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O.Univ.-Prof. Josef Troxler

O. Univ. Prof. Dr. Josef Troxler - emeritus

Troxler's work at Vetmeduni began with two important factors: on the one hand, a letter from the university that a chair for animal husbandry should be set up, and on the other hand, the personal interest of the scientist to turn more to veterinary medicine and teaching . “At that time there were only a few researchers in this field. That was a reason for the university to actively search, ”the Swiss native recalls. However, the establishment of a new institute in his field and thus going to a veterinary university as a career changer was appealing to him.

Check for animal welfare
At that time, Troxler was head of the testing facility for stable equipment at a federal agricultural research institute of what is now the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (BLV) in Switzerland. With the emergence of the new animal protection law in Switzerland, the FSVO had the task of setting up two specialist agencies for animal-friendly husbandry. Since 1981, Troxler, as head of one of these departments, has been responsible for testing husbandry systems for ruminants and pigs: “My area at the research institute was to assess animals and their husbandry systems. This raised the question: what can we measure in the animals, whether they are well and therefore also what can we determine from the stalls whether they fit the animals or not? Factors such as behavior, risk of injury, dimensions or slippery floors played an important role in this assessment. Such a test procedure was new in Europe at the time, but soon established itself as an important animal welfare measure after initial difficulties.”


The fascination of teaching
In parallel to his work at the FSVO, Troxler had a teaching post for animal husbandry at the veterinary faculty in Zurich. "I was fascinated by teaching right from the start," says Troxler, who decided to apply to the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and, after being accepted, to move to Vienna with his family in the summer of 1996. However, Troxler's appointment not only involved the chair, but also the creation of a new institute. Today, numerous scientists are permanently employed at the Institute for Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare, depending on the third-party funding, additional researchers were added. Troxler particularly positively remembers his good reception at Vetmeduni Vienna. Helpfulness, recognition in the work and cooperation with other institutes and clinics were anchored in the everyday life of the new institute from the beginning.

Out of the lecture hall, into the practice
According to Troxler, a lot has happened in research during his time at Vetmeduni Vienna. “I would like to thank the entire team at the institute for this. Everyone did an excellent job and carried out exciting projects. ”It was important for him as a professor to always offer students the opportunity to practice and to get out of the lecture hall and into the stables. For his area of ​​expertise, Troxler clearly sees the development towards scientifically based animal welfare: “We have to provide the basis at the research level and thus take care of the welfare of the animals. It has always been my concern to do practical work and implement something."


Pioneering work in animal husbandry and animal welfare
While animal husbandry and animal welfare were still uncharted territory in 1996, the situation has changed in the past two decades. “Josef Troxler has done valuable pioneering work here. He made a significant contribution to the fact that the topics of animal behavior and animal welfare are firmly anchored in the curriculum of Vetmeduni Vienna today. They are part of the training from the very first semester, ”says Rector Petra Winter. She further emphasized: “His work and the associated awareness of animal husbandry has strongly shaped our university as an institution. His work went far beyond that. Thanks to its tireless efforts, scientifically based animal welfare did not remain a theoretical construct, but found its way into practice and led more and more to animal welfare. Anyone who knows Professor Troxler and has worked with him appreciates his expertise and practical relevance."

Michael Hess, head of the Department for Farm Animals and Public Health at Vetmeduni Vienna, emphasizes Troxler's commitment as head of the federal animal testing commission. “Josef Troxler always focused on the animal. However, he also included the experimenter and the experimental procedures as well as the possibilities and goals behind the experiment in his considerations. He acted as a mediator in many critical - and sometimes very emotional - situations, ”said Hess at Troxler's farewell lecture on September 29. "With his farsightedness for animal welfare and the striving for interdisciplinarity, Josef Troxler contributed to the further development of the subject, whereby the participation in the advertisement for the Messerli Research Institute can be mentioned as an example."

Federal Animal Protection Act and Messerli Research Institute
The Austrian Federal Animal Protection Act was a milestone for Troxler as a researcher. In 2004, he was involved with lawyer Regina Binder from the Institute for Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare as an external expert in the drafting of the law, which came into force on January 1, 2005. Troxler sees another important factor in the creation of the Messerli Research Institute, which on the one hand works inter-university and on the other makes important additions to the Institute for Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare: "The facility has clearly strengthened Vienna's location for animal welfare and made it more visible."
In addition to teaching and research projects, Troxler's duties also include further training measures such as conferences for farmers in cooperation with the state chambers of agriculture, for veterinarians together with the chamber of veterinarians or veterinary organizations and official veterinarian courses. "Ultimately, it is the people outside who have to make decisions for animal welfare on a daily basis," explains Troxler, emphasizing the years of good cooperation with cooperation partners. Troxler was also involved in the Austrian Board of Trustees for Agricultural Engineering and Development (ÖKL), in which he contributed to around two dozen leaflets on subjects such as playpens and horse stalls.

Connected to science
Even after his departure, Troxler will continue to stay connected to science and the Vetmeduni Vienna. As a symbol for his departure from the university, the researcher symbolically chose the flamingo: with one leg retired and still be alert. As an emeritus professor, Troxler will oversee outstanding theses and plans to look more at other disciplines. “I was always interested in what is being researched in parallel with my area of ​​expertise. Ecology, insects or farmhouse research would definitely be an idea, ”adds Troxler. For us, however, one final question from a student remains open: "And who is going to teach the grunts of the pigs to the freshmen?"



Forschungsdokumentation vetdoc