Utah State University research professor Juan Villalba has been studying sheep and goat behavior for several years, in an effort to reduce certain diseases that affect those animals.

Not only can parasites kill animals, but they can also cause other detrimental health effects and can affect the taste of meat.

Conventional farming methods of treating diseases (using antibiotics and other chemicals) have created parasites that are becoming resistant to drugs, which is a concern worldwide.

So, in the lab, as well as in a controlled nine-acre pasture environment at Utah State, Villalba has been testing various plants that have certain medicinal properties that kill internal parasites.

When microscopic tissue samples showed animals infected with a parasite, Villalba noticed the sick animals would migrate from the basic alfalfa field to the mix of plants that made them feel better. No chemicals at work here, just nature.

In the future, Villalba said, instead of traditional chemicals and medicines, treating certain animal diseases may be just a matter of planting a "pasture pharmacy," letting animals decide when they need a prescription.