CANADIAN Lorna Baird, who is helping put the
Northern Ireland dairy sector on a sounder footing by
investigating how to reduce the incidence of lameness in local
herds, is drumming to a different beat in her spare time with a
local Pipe Band.
"On completing an animal science degree at
the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg I studied for a master's
degree in animal health and welfare at the University of British
Columbia," Lorna explained.
"There lameness in dairy cattle was
recognised as a prime example of a welfare issue that
also impacts on farm business viability. Find ways of reducing
lameness and you improve both animal welfare and income.
Fascinated, I devoted my final thesis to the subject and began
to look for an opportunity to continue this research."
So when a post was advertised at Hillsborough
with AFBI, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Lorna
decided to apply. "Better still, farmers in Northern Ireland,
through AgriSearch, are helping fund the research into lameness.
The work also offered the opportunity to gain a Doctorate by
part time study" Lorna said.
"So I left family and friends in Canada to
undertake work of real value at one of the UK's main centres of
agricultural research." As well as her work, Lorna is also
enjoying living in Northern Ireland.
"This is a great place to live with an
amazing array of musical events, every weekend there seems to be
another festival. Above all, the province is a great centre of
pipe band music, one of my abiding interests. After much thought
I have made time to play with local competition band Upper
Crossgar as a snare drummer.
"Taking part in competitions is brilliant,
especially when I meet up with Canadian bands, which often have
members from here. The new world champions, for example, Simon
Fraser University Pipe Band out of Vancouver has three Northern
"So I guess just as bovine lameness is a global problem so a
passion for pipe band music crosses borders and oceans.