Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Researcher, Animal Welfare Expert Becomes Newest Faculty Member for School of Veterinary Medicine

George Watson

January 7, 2021

SVM construction

Arlene Garcia-Marquez is an expert in developing and implementing animal welfare programs that are essential for sustainable agriculture.

Arlene Garcia-Marquez has spent the bulk of her career developing relationships with animal producers by getting an inside look into places most people do not have access to – meat plants, dairies, beef feedlots and pig and poultry operations.

Building relationships, she says, can only happen by being on the farm and dealing with producers and animals directly. Developing programs that provide solutions must not be labor-intensive and must be easy to train employees on, comprehensible to the employees and economic. This allows everyone involved to develop the best practices available to meet their farms' needs and market demand for improved welfare.

Arlene Garcia-Marquez
Arlene Garcia-Marquez

"Establishing a working relationship between academia and the agricultural industry to better prepare our future veterinarians is a central part of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, and where feel I can contribute to the most," Garcia-Marquez said.

Her research interest has been in pig transportation – she has helped develop guidelines used by the National Pork Board to mitigate stress associated with transporting pigs. Her research focuses on finding solutions to commercial problems that sometimes go unseen in controlled settings. Additionally, she is dedicated to the training of the Hispanic workforce and implementing timely euthanasia on management of compromised pigs.

Garcia-Marquez is now responsible for conducting that research and training the next line of animal care specialists as an assistant professor of behavior and welfare in the School of Veterinary Medicine. She began her duties in the school on Tuesday (Jan. 5).

"We are so thrilled that Dr. Garcia-Marquez chose to join our school," said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "I had the privilege of working with Dr. Garcia-Marquez for several years in her prior role at Texas Tech University, and I know firsthand that she will contribute in many meaningful ways. Coming from Presidio, Texas, she truly gets our mission. Dr. Garcia-Marquez also is deeply motivated to help our graduates be successful. That means developing communication and relationship-building skills. We are fortunate that so many of our faculty speak Spanish, and she will help that team develop programs that prepare our students to communicate effectively in Spanish. This is so important to better serve our stakeholders."

Garcia-Marquez earned her doctorate in animal science in 2014 and her master's degree in animal sciences in 2010, both from the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources at Texas Tech. She completed her undergraduate work at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in veterinary technology in 2003 and a bachelor's degree in animal health management in 2005.

Garcia-Marquez has spent the last four years on the Animal & Food Sciences faculty at Texas Tech, and she also has served as an animal welfare auditor and consultant for Validus Verification Services in Urbandale, Iowa. A division of Where Food Comes From Inc., Validus is dedicated to socially responsible practices in on-farm production, specializing in animal welfare and feed programs. She helps coordinate and conduct multi-species animal welfare audits at farms and meat plants to ensure the best practices for animal welfare are being undertaken.

Prior to coming to Texas Tech, Garcia-Marquez served as an assistant professor of animal science at the University of Minnesota.

Before her first faculty position, Garcia-Marquez was the interim director of the Texas Tech Equestrian Center. She also was the veterinary technician program director at Vista College in Lubbock. In that role, she helped develop the program, its curriculum and syllabi; successfully obtained approval for the program from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Council of Occupational Education (COE); and helped get the program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

"Dr. Garcia-Marquez's work is extremely important to veterinary medicine to address all aspects of animal well-being," said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs. "She brings her expertise to guide and advise our related industries and school for the betterment of animals. She will establish collaborative relationships to elevate all of our work. Through her work, we will meet our guiding principles to protect animal health and welfare."

Garcia-Marquez joins a growing and vibrant team of faculty and staff at the School of Veterinary Medicine. Additional team members will continue to be added over the next few months as the school prepares to welcome its inaugural class in fall 2021.

About the School of Veterinary Medicine

Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas, and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo was established in 2018. In September 2020, the school was granted a Letter of Reasonable Assurance, from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education and has begun the admissions process in preparation for classes to begin in August 2021.

The School of Veterinary Medicine will recruit and select students with a passion to serve rural and regional communities. Its curriculum is focused on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practice types that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.