Town Hall Discussion: Funding and sharing pet food research and science
Moderator: Greg Aldrich, PhD
President of Pet Food Ingredients & Technology and research associate professor and pet food program coordinator for the pet food research production program at Kansas State University (KSU).
Micah Kohles, DVM, director of veterinary science and outreach for Oxbow Animal Health
David Meeker, PhD, senior vice president, scientific services, for the National Renderers Association (NRA) and research director for the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation
Karen Wedekind, PhD, comparative nutrition manager for Novus International
Richard Butterwick, PhD, global nutrition advisor for the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition
Town hall discussion: Funding and sharing pet food research and science – Moderated by Greg Aldrich, PhD, president of Pet Food Ingredients & Technology and research associate professor and pet food program coordinator for the pet food research production program at Kansas State University (KSU). Most research on companion animal nutrition, pet food processing or safety, or any other aspect of pet food, is funded by private companies, who are not always able to publish or share their findings. No other source of funding for pet food research currently exists, which means little is publicly available.
Does the pet food industry need a scientific society, with fees from members (pet food manufacturers, marketers and suppliers) funding published research? This panel will explore that concept and address other elements such as their personal approaches and their organizations’ philosophies toward pet food research, how they fund, share, publish or communicate their studies, the key gaps in pet food research and how to best communicate available research to consumers. Panel members include Richard Butterwick, PhD, global nutrition advisor for the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition; Micah Kohles, DVM, director of veterinary science and outreach for Oxbow Animal Health; David Meeker, PhD, senior vice president, scientific services, for the National Renderers Association (NRA) and research director for the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation; and Karen Wedekind, PhD, comparative nutrition manager for Novus International.
Aldrich is an independent nutritionist specializing in foods, ingredients and nutrition for companion animals. In addition to his duties at KSU, he writes a monthly column for Petfood Industry magazine on ingredients. Aldrich earned his doctorate in nutrition from the University of Illinois, a master of science from the University of Missouri and bachelor of science from KSU. He has held management and technical positions with Co-op Feeds, the Iams Co., Kemin Industries Inc. and Menu Foods Ltd. He is a member of the American Society of Animal Science, American Society for Nutrition and American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition.
Kohles earned his DVM from Kansas State University and a master degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In addition to his role at Oxbow Animal health, his professional responsibilities include his practice at the Nebraska Animal Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, and serving on the board of directors at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. He is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Nebraska College of Veterinary Medicine and has worked with multiple zoological institutions. Kohles is an active member in many professional associations and was a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s inaugural Future Leaders Program, was named as one of 25 up-and-coming veterinarians by Veterinary Practice News in 2013 and to Pet Age’s Forty under 40.
In his role with NRA, Meeker serves as the scientific/technical advisor to the North American rendering industry on science, animal disease and feed safety issues. He previously served in scientific and management positions at the National Turkey Federation and National Pork Producers Council, was director of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources at the National Academy of Sciences and was an associate professor at Ohio State University. Over the past three decades, Meeker has been an advisor to numerous governmental, professional and business organizations in the US and internationally. He is past president of the US Animal Health Association, a member of the scientific advisory panel of the World Renderers Organization and a former member of the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health. Meeker received his bachelor of science, master of science, PhD and MBA degrees from Iowa State University.
Wedekind joined Novus Nutrition Brands in 2007. Previously, she was a researcher/nutritionist with Hill’s Pet Nutrition for 16 years. Her research focus has been in the areas of trace minerals, bioavailability, antioxidants, endocrine, arthritis and amino acids. Wedekind received her master of science degree from the University of Kentucky and doctorate in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois.
Butterwick provides leadership and expertise on nutrition for Mars Petcare at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the UK. After graduating from the Department of Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition at Newcastle University in the UK, he obtained his doctorate from research on growth hormone treatment in cows. Before joining the Waltham Centre in 1991, Butterwick lectured preclinical studies at the Samora Machel Veterinary School in Zambia and worked on growth disorders and factors at the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. At Waltham, he has conducted research and development of veterinary clinical diets to manage obesity, gastrointestinal disease, neonatal and post-operative nutritional support, and led research programs on energy requirements and obesity, digestive function and health, probiotics, growth and development and oral health of dogs and cats. Butterwick has published widely in the field of dog and cat nutrition and belongs to several professional organizations.