheep that require less labour, understanding the roles of feed intake and whole body energy reserves on potential stocking rate and sensor technologies.

Associate Professor Teresa Collins

Dr Collins is a veterinarian with advanced training in animal welfare, ethics and law, and extensive experience in applied livestock research.

Her research focus is on improving the health and welfare of domestic animals, including livestock, by learning about their behaviour and involving stakeholders to make continuous improvements in management.

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Professor David Pethick

Professor Pethick is one of the founders of animal production research at Murdoch University. He is an agricultural scientist specialising in biochemistry and livestock nutrition.

Professor David Pethick researches carbohydrate and fat metabolism in sheep, cattle and horses and studies the biochemistry of exercise. He also conducts consumer taste panels to discover the qualities needed for repeat purchase of meat products.

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