Taking advantage of the Pedagogical Activities for Student Success (PASS) Day on October 22, 2015, second year Vanier Animal Health Nutrition Students jumped at the opportunity to visit Hagen Inc., a privately owned Montreal pet supply business. Over the past 20 years Mark Hagen, Director of Research at Hagen Inc. has provided generous support for the Exotic Animal Care Course and Animal Health Technology Program at Vanier, and he generously offered a unique learning opportunity to Vanier Students on PASS Day.

In a comprehensive visit to 3 local Hagen Inc. locations, students saw all aspects of the pet food industry including research and development, manufacturing, production, quality control, marketing, and final product testing on live animals.

The students first visited Hagen Industries, in St-Laurent where members of the Hagen Team led them on a tour of the manufacturing and production process for the Tropican and Living World diets for birds and small mammals.  The students also visited the laboratory to get an overview of the many aspects of research and development as well as quality control (chemical, physical, microbiological) involved in the food manufacturing process.

Next they headed to the Hagen Head Office where Mark Hagen provided the students with a complimentary “Lunch and Learn,” during which they watched presentations on the history of the Hagen Company and of the various research studies and field trials presently in operation at the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute (HARI).

After lunch they were taken to the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute in Rigaud, which houses over 350 pairs of more than 50 bird species, as well as a selection of small rodents and reptiles.  All of the diets produced at Hagen Industries undergo field trial testing at HARI and the students received a personalized tour of the facilities.

Vanier teacher, Stephanie Laett, who accompanied the students on this outing was especially pleased with this opportunity.  “On behalf of Vanier College I would like to thank Mark Hagen and all the members of the Hagen Company for facilitating this field trip and sharing their expertise and knowledge with our students,” she said. “This wonderful out-of-classroom learning experience allowed students to see the inner workings of animal food production and to be inspired by Hagen’s passion and commitment to quality and excellence.”

“This is one of the many partnerships the Animal Health Program works with,” says Stephanie Laett. “We also work with other pet food companies, the Canadian Canine Blood Bank, and pharmaceutical companies, all of which provide our program with valuable support that enriches the learning experience of our students.”

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