Written by Dr. Christopher D. Lu, IGA Past-President
People who knew Dr. Miguel Angel Pérez-Razo often described him as a humble, determined and optimistic goat scientist who had a special place in his heart for struggling small goat producers.
Miguel Angel Pérez-Razo was born in Mexico City on January 13, 1958. He devoted his entire life to goat science and education. In 1982, he completed his bachelor’s degree in veterinary science at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) with the thesis entitled “Non-pathological aspects that affect reproductive efficacy in goats” (“Aspectos no patologicos que afectan la eficacia reproductive en las cabras”). In 1996, he obtained a master’s degree in animal production from UNAM with the thesis entitled “Evaluation of the productivity of the five goats breeds in northern Mexico” (“Evaluación de la productividad de la hembra en cinco razas caprinas en el norte de México”). In 2004, received a Doctor of Sciences from the College of Postgraduates, Teaching and Research Institution in Agricultural Sciences (CP). His thesis was “Productive longevity in five dairy goats breeds” (“Longevidad productiva en cinco razas caprinas lecheras”).
Dr. Pérez-Razo began his academic journey and started to work for UNAM on January 1, 1979. His life was intertwined with UNAM as he moved up gradually to the rank of Career Professor (Profesor de Carrera en la FES-Cuautitlán, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). He taught courses in goat and sheep science and production and researched genetic improvement and production systems in small ruminants. He directed both graduate and undergraduate students and published widely in journals such as Canadian Journal of Animal Science, Livestock Production Science, and Journal of Applied Animal Research. He also tutored for more than forty-five students as part of his social service. He had more than 115 presentations in national and international conferences and wrote five book chapters/books. He served as the President of the Mexican Association of Professionals in Caprines (AMPCA) and was a member of the Mexican Association of Technical Specialists in Sheep, Latin American Association of Small Ruminants and South American Association of Camelids. He also chaired research projects, research symposia and research education taskforces. He interacted well with his colleagues, students, and staff and was well respected in the campus community.
Throughout his life, Dr. Miguel Angel Pérez-Razo was attached to the men and women who attended to goats. He was truly Pro-carbra! He often served as a judge for goat contests. With a special talent to know how to approach goat producers, he educated them regarding the importance of productivity rather than just the appearance. He pointed many producers in the right direction to start the businesses and helped guiding them to overcome difficulties.
He was heavily involved in the Humanitarian Center of Works and Cultural and Education Exchange - CHOICE (Centro Humanitario de Obras e Intercambio Cultural y Educativo A.C.). Through CHOICE, he opened the doors and reached out to indigenous communities in Irapuato in the state of Guanajuato where he taught them how to make goat cheeses and process goat meat, among other technologies. Many small goat producers benefited from his teachings, because he communicated in plain language, avoiding difficult technical jargon used by other professionals. He was humble and committed to improving the quality of life of disadvantaged populations.
Last October, along with Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, Felipe Torres Acosta, Beth Miller and Jean-Paul Dubeuf, I participated in XXIX Reunión Nacional e Internacional Sobre Caprinocultura in Cuautitlán, Mexico. During that meeting, we experienced how humble Dr. Miguel Angel Pérez-Razo was. You could not tell that he was in charge and at the same time served as President of AMPCA. He was warm and hospitable, busy taking care of and driving us to places.
I came to learn that he was one of the faculty members from UNAM responsible for the successful poster session at the 9th International Conference on Goats, Queretaro, Mexico in 2008. We became friends through many in-depth conversations. He was energized and planned to engage more research in production systems. At the time, I was pretty sure that we would meet again to exchange research findings. It is now not possible because his sudden death on April 15, 2018.
I hope that his wife, Georgina Melania Arana Diaz; daughter, Diorella Melania; and son, Miguel Angel, can take comfort knowing that Miguel’s life was full and productive, and many people were blessed because they knew him. Perhaps there were many attributes about Miguel that we are not able to know, but I am sure that he will be missed by many of us including his family, friends, colleagues and small goat producers.
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.