Canadian Poultry Magazine

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Aviagen North America names new director of welfare and sustainability

Dr. Sara Reichelt to spread company's breeding sustainability, welfare messages globally.


May 12, 2021
By Canadian Poultry magazine

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Dr. Sara Reichelt, director of welfare and sustainability, Aviagen North America.

Aviagen North America has named Dr. Sara Reichelt as its new director of welfare and sustainability, effective immediately.

Reporting directly to Dr. Kate Hayes, Aviagen’s vice president of veterinary services, Reichelt will be the face of welfare and sustainability for Aviagen’s North American customer base, collaborating closely with Aviagen Group’s global vice president of sustainability and welfare Anne-Marie Neeteson and her team to share the company’s breeding sustainability and welfare messages on a global level.

Reichelt will leverage her extensive knowledge to support and advise Aviagen’s internal teams and valued customers in the interest of strengthening the health and welfare of their flocks and the success of their businesses, as well as the sustainability of the planet and our industry.

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After earning an undergraduate degree in Zoology and Poultry Science and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University in 2017, Reichelt joined Aviagen as associate veterinarian and assistant animal welfare coordinator.

Her focus was to plan programs to prevent avian disease, monitor biosecurity and maximize bird health and welfare on the farms and in hatcheries that produce Aviagen’s quality broiler breeding stock.

As assistant animal welfare coordinator, she, the welfare coordinator and the internal compliance staff together formed the company’s Core Welfare team, which worked to further communicate evolving welfare practices throughout North America.

In her new directorship, she will continue to work alongside the core welfare team in supporting the company on key opportunities, researching and implementing ongoing improvement in bird wellness and well-being.

Because welfare is constantly advancing, she will also provide internal training to ensure employees remain up-to-date on the latest best practices.

Since the beginning of her professional career, Reichelt has devoted her time and energy to various causes.

She is a founding member and current chair of the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) Women’s Network, which strives to prepare women to work in the poultry industry and move up to leadership positions and also provides an interactive community support network.

In 2019, she was recognized as a “Future Leader” by the AAAP for her proven leadership abilities and long list of academic and professional accomplishments. Reichelt is still an active member and, in addition to the Women’s Network, serves in multiple capacities for the AAAP.

She is the current chair-elect for the Animal Welfare committee, after serving for three years as the Breeder Representative; 2020 Chair of the AAAP Membership Committee; and was a member of the Public Trust Task Force in 2019.

She was also a guest at the board of directors strategic planning meeting to help give a voice to the younger members of the AAAP.

At Aviagen, she helped set up and currently leads a sustainability working group within veterinary services, and makes it her goal to regularly organize and participate in community outreach events, including a recent clean-up day at a local high school.

“Sara is an amazing driver for sustainability and welfare within our North American organization,” Hayes says.

“Not only is she capable and knowledgeable, but she is passionate about creating and implementing changes that have a positive ripple effect on our customers, our company, and the industry at large. She is a tremendous asset, and I wish her every success in this important new position.”

“I am honored to accept this exciting new role, and feel that each step in my academic and career path has served to prepare me for this challenge,” Reichelt says.

“For me, welfare and sustainability are much more than my job description. They’re causes that I have felt strongly about for years, as they work together to secure the future of our people, our industry, and our planet. My goal is to continue to work with production, hatchery and other teams throughout Aviagen to support these efforts. I will give my all to advancing these priorities throughout our company and industry.”

Aviagen’s core company value is “Breeding Sustainability” and by appointing Reichelt to this new position, the company intends to underscore its commitment to bird health and welfare, while promoting sustainability.

“We take our responsibility in the food chain seriously, and endeavor to be an integral part of breeding a sustainable future, not only for the people of today, but for generations to come,” Hayes adds.