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News story about
Lay's research (Nov. 03)
Lay as Early Career Scientist
By Don Comis
January 22, 2004
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Jan. 22 --
Donald C. Lay, an Agricultural Research
Service animal behavioralist, has been named the 2003 Early Career
Scientist of the Year" for ARS' Midwest Area. This award honors
accomplishments by scientists who have received their highest academic degree
within the past 10 years and have been a full-time ARS employee for seven years
or less. ARS' Midwest Area includes Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan,
Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
ARS, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the chief scientific research
agency of the U.S. Department of
Lay is being honored for building one of the first USDA animal welfare
research units in the country--from the ground up--and making substantial
research accomplishments at the same time, both individually and with a team of
colleagues. Lay works at the agency's Livestock Behavior Research Unit
located at Purdue University, West
Lafayette, Ind., and is currently overseeing construction of a new building to
house the unit. The new building is scheduled for completion in late March
As an "Early Career Scientist of the Year," Lay will receive a
plaque at an ARS awards ceremony today in New Orleans, La. He will also receive
a cash award and additional research funding.
In less than a decade, Dr. Lay has turned the Livestock Behavior
Research Unit into an internationally recognized center for animal welfare
research, said Edward B. Knipling, acting ARS administrator.
Lay and his colleagues are pioneering the idea of breeding nonaggressive
poultry and livestock to reduce injury, mortality losses and stress. This
includes selecting more maternal sows that will be less likely to
roll over and crush their piglets. This accident alone costs farmers more than
$600 million a year, in addition to raising animal welfare concerns.
Lay earned his B.S. degree in animal science from
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University, Blacksburg, Va., and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in
applied animal ethology, from Texas A&M
University at College Station in 1990 and 1995. He serves on the Board of
Editors for the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare and is a member of the
Ethics and Animal Care Committee for the International Society for Applied
Ethology. As an adjunct assistant professor at Purdue University, he serves on
the university's Animal Care Committee.
Lays previous awards include Iowa
State Universitys 2002 College of Agriculture Team Award for his
contributions to the Alternative Swine Production Systems Initiative
Team and the universitys Early Achievement in Teaching