Sept. 28, 2020

Vet Med’s Karin Orsel earns national cattle welfare award

Industry award recognizes outstanding contributions to the welfare of animals in Canada

Dr. Karin Orsel’s motto is ‘Keep calm and love cows.’  Her love of cows — and her research and work to better their health and welfare — is being recognized with the  2020 Metacam 20 Bovine Welfare Award.

Orsel, DVM, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the Univerity of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM), was chosen for the award for her ‘transformational contributions to the advancement of care in the bovine species.’ The recognition reflects her tremendous leadership in the areas of scientific research, teaching ,and mentorship of veterinary students

“Dr. Orsel is a world leader in bovine health, and mentor to veterinarians, researchers and producers across Alberta and beyond. We are thrilled to recognize her as the recipient of the 2020 Metacam 20 Bovine Welfare Award,” says  Jocelyn Dubuc, president of the the Canadian Association of Bovine Veterinarians (CABV).

The Metacam 20 Bovine Welfare Award is presented annually by the CABV in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim.

Orsel is a renowned researcher and veterinary epidemiologist, whose work focuses on infectious diseases in cattle, with an emphasis on lameness. She’s been with UCVM since arriving from the Netherlands in 2008, and has received a number of awards for her efforts to advance the health, welfare, and sustainability of bovine production.

“The announcement that I would be receiving the 2020 Metacam Welfare award came as a complete surprise! I am thrilled and honoured to be the recipient of this award,” said Orsel.

Advancing the welfare of our production animals is my passion, and to have my work recognized through the Metacam Bovine Welfare Award means so much to me.

Recognized for her many contributions to bovine welfare, Orsel also receives high praise from her peers.

“Karin’s work has broad implications for animal health and welfare, and sustainability of animal production,” says Dr. John Kastelic, DVM, PhD, professor, theriogenology and head, department of production animal health at UCVM. “She is a world authority on bovine lameness, in particular digital dermatitis, which causes huge reductions in animal welfare, productivity and longevity. She has done extensive field studies in this area, generating new knowledge and evidence-based approaches to reduce the impact of this debilitating disease.”

In addition to her tremendous contributions to scientific research, Orsel is also commended for her warmth, enthusiasm for her work, and infectious ability to forge productive collaborations.

“In addition to being an outstanding colleague, Karin is also very adept at bringing together researchers with disparate backgrounds. In that regard, she bridges gaps among molecular biologists and epidemiologists, researchers and extensionists, and between academia and veterinary practitioners,” says Dr. Herman Barkema, DVM, PhD, professor, epidemiology of infectious diseases at UCVM. “She has established numerous collaborations within the University of Calgary, as well as with colleagues at universities and companies throughout Canada and the USA, Europe, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.”

Jeffrey Estabrooks, business unit director (bovine) with Boehringer Ingelheim, explains the Metacam 20 Bovine Welfare Award recognizes and encourages those who research and practise animal welfare and well-being.

“We congratulate Dr. Orsel on her tremendous achievements and are proud to present her with the Metacam 20 Bovine Welfare Award,” Estabrooks says. “She is a trailblazing researcher, scientist and educator, who is also an outstanding role model and mentor. Her contributions to cattle welfare here in Canada and around the world are nothing short of exemplary.”