Research Facilities and Resources

R. Howard Webster Centre

As a Department that is primarily concerned with the biology of livestock animal production, there is a high degree of interaction with the animal-production units of the Macdonald Campus Farm.  These units involve the Dairy Cattle Complex, the Swine Complex, and the Donald McQueen Shaver Poultry Complex.  All three units are used heavily for undergraduate teaching, ranging from visits and overviews in the introductory courses to hands-on laboratories in the advanced animal-production courses.  Interaction with Farm staff and veterinarians provide an excellent complementary component to classroom teaching.

In addition, much of the research in the department (staff and graduate students) has a component that exploits the proximity, and excellent facilities that are available for experimental work.

Lactanet – Canadian Dairy Production Centre of Expertise

Lactanet, the Dairy Production Centre of Expertise for Canada, improves the profitability and the sustainability of dairy farms by sensitizing producers to the multiple aspects of techno-economic performance of their herd and its management.  Founded as a simple on-Campus laboratory-analysis service by Professor John E. Moxley (1922 – 2014), this organization has grown to epic proportions, holding the National milk-recording database for all enrolled dairy animals in Canada, and providing on-farm management services and tools for dairy producers for all provinces.

Situated on Macdonald Campus, this organization has strong ties to the university, particularly the Department of Animal Science.  Our undergraduates visit the facility and milk laboratory (one of the largest in North America), and our Researchers and Graduate Students have developed a collaborative relationship of data sharing leading to tools that can be invested back into the dairy industry.

Each year, the Dr. John E Moxley/Valacta Scholarship is awarded, on the recommendation of the Department of Animal Science, to an undergraduate student who has completed at least one year in the B.Sc. (AgEnvSc) program and has “a strong interest in dairy-cattle production.”

Dairy Information Systems Group

The Dairy Information Systems Group consists of researchers working towards the advancement of information technology in dairy management systems. Studies range from the theoretical examination of knowledge systems to the analysis of mega data sets and the development of software prototypes for on-farm decision support.  The Group is part of the Department of Animal Science with strong connections to Lactanet – an organization having monthly contact with over 75% of Québec's dairy farmers (as well as being the major data-processing centre for Canada's dairy industry).  Lactanet continues to be a leading source of data and expertise in our development of new software and they, in turn, have the opportunity to use many of the resulting programs tools and research findings in the field.

Earle W. Crampton Nutrition Lab

The Crampton Nutrition Lab was founded in honour of Earle W. Crampton (1895 – 1983), a Professor in the then Department of Nutrition whose contributions to the field are universally recognized as ground-breaking.  Today’s Nutrition Lab (under the direction of the Department of Animal Science) continues this proud tradition in the training of nutritionists at the graduate level, many of whom have gone on to become Industry and Academic leaders in their own right.

The Earle W. Crampton Award is given annually in recognition of Distinguished Service in fields dealing with Nutrition and Food.  The recipient delivers the Annual Crampton Award Lecture on the Macdonald Campus.

Large Animal Research Unit

The Large Animal Research Unit (LARU) is an invaluable facility for large-animal surgery and experiments, especially in the area of biotechnology. Its Building Director (Bordignon) is a member of the Department of Animal Science. Following extensive recent innovations, this facility has been a powerful resource not only for members of our department, but also for other animal researchers across both Campuses of the university. The ensuing research has been central to much collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine and other research units at McGill and other universities.  It was here that the first transgenic goats were produced (1999) and the first cloned pigs were developed for biomedical purposes in 2007.

Small Animal Research Unit

The small animal research unit (SARU), with a housing system for rodent animal models, guinea pigs, neonatal pigs and rabbits, is a Faculty facility that provides resources for small-animal models that are used for the understanding of basic scientific issues and/or as preliminary models for large-animal/human research studies.

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