Advocacy in action
Committees meet in Denver

Thirteen issue-based committees met during the 2017 American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) 48th Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. The AASV Board of Directors establishes the committees to address specific issues associated with swine veterinary medicine and provide recommendations for actions to the AASV leadership. In addition to being an integral part of the leadership structure within AASV, the committees also serve as a great way for members to participate in developing positions for the association, learn about a particular issue, and meet other members. Over 190 AASV members volunteer to serve on at least one committee. That’s a lot of experience focused on the issues of swine health, well-being, and production.

The following are some key highlights from the committee meetings:

  • The Nutrition Committee discussed the implementation of the recent changes to the Veterinary Feed Directive from the perspective of the feed manufacturers, veterinarians, and nutritionists. Overall, it appears the process has gone pretty smoothly, with most of the challenges logistic in nature. The committee also considered reports on increasing uterine prolapses possibly tied to mycotoxins. There is an on-going study to further evaluate potential etiologies.
  • The Student Recruitment Committee is requesting funding from the AASV board to continue hosting the Swine Medicine Talks series, along with the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine (ISU CVM) Swine Medicine Education Center and the ISU CVM AASV Student Chapter. The Swine Medicine Talks is a three-part live-streamed lecture series with expert speakers representing a wide range of topics.
  • The Boar Stud Committee is forming an ad hoc working group in collaboration with the Pig Welfare Committee to consider recommendations for the humane euthanasia of large boars, cull boar transportation concerns, and stall sizes to accommodate today’s commercial boars.
  • The Influenza Committee is emphasizing the importance of continued participation in the USDA’s Influenza Surveillance Program by all swine veterinarians and National Animal Health Laboratory Network laboratories. In addition, the committee formed two working groups. The Surveillance Working Group will work with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to promote and facilitate obtaining influenza A viruses from the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory repository for use as diagnostic reagents and vaccine candidates, and for research purposes and to increase AASV membership awareness of the repository. The Vaccine Working Group will consider making recommendations on vaccines for show pigs.
  • The focus of the Communications Committee in 2017 is on encouraging increased membership use of the student podcasts posted on the AASV Web site and is continuing to work with the ISU Swine Medicine Education Center to improve the AASV Image Library.
  • The Committee on Transboundary and Emerging Diseases (CTED) met for the first time at the annual meeting. Following the 2016 annual meeting, the AASV Board combined the Foreign Animal Disease and Swine Health Committees to form the CTED. The committee is planning to focus attention on the issue of maintaining business continuity in the face of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak. To this end, the committee members expressed support for the validation of oral fluids for FAD diagnostics, the formation of a Business Continuity Guidance Group to promote the overall business continuity plan, and continued input into the Secure Pork Supply Risk Assessment process.
  • The Human Health and Safety Committee established three objectives for 2017: to increase awareness among the AASV membership of the top public health topics of concern as identified by the committee, to develop and provide educational and awareness materials to the AASV membership on best practices for minimizing influenza transmission, and to promote active membership and attendance at the 2018 Human Health and Safety Committee meeting.
  • The Operation Main Street (OMS) Committee encourages more AASV veterinarians to become OMS trained and participate in the program, which makes veterinarians available to academic and civic groups for presentations describing modern swine production. The OMS coordinators will be focusing on meeting with groups such as dieticians, managers of school nutrition programs, state grocery associations, and food wholesalers in 2017.
  • The Production Animal Disease Risk Assessment Program (PADRAP) Advisory Committee noted that the attendance at this year’s training session on Saturday morning was the largest ever, with over 25 participants “sitting in” to learn about the program. While over 40% of the US breeding herd has been assessed at least once, current use of the program is low. The committee is trying to find additional funding sources to support PADRAP going forward.
  • The Pharmaceutical Issues Committee was particularly busy this year considering the development of an antibiotic database as a resource for AASV members, offering direction into the formation of comments in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s effort to establish durations of use for medically important antibiotics, exploring the issue of antibiotic use in young piglets, and providing some guidance on the development of a document describing prevention use of antibiotics. In addition, the committee formed a working group to attempt to define prevention uses of antibiotics in swine medicine.
  • The Pork Safety Committee discussed the recent outbreak of salmonellosis in Washington state, physical hazards in pork, and the need to raise awareness of the AASV membership regarding the potential risk associated with toxoplasmosis.
  • The main initiative of the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) Task Force continues to be the development of the PRRS virus (PRRSV) Eradication framework document. The next step includes sharing the document with other committees and then identifying a region or area willing to review the document and, ideally, pilot it to determine its effectiveness and identify additional gaps. The task force will also work on developing “guidance documents” describing how to achieve some of the points left undefined in the framework document.
  • The Pig Welfare Committee developed three working groups to 1) work with the Boar Stud Committee on boar-associated welfare issues, 2) evaluate whether a wording adjustment on the sow housing position statement is necessary to specifically address farrowing stalls for sows and suckling piglets, and 3) develop “guidelines of success” for producers and companies who are considering moving to antibiotic-free production.

The committees are an integral part of the AASV leadership and we appreciate all the efforts of the volunteer members. If you are interested in learning more about the committee activities, visit the committee Web pages on the AASV Web site ( Contact the committee chair or the AASV office to join a committee.

Harry Snelson, DVM
Director of Communications