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Transferring results of behavioral research to industry to improve animal welfare on the farm, ranch and the slaughter plant. (International Society for Applied Ethology Special Issue)

By T. Grandin

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Abstract

Knowledge obtained from research has been effectively transferred to the agricultural industry in some areas and poorly transferred in others. Knowledge that has been used to create a product such as a pharmaceutical or a device is more likely to be adopted by industry than a behavioral management technique. During my career, I have observed that some people will purchase a new cattle-handling system, which is designed with animal behavioral principles, but they will continue to handle cattle roughly. People are more willing to purchase new equipment than they are to use easy-to-learn, low-stress handling techniques. Even when financial benefits are clear, some people find it difficult to believe that a behavioral management method really works. From my experience, I have learned that successful transfer of knowledge and technology to industry often requires more work than doing the research. For an effective transfer of technology to take place, the method or equipment must be used successfully by the people who initially adopt it. If the new piece of equipment fails on the first or second place that attempts to adopt it, transfer to the industry may fail. In this paper, I describe a successful case study of transfer of a conveyor restrainer system, based on behavioral principles, from the research lab to US and Canadian beef slaughter plants. I also describe the successful implementation of a measurement system for auditing animal handling in slaughter plants. Based on my experience, the following steps for successful transfer of behavior research to the industry are: (1) Communicate your results outside the research community. Write articles in popular and industry magazines. Speak at producer meetings and develop websites that can be used to transfer research results into practice. (2) Choose places (e.g. farms or plants) that have managers who believe in your research, and be prepared to spend a lot of time with the first place that uses your findings. (3) Closely supervise other early adopters to prevent mistakes which could cause the method or technology to fail. (4) Do not allow your technology to get tied up in patent disputes.

Date 2003
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 81
Issue 3
Pages 215-228
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(02)00282-4
Language English
Author Address Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1171, USA. cmiller@ceres.agsci.colostate.edu
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal slaughter
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Cattle
  7. Extension
  8. Mammals
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. Pigs
  11. Ranches
  12. Research
  13. restraint of animals
  14. Ruminants
  15. slaughter
  16. slaughterhouses
  17. Studies
  18. Swine
  19. technology
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  1. peer-reviewed