We all comprise the sum of our experiences, both good and bad. Along the way, we have the opportunity to glean from others the ideas and behaviors we deem worthwhile and incorporate them into our personas. A personal favorite method of observing my fellow man is through his or her issuance of memorable summations of thought... the quotable quote. A line that bears repeating here, as I assume the titular head of your association, is one that I have always tossed at friends in similar positions: "I must hurry and catch up with the rest of the group, for I am their leader."
I am aware of no other organization for which that single line is more true than for the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. Yours is an assemblage of volunteer talent and employed staff that moves effectively and purposefully within the pork production industry, the veterinary profession, the world of agriculture, and the scientific community, with respect accordedand leadership acknowledged. No doubt about it, this association will be more effective due to its membership than its leadership. Remember, the past presidents are still around and serving our interests, and any one of our members is capable of stepping up and providing futureleadership. Those of you who are not currently participating in committee or other AASV activities are missing the real opportunity to interact both personally and professionally with colleagues from across the continent and globe. You will take away more by osmosis than you will be expected to leave, and this will enhance your persona immeasurably. Don't miss out on a truly life-impacting experience.
The list of critical areas requiring the effortsof the association has not changed significantly for some time:
- Antibiotic resistance and animal therapeutics and (or) growth promotants.
- Product wholesomeness at the consumer's plate.
- Environmental impact amelioration.
- Humane production methods.
- Profitable pork production through disease control and husbandry improvement.
We can pick from this list any item that appeals to us, but the critical issue is that the other items are not going to go away, no matter how we choose to avoid them. My impression is that the one least glamorous and most agonized-over --humane production methods-- will be the most critical. It will also require a hands-on effort our corner of the world has not previously attempted. We can lead others into the fray by pulling or pushing, even uphill, but we must start now to recognize the potentialfor benefit to our clients and patients.The failure to do so could be the beginning of the end of swine-rearing as we practice it today. I do not anticipate that any of us would relish that change.
The need to operate without the focused assistance of the National Pork Producers' Council (NPPC) is very real. We do not have enough information at this time to formulate a game plan for implementing some of the duties previously allocated to NPPC. Additionally, funding losses for research grants can have a major impact on AASV members. Opportunity for involvement in this area and for producer education may fall to us.
Finally, I hope to harvest from this position the answers to questions about which I am curious, and will end each of my columns with the one I find most pressing. Mull them over. If there is an answer you wish to share, post it via a letter to the editor or on Swine-L. I am anxious to get these answered. The first of these questions was originally posed by Dr. E. Wayne Johnson during the Pioneer EVP class at the Universityof Illinois. "Why are our goals for our clients often so much greater than our clients' goals?" Interesting, eh? Think about it.
-- Dave Madson