A talk with…Colleen Fitzpatrick

Colleen Fitzpatrick is a PhD candidate at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research focus is on udder health in dairy cattle, particularly looking at the prevalence of coagulase-negative staphylococcus on Saskatchewan dairy herds. Her previous graduate research focused on pain mitigation in dairy cattle with cases of clinical mastitis.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the small town of Kemptville, which is located just south of Ottawa. During my undergraduate and master’s programs, I lived in Guelph, then moved to my current location, Saskatoon, to pursue my doctoral degree.

What motivates you in your research on animal well-being?

The main factor that motivates my research is simple: I want to help producers raise healthy and happy animals. It is no secret that a healthy and happy animal is also a productive one. By participating in research focusing on improving animal well-being, I can help to promote a good quality of life for production animals, while helping producers have the most profitable operation possible.

What made you decide to work on animal well-being?

Working with animals has always been a passion of mine. After enrolling in courses focusing on animal production at the University of Guelph, I knew that I wanted to incorporate animal well-being into my future work. I find it extremely rewarding to see how even small changes to management practices on-farm can significantly improve animal well-being, health and production. It is a fantastic challenge that can have great impacts on animal production.

In your opinion, what is the single most important well-being issue in current animal production?

When I think about major well-being issues, I do not look at them on a broad spectrum in terms of an entire animal production sector, but on an individual farm basis. It is important not to generalize issues, because each farm can be facing their own unique challenges, whether they are big or small.

What is your favorite animal? 

I love cows (particularly Ayrshires and Gloucesters) but my favourite animal would be the Lar Gibbon, because of their beautiful song and their amazing style of moving.

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