Dr. Craig Riddell

1999

Dr. Craig Riddell was born in Banchory, Scotland, not far from Aberdeen. He received a B.Sc. in General Science in 1954 from St. Andrews College. Craig was interested in pursuing a career in Agriculture but decided to travel instead. He accepted an offer from Canadian Pacific, who sponsored him and guaranteed him a farm job in Canada. However his farm experience was short lived as he broke his arm while cranking a tractor on an Ontario dairy farm. From there, he became an instructor in Geology at Queen’s University. In turn, this led to a five-year term as a geologist with Mobil Oil in Alberta. An industry slowdown resulted in more office work than Craig liked so he decided to pursue a degree in Veterinary Medicine.

 

Craig received his DVM degree from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1964. After a brief stay in a mixed practice in Alberta and as a Diagnostic Pathologist in Ontario, he returned to school at the University of Connecticut where he received his M.Sc. degree in 1967.

 

His next position was as a poultry veterinarian with Peel’s Poultry Farm, a primary breeder in Port Perry, Ontario where his major responsibility was the eradication of Mycoplasma gallisepticum. He was subsequently recruited to the relatively new Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. He joined the Department of Veterinary Pathology as an Assistant Professor in 1969. Dr. Riddell completed a Ph.D. in Veterinary Pathology at the University of Saskatchewan in 1975 and was promoted to Full Professor in 1977.

 

Dr. Riddell teaches avian medicine and other topics to students in both the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture. The majority of poultry veterinarians in Western Canada have received training through at the University of Saskatchewan and if not, Dr. Riddell most certainly has had an impact on their development. On two occasions, he was named Acting Head of the Department of Veterinary Pathology.

 

Dr. Riddell quickly established an international reputation in research and during his career published nearly 100 peer reviewed papers. Although he completed research on a wide range of topics, he is particularly well recognized for his work on growth related conditions of chickens and turkeys. He made a major contribution to our understanding of skeletal disorders, sudden death syndrome, and more recently ascites. Craig is widely sought as a speaker at both scientific and industrial meetings. The latter invitations are a true indication of the practical value that his research has had on the poultry industry. Numerous awards have also recognized Craig’s research contributions. Twice (1976, 1984) his papers were named “Best Paper” in the prestigious journal, Avian Diseases. He also received the Tom Neuman International Award for Contribution to Research in Poultry Husbandry (1984), the Special Recognition Award for Contributions to the Western Poultry Disease Conference (1996), and the American Association of Avian Pathologists Special Service Award for outstanding contribution within the field of avian medicine (1997).

 

Craig has also been active in scientific associations, having served as President of the American Association of Avian Pathologists and on the editorial boards of a number of other organizations.

 

The Saskatchewan Poultry Industry undoubtedly knows Dr. Riddell through the excellence of his work in disease diagnosis. Without overstating the facts, it can be strongly stated that Dr. Riddell is the “expert” in disease diagnosis in the province.

 

Dr. Riddell recognized that there was insufficient extension help for the Saskatchewan Poultry Industry. Largely as a result of his work, funding was derived from government and industry and used to hire a poultry veterinarian at the University of Saskatchewan to assist the Saskatchewan Poultry Industry in 1979. Based on the success of the program, it was later expanded to include additional expertise in Poultry Science. This program still exists today and is a tribute to his management skills as well as the qualities of the extension staff.

 

With his major workload at the University, you might suspect that Craig would not have time for anything else. But Craig has many interests beyond his work. He is an avid outdoorsman who has hiked, climbed, skied and canoed in many areas within and outside of North America. Among his hiking accomplishments include the Continental Divide from Banff to Jasper and the length of Great Britain. He also enjoys working sheep with his Border Collies. He is well recognized for his sense of humour and his wonderful hospitality. His barbecued turkey is excellent!

 

Craig met fellow geologist, Pat, during his days with Mobil Oil in Calgary. They were married in 1959 and have two daughters. Morag is a teacher in rural Saskatchewan while Cara is employed in the tourist industry at Lake Louise. For much of the time that Craig and Pat lived in Saskatoon, Pat was employed in the Department of Geology at the University of Saskatchewan.