March 17, 2022 (Calgary, AB) – Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) is announcing Dr. Brenda Ralston, a livestock research scientist at Lakeland College in Vermilion, AB, as the recipient of the 2022 Award of Distinction. The annual Award of Distinction recognizes one individual or group who has made exceptional contributions to the field of livestock welfare, through either leadership, innovation or communication.
“Dr. Ralston’s dedication to Alberta’s livestock industry is inspiring,” said Nick Allan, president of Chinook Contract Research Inc. “Through her extensive and impressive research career, she has shown a personal and professional commitment to welfare and antimicrobial stewardship initiatives in the animal food production industry.”
Dr. Ralston began her 35-year career with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development as a district agriculturist, moving to the role of beef specialist in 1994. During this time, she received her B.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Alberta, M.Sc. in Veterinary Parasitology from the University of Calgary and a Ph.D. in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences from Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. She is also a cattle producer and works with her family on their century farm, Twin Lakes Ranch.
Aside from her nomination from Lakeland College, AFAC received a number of other glowing recommendations from industry groups and fellow veterinarians. This is a testament to Dr. Ralston’s commitment to applied research and to her collaboration with private industry, producer groups, universities, government and most importantly the producers themselves. “Dr. Ralston’s research results in products producers can use to improve animal care practices. We can’t think of a more worthy candidate,” said Annemarie Pedersen, AFAC executive director.
Over her career, Dr. Ralston has supported and conducted multi-disciplinary livestock research for the poultry, dairy, lamb, horse and pork industries in the areas of pain control and pathogen mitigation. Most notably, she has helped bring livestock pharmaceuticals that address animal welfare issues related to management procedures to market, including:
- The Care-Ring anesthetic elastrator band to reduce the pain of castration.
- Oral Meloxicam for the beef, dairy and equine industries.
- An anti-bloat agent used to reduce animal discomfort when grazing alfalfa and enhance gains.
- Practical solutions to address antimicrobial resistance at the farm level for targeted selection of antibiotic groups for better animal outcomes and enhanced antibiotic stewardship.
One of her colleagues and nominators said it best. “As a result of her contributions, the way we think of pain in cattle has changed and now pain mitigation is common practice on farms and ranches across the province and the country,” said Dr. Denis Nagel.
For more information about the Award of Distinction, visit our website