Antoinette Simpah Danso is a 2011 Commonwealth Shared Scholar from Ghana. She studied MSc Meat Science and Technology at the University of Bristol. Antoinette’s MSc project was on the effect of various slaughter methods on the quality of lamb meat. She explains:
‘While slaughter methods have become more humane in the developed world due in part to pressure from consumers and animal rights groups, the same cannot be said for many developing countries. In Ghana, farm animals are forcefully restrained and undergo rough treatment, including caning, before final slaughter. These practices have adverse effects on carcass and meat quality. If genetics and nutrition are improved but animals are mishandled prior to slaughter, our ultimate aim of providing the consumer the best quality meat would be greatly compromised.’
Antoinette completed her Master’s with Distinction in September 2012. She is now studying for a PhD at Massey University in New Zealand, thanks to a scholarship from the National Centre for Growth and Development, New Zealand. She is working with the International Sheep Research Centre at Massey on a research project focusing on lamb nutrition. The project aims to develop a statistical model representing lamb growth when grazed on pasture.
‘Sheep production in Ghana is mostly traditional and, like New Zealand, Ghana has a vast area of grazing land which animals depend on as feed. My PhD gives me the opportunity to better understand lamb growth on pasture and also how efficiently lambs can be grown on pasture. The battle in ensuring food security begins with understanding the growth of food animals, which I hope to achieve with this PhD.
‘I hope to become an important contributor to efforts directed at food security in Ghana, whether within an academic environment or industry, through the provision of knowledge, experience and research skills.’
Antoinette was also a beneficiary of the Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust (TEST) for Ghana as an undergraduate student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.