Vanier College – Animal Health Technology Student Visit

3 min read


Over thirty students enrolled in the Animal Health Technology program at Vanier College in Montreal, Quebec had the opportunity to visit our three facilities – Rolf C. Hagen, Inc. (head office), HARI (Hagen Avicultural Research Institute), and Hagen Industries (manufacturing plant). This educational initiative is part of HARI’s long-time involvement with teaching animal care to students enrolled in Vanier’s AHT 3-year degree program.

Vanier’s AHT curriculum is accredited by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), as well as other associations. Graduates of the program go on to fulfilling careers in places such as veterinary clinics, diagnostic labs, research facilities, and pharmaceutical companies or pursue further university studies in veterinary medicine.

The HARI team has been engaged for many years in the AHT program at Vanier, both with lectures and workshops (wet labs). They bring parrots from their retired colony of birds so that students can practice and learn to recognize healthy birds and various physical and medical conditions usually associated with all life stages.

The Visit

Hagen Industires

The day started with the students touring the Hagen Industries manufacturing and distribution plant. They were able to see firsthand the production (with our state of the art extruder for micro-nutrient diets) , stringent 3-step quality control, and research & development that goes into producing & shipping premium pet products such as Tropican and Tropimix.

Hagen Head Office

Then on to head office for some lunch and a nutrition seminar presented by HARI Director and Brand Manager Mark Hagen. Mark touched on a wide variety of topics: the parrot trade and importation, true conservation, habitat preservation, wild caught parrot embargoes, Avian nutrition and care, as well as full spectrum lighting setups for indoor aviary breeding.

Mark also spoke about dog and cat nutrition and the benefits of feeding foods which are higher in protein (which means you can feed less) and that use human grade level ingredients (ensuring optimal nutrition). He introduced the students to the new dog and cat Subzero food formulations by Nutrience; a Canadian made blend of protein-rich grain-free kibble with NUTRIBOOST TM (freeze dried raw meat proteins).

After the seminar the students were invited to select from various pet products (Nutrience Brand dog and cat foods & treats, Tropimix, Tropican bird foods and Prime supplements for birds, and Living World extruded rabbit and guinea pig foods) to take home.

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HARI Facility

The students then boarded the bus for a short trip down the highway to the HARI facility. HARI facility manager Josee Bermingham (herself a graduate of the AHT program at Vanier) was there to welcome them and give them the tour. Students visited the indoor winter installations (as many of the birds have already been moved inside), the nurseries (where they saw fledglings still being educated with early parrot education program), the Macaw outdoor and indoor flights, as-well-as the reptile and small animal rooms (several years ago HARI added an exotic and small animal focus to the research center).

Macaw outdoor and indoor flights at HARI

Most importantly, the visit to the HARI facility meant the students could directly observe the third step in Hagen’s/HARIs longevity research and quality control process – the feeding trials of multi-generational captive bred birds, reptiles and small animals fed exclusively extruded diets made by Hagen Industries.