The American Society of Animal Science fosters the discovery, sharing and application of scientific knowledge concerning the care and responsible use of animals to enhance animal and human health and well-being.
These core principles and beliefs are the foundation for ASAS and will guide the implementation of
this 5-year strategic plan.
- Animals are essential to human life and well-being.
- The care and use of animals are held to the highest standards of integrity and professional
- Research and scientific information are communicated in an open, transparent, and dynamic
- Career development for animal scientists, educators, and producers is essential to the viability
of the allied and animal industries.
- Animal science and the production of animal-sourced foods must continually evolve to meet
the needs and values of society.
The History of ASAS
The American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2008. During the first 100 years, ASAS broadened membership to more than 7000 members. ASAS developed diverse and dynamic membership programs, and fostered the growth of the premier journal in animal science and the premier animal science meetings. In 2008, the American Society of Animal Science celebrated 100 years of sharing great research and supporting science careers.
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ASAS had its beginning on July 28, 1908, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. A group of animal nutritionists, representing 13 state agricultural experiment stations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, met during a summer school session and formed a permanent organization with a focus on animal nutrition research. A committee was appointed to present a plan for organizing during the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago that fall. On November 26, 1908, the group met and formed an organization called the American Society of Animal Nutrition. Thirty-three charter members represented 17 state experiment stations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Canada. A constitution was adopted, and four committees were established: (1) experiments, (2) terminology, (3) methods of reporting results, and (4) affiliation. The objectives of the new Society were (1) to improve the quality of investigation in animal nutrition, (2) to promote more systematic and better correlated study of feeding problems, and (3) to facilitate personal interaction between investigators in this field. The first professional papers were presented at the Livestock Exposition Hall in Chicago on November 27–29, 1909. At the business meeting, the membership voted to publish proceedings of its annual meeting representing the first journal publications. During the first year, 100 members joined the roll.
At the business meeting in 1912, efforts were made to broaden the membership base. On November 30, 1915, the name of the Society was changed from the American Society of Animal Nutrition to the American Society of Animal Production, and an amendment to the constitution was passed to allow members to include those interested in teaching, breeding, and management investigations as well as nutritionists. A committee on instruction was added. At that time there were 114 members.
The Society was fulfilling a genuine need, and membership began to increase. Growth in membership was almost continuous; by the golden anniversary year of 1958 there were 1829 members. A second name change was approved at the 53rd annual business meeting in Chicago on November 24, 1961, when the official name became the American Society of Animal Science.
The American Society of Animal Science expanded to meet the diverse needs of its members by adding sections (Midwest, South, Northeast, and West) with their own meetings. In 1998, ASAS joined forces with its sister societies, the American Dairy Science Association and the Poultry Science Association, to form the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) to help foster a voice for professional animal scientists.
Today, we are facing some of the same challenges faced in our first hundred years but on a larger scale. Much like our founders asked, it is time for us to ask "Who is our membership?" and "Who should our membership become?" Our founders defined and reevaluated membership components twice as demographics of their traditional base changed. It is time for us to do the same to incorporate the expanded scope of the field of animal science. In fact as we move forward, we recognize that the current demographic makeup of ASAS will change and expand to reflect the difference between our traditional animal science base and the young animal scientists currently being trained.
As we move forward, the society will continue to focus on animal science in terms of animal agriculture, but we plan to become more inclusive and begin to focus on the scientific issues of all animals used to benefit humans. In addition, we have entered a time in which we must return to our roots by increasing our focus on teaching, extension, and industry as well as increase our international presence and membership.
It is also a time for us to change one of the most fundamental roles of ASAS in the field of animal sciences and in society. ASAS needs to continue to serve as a distributor of animal science information while enhancing its role as a creator of information pertaining to the field of animal science. ASAS has always stated that science needs to inform policy, but at this time we need to move a step further so that ASAS takes a more active role in using science to help shape policy. Essentially, ASAS needs to proactively serve as a voice for animal science and animal scientists. We need to leverage our strength as a diverse organization.
Vision for the Future
As ASAS enters its second century, we are changing to adapt to current and future conditions and environments. ASAS will continue to be the world leader as a source of scientific information on the contributions of animals to food and fiber production. We recognize, however, that animals contribute greatly to enhancing the human life and wellbeing in a wide variety of ways, including companionship, recreation, and human aid. Therefore, the broader vision of ASAS is to be a diverse community of professionals recognized as the leading source of new knowledge and perspective on animals that enhance human life and well-being. ASAS facilitates global scientific exchange through innovative and inclusive venues.
In the next century, we will look for new opportunities to partner with other professional organizations and non-traditional venues. We are working to become a facilitator of effective interactions among academia, industry, government agencies, and other stakeholders to reach consensus regarding science-based animal issues. Continued leadership in providing a scientific voice of animal science to the broader public is an inherent component in facilitating scientific exchange. To deal with the many contributions of animals to society, we recognize that it is vital for animal science professionals to be trained in a variety of disciplines. To this end, ASAS will provide member services and professional development opportunities in a proactive and accountable manner. Through our meetings, journal, and professional development opportunities, ASAS will be the training ground for future animal scientists.