Straight talk

Content, content, content

Education is a cornerstone of the AASV’s mission, and critical to swine veterinarians who want to stay current on scientific information and industry issues. AASV members were asked for their comments on the AASV annual meeting program content. Here’s what they had to say.

From Luc DuFresne

“Overall, I think the AASV meetings are very good scientifically. They bring pertinent information to the forefront for swine practitioners. I believe that some sessions offering practical approaches to problem solving in population medicine should be offered at the meetings to help the younger veterinarians and students in the organization.

My main concern is centered on using the AASV meetings to further political agendas, especially when only one side of the issue is presented. One example that comes to mind is the PRRS eradication presentation at the 2006 AASV Annual Meeting that was followed by presentation of the official AASV position. Although nobody is against virtue and PRRS elimination is a noble goal, the presentations appeared to be more of a `sales pitch’ than a scientific or political discussion. Several people in attendance had reservations about the feasibility and cost of an elimination program coupled with the significant economic and production losses associated with PRRS elimination. However, no speakers were included on the agenda to present the opposite side of the argument. If we are going to use the AASV meeting to cover political issues in the future, speakers for both sides of the topic should be given equal time to present their points. A debate, rather than a one-sided sales pitch, would be more beneficial to the organization as a whole.”

From Sarah Probst-Miller

“I particularly like our theme this year (2007)! We work with a lot of good farms and it is so easy to get happy with being good. It’s definitely true that this contentment can keep us from becoming great. One topic I hope we will continue to address is the impact of subsidized ethanol production in the United States on the swine and poultry farmer. The dairy industry has a greater ability to utilize dried distillers’ grains. What are alternatives to help swine producers keep feed costs under control? An overview on alternative feed sources and impact on health and production would be a great topic. I also enjoy cost-of-production (COP) topics. Where do our producers need to be on overall COP to remain competitive in the United States and in the world? How can we best impact reducing COP? Reducing medication and vaccine costs? Increasing in certain cases? Case studies emphasizing impact on COP post implementation would be very good illustrations to help bring this home.”

From Tom Wetzell

“We need more discussions and guidance in the area of ethics as it applies to our daily consultant decisions. There are many 'gray’ areas in swine production medicine (and some that aren’t so gray) when it comes to recommendations we make to pork producers and the ethical versus unethical nature of those decisions. Helping us define the parameters we need to look at in regard to ethical recommendations and raising our awareness are very important in the current consumer-awareness environment. Methods to develop accountability groups may be one way to help us in continually looking at this value that should be at the core of our practice methods.”

From Lisa Tokach

“First off, I would never openly suggest less of anything since I have served on the Program Committee and even been the Program Chair. I know the great deal of effort that goes into putting a program together and I wouldn’t want to insult anyone by suggesting that theirs was not a good idea.

I would, however (tongue in cheek of course), suggest a complete breakout session entitled `PCVD: What’s a poor practitioner to do?’

1. Take that old clawfoot bathtub out of storage, let’s make some vaccine! Basics of backroom vaccine manufacturing.

2. Homemade vaccine recipes: A nostrum for the ails of schwein.

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Docked piglet tail, and tongue of dog,
Pig’s spleen, and blind-worm’s sting,
Aluminum hydroxide, and howlet’s wing, –
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

3. Vaccine lottery: a new game to play with your clients when you don’t have enough licensed circovirus vaccine to go around.

4. Reviewing our professional liability insurance: Now’s a good time!”

From Joe Connor

“I’d like to see more seminars and presentations on pen gestation, animal welfare, diagnostics, effective leadership, residue avoidance, food safety, and food-chain linkage.”

--Tracy Ann Raef