Animal scientists conduct research. They try to develop better animal products and healthier animals.
Most people know about Dolly the sheep. She was the first cloned mammal, born in 1996 in Scotland. She was an exact genetic copy of a mature adult ewe and born to a surrogate "mother." In her life, she became pregnant and birthed several times the natural way. However, Dolly died young by sheep standards. From the moment she was born, her existence sparked a debate about bioethics that continues to this day.
Animal scientists study animals. Most of their work concerns livestock, such as pigs, cows, and chickens. However, some of it relates to domestic animals, such as cats and dogs. For example, animal scientists study animals' diets. They try to find the best mix of foods to raise healthy animals. They also try to determine the nutritional needs of animals. Some animals need more vitamins, minerals, or protein than others. This affects the type of food they need. Animal scientists may develop special foods for animals, or just suggest what animals should be fed. Animal scientists also study topics such as breeding, genetics, animal production and management, and environmental conditions. Their goal is to raise healthy animals. They may also try to introduce new characteristics into animals. For example, they may breed chickens who lay more eggs. Animal scientists also try to reduce the cost of raising animals and processing animal products.
Animal scientists often advise animal producers about their practices. They study their management decisions, including how animals are fed, housed, and processed, to see how these practices affect things such as eggs and milk. They recommend ways to improve disease control in animals and the quality of animal products.
Regardless of the topic they study, animal scientists have many tasks in common. They read articles and attend conferences to learn more about their research area. They determine research questions and design experiments to study those questions. Depending on the type of animal they study, scientists conduct experiments in a lab or at a farm. They may work with the animals themselves, or have research assistants do much of the work for them. If they have assistants, scientists train them to conduct the research and keep records.