The donation of W.A. Ranches also kicks off an exciting new chapter for Ed Pajor, who has been appointed the ranch’s first director. Pajor was raised on a tobacco farm in southern Ontario and studied biology as an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo. There, he participated in a co-op program as part of his honours degree, shaping the course of his future career.
“One of those work experiences was working for Dr. David Fraser when he was at Agriculture Canada, and he was working in the area of swine behaviour and welfare,” he explained. “I was exposed to that in my third year of university, and that kind of cascaded into a completely interesting field.”
Pajor pursued a masters’ degree and doctorate at McGill University, focusing on swine behaviour and welfare, then completed a post-doctorate in cattle behaviour with Agriculture Canada before heading to Indiana to teach at Purdue University. “I spent 10 years down there and then decided to come back to Canada, and an opportunity here at the University of Calgary opened up for someone to teach animal behaviour and welfare.”
His work ranges across many livestock species and has even included ducks and mice. Pajor’s expertise has served him well on the editorial boards of a number of scientific journals, as well as animal care organizations, and he is internationally recognized for his work on dairy, swine and poultry behaviour, welfare and care.
Pajor’s role will focus on the ranch’s academic activities, and he’s looking forward to being a part of this journey.
“We want to conduct the research to help move the industry forward, so we also look at it as an opportunity to really establish the faculty of vet medicine at the University of Calgary as an international leader in the area of beef cattle health and welfare and research and education.”
Like the Anderson-Chisholm Research Chair, the donation requires applied research to be shared with the beef industry. The faculty is currently in an in-depth consultation period with industry stakeholders to shape the ranch’s educational, research and outreach programming. This will help determine the vision for the ranch, with a plan to be developed in the next six to eight months.