DI Cäcilia Wimmler

When I was a small girl, I wanted to become a farmer. However, I was born in Graz, second largest town in Austria, capital of Styria. And, as there is usually no agricultural or livestock production in town (not even in Austria), I soon forgot about this early professional aims and changed my mind. But only until the Austrian authorities considered me mature1: it was the moment I decided to take my chances and to discover the whole world and humankind as a goat shepherd in the Haut-Provence (France). From this day on, livestock was part of my life: It all began with goats, followed by sheep and finally pigs.

I thought by myself: This is the knowledge I want to strive for! Consequently, I became student at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU). First of all, I had to understand the basic knowledge of agriculture2 in order to become subsequently a master in livestock sciences3. During this time, my particular interest and passion for pigs, their behaviour and their welfare evolved.

At the end of my master thesis project, life offered another fortunate opportunity like a bouquet of flowers: A position as a doctoral student within a European organic farming project. This is how I became part of the working group Animal Husbandry. And – of course – pigs remain number one of my work as, for the next three years, I will investigate the resilience of organic pig farming considering in particular animal welfare and environmental impacts.4

So far, that is the story of my university life and I am curious to see how it will further develop.

1 ‚Matura‘ (school leaving exam) after 12 years at Rudolf Steiner School in Graz
2Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences at BOKU, 2011 - 2015
3Master’s degree in Livestock Sciences at BOKU, 2015 - 2018
4Doctoral student and team member of the project ‚Power – Animal Welfare and Resilience in Organic Pig Production‘– since 2018