Dr Sheridan Alfirevich Interview

By Christine Clark

Our PhD student, Christine Clark, interviewed one of the well-known poultry industry experts, Dr Sheridan Alfirevich recently.

Sheridan completed her veterinary degree at Murdoch University and is a member of Avian Health Chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. Sheridan is completing her Masters in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law at University of Edinburgh. She is currently employed by Inghams as General Manager of Farming.

Hi Sheridan!  Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for Poultry@Sydney. My name is Christine Clark and am doing my PhD at The University of Sydney.

CHRISTINE: What attracted you to the poultry industry?

SHERIDAN: I was always interested in pet birds from a young age. During my degree at Murdoch University, I completed various practical placements with the Department of Agriculture and poultry veterinarians. This experience provided me with insight into the commercial poultry industry. Following graduation, I worked at a busy small animal veterinary practice in regional WA where I had an opportunity to see pet birds and backyard poultry. I then decided to pursue my interests in poultry medicine and animal welfare through a Poultry CRC sponsored internship based in Sydney.

CHRISTINE:  How would you characterise your 10 years of experience in the poultry industry?

SHERIDAN: The poultry industry is a great industry – it’s dynamic and challenging. I have worked as a poultry veterinarian and I am now managing farming operations at Inghams. The different roles I’ve had in the industry have enabled me to gain a thorough understanding of the different aspects. I’ve also enjoyed networking with industry colleagues in Australia and overseas and completing further study in animal welfare.

CHRISTINE: What is your daily job like?  Tell us what you do in a typical day?

SHERIDAN: I try and be as hands-on as possible. I love travelling and visiting farms all over the country. It’s important to meet and support our people to help overcome the challenges they face as part of their day to day roles. I ensure our flocks are closely monitored to ensure optimal health, welfare and performance. This is often complemented by adopting a data-driven and scientific approach. We work hard to implement best practice and continually improve.

CHRISTINE: In your view, what are the 3 key challenges faced by the Australian poultry industry?

SHERIDAN:  It’s important that we maintain a skilled workforce that want to progress their career in the poultry industry. Ensuring we continue to optimise sustainability, including animal welfare and environmental targets, will also always be top priorities. We are fortunate that chicken meat is well positioned with the lowest environmental footprint of all meats. It’s also important that chicken meat remains a safe and affordable protein for Australian consumers.

CHRISTINE: What is your advice to the young vets who are thinking about their career paths now?

SHERIDAN: Consider opportunities outside what you are exposed to at university.  The poultry industry is fantastic and provides so many opportunities to use your scientific knowledge and your veterinary skills but also pursue other interests.  It’s always challenging but this provides great opportunities to learn and network. Consider the poultry industry for something different!

Thank-you so much for your time today Sheridan, and good-luck with all of your future endeavours in the poultry industry and beyond.

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