President’s message

The National Pork Board launched their new marketing slogan at the Pork Forum, which also met in Phoenix, Arizona. The new slogan is “Pork: Be Inspired”. As I reflect on the forty-second Annual Meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, there are many reasons for veterinarians to be inspired.

An inspired person should be encouraged and motivated to do something. It is my hope that attending the annual meeting has given you some inspiration to return home and implement or use something that you learned by attending a session or workshop.

Dr Locke Karriker did an excellent job of outlining evidenced-based medicine and how it can apply to practicing veterinarians, industrial veterinarians, or academic veterinarians. The amount of data being generated today can be overwhelming. Being able to do a systematic review and filter out the pertinent studies, analyze these studies, and use them in our day-to-day activities is the ultimate use of science in practice. Dr Karriker challenged researchers to design proper studies and perform meta-analysis of previous studies and challenged practicing veterinarians to learn how to properly read research papers and distinguish good data from bad.

The Alex Hogg Lecture from Dr Joe Conner certainly should have inspired us to use our experience along with scientific studies to do what is right on the farm. The more we are able to access and apply science in practice, the better our clients are served. Dr Conner did an excellent job of explaining this and giving some real-life examples.

Animal well-being is an issue that we all face every day. As veterinarians and producers, we are responsible for the care and well-being of the animals under our care. We are constantly attacked by outside groups that challenge our facilities and practices. Ethology (the science of animal behavior) is a rapidly growing area of research, and Dr Anna Johnson gave us an example of how scientists are looking at how to measure and quantify animal pain and its effect on performance. Adding consideration for an animal’s natural behavior needs in the planning and research of facilities and practices is needed and will help us understand future changes that are better for the animal and sustainable for the producer.

Dr Wes Jameson gave us a very motivational talk on how our industry is being attacked and how we should respond to those attacks. He outlined first the way we are being attacked and how these groups are using guilt to get consumers to donate money that is being used in campaigns against our industry. We have to respond to these tactics to put our industry in a positive light.

I have carried you through the keynote talks from the Monday morning general session. Hopefully these talks gave you a big-picture idea of how our profession should embrace the use of science in practice and move toward evidence-based medicine in the future. There were many more presentations on more specific topics that were well conceived and well presented. The one session that sticks out for me this year and every year is the Student Seminar. If you were not “inspired” by the presentations of these young people, I am not sure what it will take. These students do a good job of designing, implementing, summarizing, and presenting projects they have been involved with. These are reviewed and the top papers presented. These young people do a tremendous job and should motivate us all to do a better job.

The AASV each year honors and recognizes five individuals who are truly outstanding members of our organization. It is indeed a very inspirational part of our meeting to honor these individuals and recognize their accomplishments and contributions to the AASV.

I have outlined the parts of the meeting that were inspirational and motivational for me. Hopefully they were for you as well. For this organization to be successful, we need members who are inspired to be involved as presenters, committee members, foundation donors, officers or directors, and advocates for our profession and the swine industry.

-- Randy Jones, DVM