What is animal science?

Some animal scientists work with sheep!Animal science is the study of animals that live alongside humans. Around the world, humans rely on animals for food, fiber, labor and companionship. Animal scientists help us understand and manage these animals.

What do animal scientists do?

Animal scientists work with farm animals, wildlife, laboratory animals, pets and zoo animals. They study these animals to help keep them healthy and productive.

  • Animal scientists help put food on our tables. Animal scientists work with farmers to improve animal breeding, growth and nutrition. When animals grow well and stay healthy, farmers can produce more meat, milk or eggs for our consumption. Animal scientists also work with farmers to decrease the environmental impact of animal agriculture.

  • Animal scientists study animal products after harvest. They check meat quality or screen milk for pathogens. Advances in food safety increase the world’s supply of nutritious food.

  • Animal scientists also keep us clothed. In cold climates, people rely on wool to stay warm. Animal scientists work to keep animals like sheep and alpacas healthy.

  • Animal scientists study animals to ensure safe and effective use for labor and recreation.

  • Animal scientists protect human health. It is important for scientists to study how diseases spread between humans and animals. Animal scientists can also use animals as models for humans. Studying fetal development in sheep, for example, can help us understand fetal development in humans.

  • Animal scientists also keep our pets healthy. They tackle issues like pet obesity and breeding. And zoos rely on animal scientists to establish breeding programs, nutrition programs and help preserve exotic wildlife.

Learn about the different fields of animal science

Hot topics in animal science

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Biotechnology


With genetic engineering, scientists can raise animals that glow green under special lights. Sure, these animals look funny, but they actually serve to help scientists learn more about cells in the body. By tracking glowing cells, scientists hope to learn more about how the body heals.

Careers

Learn about the life of a vet at a horse-breeding farm in Malaysia. It’s not always a glamorous job, but this vet plays an important role in keeping horses healthy.

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