A new society has been launched which aims to bring together all those working in evidence-based animal production and research from livestock, to the equine industry, companion animals and even wildlife.
On Monday, the SA branch of the Australian Association of Animal Sciences was launched at the University of Adelaide's Roseworthy Campus.
Its SA president and University of Adelaide School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences emeritus professor Phil Hynd says it is an exciting step forward creating a network involving those working in genetics, nutrition, reproduction, conservation and behaviour, in all animal fields.
"An enormous part of the Australian economy is linked with animals from the livestock industry to the racing industry to wildlife parks, when you put all the stakeholders together it is a wealth of knowledge," he said.
"The problem we had was that each of these areas was only talking to each other and sharing ideas within their group."
A lunchtime webinar series has been held this week to celebrate the AAAS SA launch, with topics including animal behaviour around virtual fencing for sheep and cattle, alternatives to sheep shearing and using sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19 cases.
"People might ask what has COVID dogs got to do with animal agriculture, but they are sniffing volatile compounds so maybe we can measure the breath of production animals to monitor their health and welfare too," Prof Hynd said.
What the pig and poultry industries have had to deal with in terms of animal welfare, you can be sure it is coming to sheep and cattle
Prof Hynd said the initial focus of AAAS had been getting students to sign up, but he sees great value in livestock producers becoming members to receive cutting-edge research updates and keep abreast of where their industry was heading.
"What the pig and poultry industries have had to deal with in terms of animal welfare, you can be sure it is coming to sheep and cattle," he said.
Prof Hynd says the society will also be an important support network to students and early career researchers.
He sees great opportunities for animal science graduates into the future with the trend to consumers increasing their meat consumption as per capital incomes increase showing no sign of abating.
"There are easily 500 jobs on Seek today that have the word animal in their title and the jobs are so varied, even working for the Royal Society for the Blind alongside volunteers that train guide dogs on animal behaviour," he said.
University of Adelaide post-doctoral student Leesa Joy Flanagan sees AAAS as a valuable link with industry leaders and other researchers.
Her research is looking at giving amino acid supplements to twin-bearing ewes to see whether it will improve lamb survival.
"I became fascinated by the 'what ifs' and 'what could be' and want to work with producers to help them get the best of their production systems - research 100 per cent does that," she said.