K. Ashley (PhD student)
The Mekong Livestock Research team recently travelled to Cairns to attend the XXVII World Buiatrics Congress from the 27th of July to the 1st August 2014. Hosted by the Australian Cattle Veterinarians (ACV), a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association, the World Buiatrics Congress is the official gathering of the World Association of Buiatrics. Founded at the 2nd International Congress on Cattle Disease in Vienna, Austria, in May 1962, the World Buiatrics Association aims ‘to promote goodwill and knowledge within the international veterinary community by exchanging and discussing scientific, cultural and personal experiences within the framework of the World Association for Buiatrics.
‘Buiatrics’ is the study of cattle and their diseases and the ACV invited a wide range of speakers from various disciplines from all across the world. From advances in the prevention and treatment of Bovine Respiratory Disease to live weight production in extensively managed beef breeding herds and the control of paratuberculosis, the topics were interesting and engaging. Highlights of the program included a keynote presentation from our team leader Prof. Peter Windsor on farmer applied management for husbandry procedures and a revolution in attitudes to livestock welfare and another excellent presentation on his perspectives surrounding the management of paratuberculosis in Australia.
On the last day of the congress the Mekong Livestock Research team held a joint session to present our combined Food Security themed research. Prof. Windsor presented an interesting talk on harnessing the smallholder ruminant resource in developing countries followed by an informative presentation by Dr Russell Bush on his experiences engaging smallholder producers in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Pakistan. We then heard from Jim Young who presented a benefit-cost analysis of foot-and-mouth disease control in large ruminants in Cambodia, followed by Sonevilay Nampanya communicating his work on using information on the financial impact of FMD on smallholder households to improve disease outbreak management in Laos. I also had the opportunity to present my honours work on the socio-economic impact of improved forage availability and animal health knowledge on cattle production systems in Cambodia.
At the conclusion of the joint session, the MLR team held a Q&A panel session and received a number of excellent questions from an enthusiastic audience. Audience members were keen to find out more about the smallholder production systems that we work with in Cambodia and Laos and our strategies to address the challenges that they face such as inadequate nutrition and high susceptibility to disease. All in all the session was a great success and the team came away extremely pleased with the response that we received from the audience. With the next World Buiatrics Congress being held in Ireland in 2016, the team are busy continuing our work advancing smallholder livestock production and health in the Mekong region and look forward to promoting our research once again on the world stage.