Summer 2021

Cover Story Sidebar - Online Extra

ca. 1960-ca. 1975 Bernie Haas, circa 1960-1975, teaching a course in meat and animal science, stands in a laboratory in front of hanging cattle carcasses. Photo by Gary Schulz, courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives


Wisconsin has a Grade A past when it comes to the meat industry. It’s the birthplace of several iconic brands that made sausage and “b-o-l-o-g-n-a” famous. Even the state’s professional sports teams echo this tradition, from the Green and Gold Titletown team that immortalizes the state’s meat packers to the sixth-inning sprints of the Brewers’ Famous Racing Sausages. This timeline shows how UW’s meat-related research, instruction, and outreach programs have changed throughout history.

      • The UW campus built its first abattoir in 1930. The facility allowed pioneering researchers, including Gustav Bohstedt PhD’25, to collect samples, analyze the composition of carcasses, and improve the quality of meat.
      • In 1938, the first meat science course, Meat Production and Carcass Value, was offered by John Fargo BS’1919, a professor of swine production. The course was held in the Animal Research Laboratory, which became known as the Meat Lab.
      • In 1962, the Department of Animal Husbandry became the Department of Meat and Animal Science (the same year that the poultry and dairy departments also replaced the “husbandry” in their names with “science”). By this time, the meat science program had expanded to several courses, and graduates were already serving as leaders in the meat industry.
      • To engage more students in the World Food Exposition (now called the World Dairy Expo), animal science professor Robert Kauffman MS’58, PhD’61 created the Academic Quadrathlon in the 1960s. University teams still compete through written exams, public presentations, lab exercises, and quiz bowls at annual meetings of the American Society of Animal Sciences and the American Dairy Science Association.
      • In 1997, the Department of Poultry Science merged into the Department of Animal Science. Professor Mark Cook, who died before the new MSABD building was complete, was an active innovator who made key discoveries that formed the scientific basis for three companies (which he founded): aOva Technologies in 2001, Isomark in 2005, and Ab E Discovery in 2015

Today, the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences is a hub for animal agriculture at UW­. CALS meat scientists continue to craft the perfect brat while also discovering new applications for meat byproducts.

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