Students display animal skills at Royal Show

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Pig production, handling and care will be a new focus for University of Adelaide students at the Royal Adelaide Show this year.

Thirty members of the new student-run Roseworthy campus Pig Club will compete for the first time at the Show in a special class giving them a chance to hone their skills in pig preparation and handling in the judging ring.

Student Pig Club leader Belinda Halliwell said the Pig Club was established to give animal and veterinary science students a less daunting introduction to pigs and their care.

“Many of the students haven’t had any contact with pigs before they start in animal or veterinary sciences,” Belinda says. “The new Pig Club gives students the opportunity to interact with small numbers of pigs, learn about their behaviour and welfare and get used to handling them in a relaxed, fun environment.

“The Show is our chance to show what we’ve learnt and how this positive handling experience benefits both the pigs and the students. Pigs are really cool and it’s great that so many of the students are discovering this.”

Supervising School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences lecturer Dr Will van Wettere says the Show preparation is a great opportunity for the students to work with farmers and industry to improve their understanding of pigs, pig farming practices and heritage breeds. “This is an important and valuable experience for the students and their interest and commitment is strong. We hope it will also encourage students to consider a role within the pig industry when they graduate.”

The Pig Club students will compete against each other in a special class on Thursday 10 September at 1pm with pairs of students working with pairs of pigs in the ring.

Other University of Adelaide animal and veterinary sciences students will be entering the led steer competition and providing veterinary support for the Show’s many animals.

For the led-steer competition, 25 students have been working with seven steers since April with judging on Thursday 10 September, starting at 9am. Students learn about animal handling and behaviour, nutrition production and market specifications as well as the Royal Show skills of showmanship, ring craft and animal judging.

Thirteen final-year veterinary students will assist six veterinarians to provide round-the-clock veterinary services for the livestock section. Students build their clinical, problem solving, communication and technical skills and further their experience in patient care and professional behaviour under high-pressure situations, while they help to provide a valuable service to exhibitors and the Show.

The School of Agriculture, Food and Wine will be showcasing the importance of healthy soils for good plant growth under a banner “healthy soils = healthy plants = healthy you” in a display in the Golden Grains Pavilion. Children will be able to plant their own terrariums with cereals and legumes that are the subject of Waite research.


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