More poultry, less science
There has been a considerable expansion in the global poultry industry over
the past few years but at the same time the number of active academic
departments of Poultry Science has dramatically declined. Is this because
we do not need to expand our research on poultry or train more people for the
There has been a considerable expansion in the global poultry industry
over the past few years but at the same time the number of active academic
departments of Poultry Science has dramatically declined.
These departments have been eliminated or merged into other sections such as
animal science. When this merge takes place, the poultry section usually makes
only a small portion of the newly formed department. An interesting point here
is that there is no or very low possibility to get a position as a new faculty
to do research on poultry because merged departments usually do not hire young
faculties as substitutes for retired ones. The bottom line is that there will be
an annual shrinkage in poultry research which may finally result in elimination
of poultry research in that department. The only answer that you usually expect
to hear from university administration is budget cutback and lack of funding.
At the same time, we can see that the poultry industry is expanding and per capita consumption of poultry meat
(and eggs to some extent) has an increasing trend all around the
world. This trend might be a good indicator that this industry is still
profitable and can support poultry education and research. Does this happen? If
you compare funding allocated to swine and bovine research with what have been
available to poultry, you can easily find a significant difference. Is this
because of that we do not need to expand our research on poultry or train more
people for the industry? Is reduced funding the main reason for the challenges
we have been facing in poultry education?
We all know that the poultry industry, in general, has become highly
automated and more management-based than any other time. Fewer people can now
run a farm compared to two decades ago. For example, one nutritionist can
formulate diets for a few farms which belong to a company and the same rule may
apply to veterinary supports for that company. This means that there is lesser need for professional people in the
field as integration of companies is continuing and therefore less
job opportunities would be available. Why should we have several poultry science
departments to create more professional people without jobs
? Is this the only reason for
what we see as a marked decline in poultry science departments?
There is no doubt that our capabilities and skills
should improve in accordance with the time period that we live in. This is the
basic rule of life. Regarding poultry industry, these skills should be
exceedingly high if we want to stay in this very competitive business. The
question is that "Do the academic centers meet evolving requirements of the
industry?" Should poultry science graduates have more skills to be able to cope
with challenges of today's modern poultry industry? If so, are current
educational outlines/curriculums in the poultry science departments adequate to
train students (undergraduate and graduate) in order to make them critical
thinkers and capable individuals as they are coming into contact with the real
world? Communication and business skills must also be considered, as technical
ability in poultry science is not enough to perform a good job in the industry.
Is educational incompetence a factor for the industry to not strongly support
poultry science education/research? What do you think? What factors have really
caused educational challenges in Poultry Science?
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