Responding to passionate student interest, Ulster BOCES is adding an Animal Science program to its September 2020 course offerings available to Ulster County juniors.
The Animal Science program’s rigorous two-year curriculum will teach the science and business of producing domestic livestock, including beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, and swine. The program will also address the nutrition, care, and welfare of companion animals.
Students will gain skills in areas such as veterinary assisting, the care and handling of animals in a laboratory or veterinary-setting, dog grooming, and kennel/pet shop management. They will also learn about the important roles animals play in society, from individual ownership to scientific research.
The hands-on curriculum includes lessons in the fields of biology, chemistry, and physics. Students will engage in clinical experiences at animal care facilities such as veterinarian offices, grooming and boarding facilities, animal rescue, and agricultural operations.
“From the food we eat to the care of companion animals at home, the world population is impacted every day by veterinary scientists,” explained Animal Science course instructor MacKenzie Lawrence, who pointed out that in addition to routine care, our companion animals receive advanced medical, dental, and surgical care.
“Veterinarians also play an essential role in ensuring the quality, quantity, and security of our food supply by working to maintain the health of livestock and inspecting the meat and other animal products that we consume,” Lawrence continued. “Monitoring the health of food animals also helps protect human health, as well as providing training in epidemiology and zoonotic diseases. Veterinary scientists are extremely important in chemical, biological, and pharmacological research.”
The program, Lawrence cautioned, is geared towards students willing to handle all different types of animals.
While this course will touch upon many aspects of veterinary science, it is also ideal for students who would like to explore other animal science careers outside the veterinary field. This includes research, animal rehabilitators, groomers, animal boarding/care facilities, retail, therapy, animal production, and so much more. Agriculture will be another focus of the program.
According to the USDA 2017 Ag Census, there were 33,438 farms in New York State, with dairy and milk production accounting for nearly 26,000 jobs in New York. “As more people become interested in where and how our food gets to our plates, the number of farms will continue to increase,” said Jason Detzel, livestock educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Ulster County. CCE-Ulster offers resources, programs, research, and other support for agriculture.
Detzel added that the amount of livestock farms in Ulster County has increased 50% since 2012, and continues to rise, particularly in the areas of sheep and goat-ownership. According to the report, Ulster County is home to 111 horse farms. “Ulster BOCES is there to support our new farmers and ranchers to learn how to make the most of their agricultural business,” he said. “Farming isn’t easy, but it is the heartbeat of our rural community.”
Students interested in enrolling in the Animal Science program should contact their home school guidance counselors for an application, or visit ulsterboces.org for more information about Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center programs.