This is my first message since the Annual Meeting of the AASP in St. Louis, Missouri. Judging by the comments I received and my evaluations of the scientific sessions I attended, the 30th Annual Meeting of the AASP was a success. The meeting was the result of the efforts and expertise of the members of the 1999 Scientific Program Planning Committee, including: Drs. Matt Ackerman, Glen Almond, Sandy Amass, Angela Baysinger, Tom Burkgren, Kirk Clark, Peter Davies, Scott Dee, John Deen, Robert Desrosiers, Mike Eisenmenger, Gene Erickson, Tom Fangman, Tim Loula, Dave Madsen, Jim McKean, Will Marsh, Paul Morris, Bob Morrison, Morgan Morrow, Larry Rueff, Paul Runnels, Tony Scheiber, Connie Schmidt, Sue Schulteis, Steve Sornsen, Greg Stevenson, Paul Sundberg, Brad Thacker, Rick Tubbs, Keith Wilson, and me. Each member of this committee deserves a special thanks from the AASP membership for providing us with this year's scientific meeting. I'd also like to extend a special thanks to Tom Burkgren and Sue Schulteis from the AASP office for their hard work and dedication in arranging this year's venue and providing all of the necessary support for the meeting to occur. In addition, I would like to thank Dr. Larry Rueff for his outstanding contribution as the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecturer. I extend the gratitude of the AASP to each speaker who presented. The quality of the presentations, the presenters' skills, and the session formats were impressive for learning and gaining an understanding of current technology and science. Thanks to Connie Schmidt for providing leadership and focus for the AASP Foundation (AASPF). The silent auction and the blood drive were examples of efforts to enhance the visibility of the AASPF. Additionally, fun days are planned for this year to promote the Foundation's goals and purpose. Thanks to all members who donated blood on behalf of the AASPF.
I admit that I don't usually attend sessions starting with the preconference workshops, the industrial partners sessions, and the student seminar sessions, and then continue with the sessions associated with the main meeting on Monday and Tuesday. I did this year, and it is quite a feat to sit and continue to learn when your backside aches. This year's attendance and participation by members of the AASP reinforces the mission of our organization to provide timely, relevant, scientific, and credible information. A total of 886 people attended this meeting. Individuals from 18 different countries were in attendance. Eighty-one percent of the attendees were from the United States and 19% were from outside the United States. Increased international participation is a trend that is likely to continue in the future.
There were 151 technical table representatives attending for 53 companies and organizations. The AASP thanks the Industrial Partners for their support of the AASP both at the meeting and during the year. I'd like to extend a special thanks to the Lilly Foundation for their gift in support of swine veterinary education by providing scholarship money to selected student presenters.
The swine industry in North America continues to change. Glenn Grimes and Chris Hurt told those in attendance that fundamental changes have occurred in several aspects of the pork industry. Integration of the pork chain and consolidation are likely to continue. Perhaps no segment of the swine industry is immune to the changes sweeping across North America. Production, swine practice, the packing industry, animal health suppliers, processors, and the retail grocery industry are all affected. Human nature tends to resist change. Fortunately, many members of the AASP are qualified to adapt to the changing swine industry, and many members are leading participants in these changes.
There are many critical issues facing the swine industry and AASP members. Your involvement is required to assure that swine practitioner's views are heard. Hopefully, scientific thinking and processes will continue to be a part of the debate and the industry. The power of the media to influence public opinion and to promote an agenda supported by journalists, producers, editors, environmentalists, or other special interests require that we actively participate in the debate. In addition, we need to become educated on how the media works, and more savvy about the use of it. Many of the topics of this year's meeting will remain for further discussion and presentation in the future. Certainly issues such as antibiotic resistance transfer, use of antibiotics in animals, food safety, foreign animal diseases, environmental concerns, pork quality assurance, swine health, swine disease, use of new and existing diagnostic methodologies, and consolidation of the swine industry are relevant for the foreseeable future.
Dr. Tom Burkgren, Executive Director of AASP, and the other members of the Executive Committee are ready to assist. Please let us know how we can help.
-- Allan Scheidt