What does an Animal Scientist do?
Animal scientists typically do the following:
- Conduct research and experiments concerning animal nutrition
- Develop ways to improve the quantity and quality of farm animals
- Communicate research findings to the scientific community, food producers, and the public
Animal scientists play an important role in maintaining the nation’s food supply. Many work in basic or applied research and development. Basic research seeks to understand the biological and chemical processes by which livestock grow. Applied research uses this knowledge to discover ways to improve the quality, quantity, and safety of agricultural products.
Many animal scientists work with little supervision, forming their own hypotheses and developing research methods accordingly. In addition, they often lead teams of technicians or students who help in their research.
Animal scientists often conduct research on domestic farm animals. With a focus on food production, they explore animal genetics, nutrition, reproduction, diseases, growth, and development. They work to develop efficient ways to produce and process meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. Animal scientists may crossbreed animals to get new combinations of desirable characteristics. They advise farmers on how to upgrade housing for animals, lower animal death rates, handle waste matter, and increase production.
Animal scientists in private industry often work for food production companies, farms, and processing plants. They typically work to improve inspection standards or overall food quality. They often spend their time in a laboratory, where they do tests and experiments, or in the field, where they take samples or assess overall conditions. Other animal and food scientists work for pharmaceutical companies, where they use biotechnology processes to develop drugs or other medical products.
In the federal government, animal scientists conduct research on animal safety and methods of improving food production. They spend most of their time conducting clinical trials or developing experiments on animal subjects. They eventually present their findings in peer-reviewed journals or other publications.
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