Tamsin Coombs and Cameron Craigie, both working at SAC, have been presented with training scholarships by the Worshipful Company of Woolmen, an 800 year old charity associated with the wool industry in London.
Cameron has also been awarded the highly coveted International Stockmen’s Educational Foundation (ISEF) Travel Fellowship to the 2011 International Livestock Congress in Denver, Colorado.
Tamsin is investigating the effect of selection for lean tissue growth on muscle fibre characteristics and its implications on animal welfare and Cameron is investigating the use of objective technology to measure meat eating quality, especially tenderness, juiciness and flavour of lamb bred to have larger loin muscles and lambs and finished on different diets.
Following her acceptance of the award at the Woolmen civic dinner in the plush Painter’s Hall in London, Tamsin said: “It came as a really nice surprise to be recognised for my work in this way, and by such a long-standing organisation. The dinner was a real eye opener and it was very interesting to be involved in the traditions of this company.
“It’s good to have support for my work to investigate whether breeding too much for lean muscle growth has any knock on welfare effects on young lambs.
“With the tough conditions in Scotland, making sure any profit you’ve made through lean muscle mass isn’t wiped out through stock losses or increased labour and health costs is key to improving efficiency.”
Cameron Craigie added: “It was a great event, and good to gain recognition from such an esteemed industry body.
“Research into the measurement of meat eating quality, mainly the tenderness, juiciness and flavour, under commercial conditions is important because the addition of meat quality measures to carcase evaluation would enable processors to reward producers for animals with superior quality meat.”
Cameron was then flown to Colorado to attend the International Livestock Congress, the world’s largest livestock show by number of cattle. As part of the trip he was also taken on tour of a case-ready meat processing plant and to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Cattle Association for some lessons in beef tasting, new product development and marketing.
He said: “The opportunity to look under the bonnet of meat industries in different countries has been a real eye-opener.
“The good news for Scotland is that our meat industry has some real strategic advantages, including a simple supply chain, excellent animal traceability and top quality assurance schemes.”