Elanco Animal Health Inc. announced that Dr. Sara Place has joined the company as chief sustainability officer, emphasizing the company's continued commitment to make an impact on societal challenges by improving the health of animals.
Place will join Elanco's team of scientific experts: chief medical officer Shabbir Simjee and chief animal welfare officer Michelle Calvo-Lorenzo. The group helps Elanco and its customers identify new opportunities to continue improving sustainable business practices, improve the well-being of animals and people and reduce the environmental footprint of protein production by keeping food animals healthier, the announcement said.
“The world is more technically advanced than ever before, but we still face fundamental global challenges, such has malnutrition, social isolation and environmental degradation,” Elanco Animal Health president and chief executive officer Jeff Simmons said. “We believe healthy animals are the X-factor to help solve these challenges. We will expand our work with farmers and veterinarians to offer innovative, sustainable solutions for our customers and communities.”
As a recognized expert in livestock sustainability, Place said Elanco is uniquely positioned to drive the industry toward increasing global food security with fewer resources, and contrary to popular opinion, livestock are actually a critical part of improving sustainability.
“We can't create a sustainable environment without healthy animals. Animals are not just recyclers, consuming leftovers from food and fiber products people can't, but they are actually up-cyclers,” Place said. “For example, cattle convert grass and other leftovers into 19% more edible protein than they consume.
"I'm eager to work with Elanco colleagues and experts to address unprecedented challenges farmers face, including extreme weather patterns and evolving disease threats, not to mention meeting growing global demand for protein to help shape livestock production of the future,” she added.
This collaborative approach to solving big problems is not new to Elanco. Under the leadership of Calvo-Lorenzo, the business works alongside livestock producers to identify improvements in animal welfare through research, data-driven insights and recommendations, employee development and advocacy among cross-industry partners, the announcement said. Similarly, Simjee focuses on helping Elanco and its customers combat antimicrobial resistance by improving the responsible use of antibiotics, reducing the need for shared-class antibiotic use and replacing antibiotics with alternatives.
Place's new role with Elanco gives the newly independent public company an opportunity to continue driving efforts that support food security while progressing toward additional sustainability goals, the company said.
Place's expertise comes from her work as senior director of sustainable beef production research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn., where she led research-driven sustainability benchmarking projects and conducted life-cycle assessments of the beef supply chain to identify areas for improvement. Prior to this, she was an assistant professor for sustainable beef production systems in the Oklahoma State University department of animal science. She has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and chapters focused on the environmental impact of cattle production and the effect of various feedstuffs on methane emissions from cattle.
Place received her doctorate in animal biology from the University of California-Davis and her bachelor degree in animal science from Cornell University.
Elanco is a global animal health company that develops products and knowledge services to prevent and treat disease in food animals and pets in more than 90 countries. With a 65-year heritage and more than 5,800 employees, Elanco is driven by the vision of food and companionship enriching life -- all to advance the health of animals, people and the planet.