December 01, 2002


 Bovine practitioners gather in dairyland

Posted Nov. 15, 2002

A convention center overlooking Lake Monona in Madison, Wis., provided a tranquil setting for the 35th annual conference of the AABP, Sept. 26-28. The meeting in America's Dairyland teamed sessions on dairy, cow-calf, feedlot, and general cattle topics.

Registration totaled 2,144 and included 1,112 veterinarians, 203 students, and registrants from 17 foreign countries. Attendees could select from 365 hours of continuing education, with as many as 26 sessions running concurrently.

Board actions
According to AABP Executive Vice President James A. Jarrett, the AABP board of directors has authorized the Information Management Committee to report back on the feasibility of developing a year-round distance-learning program.

The board also endorsed a position statement on disabled livestock adopted by the AVMA in June (see related story) and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants' position statement on control and eradication of bovine viral diarrhea. The AVC position calls for the beef and dairy industries to adopt measures to control and target eventual eradication of BVDV from North America.

On recommendation of the Scholarship Committee, the board appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate the possibility and factors involved in establishing an AABP foundation.

The board allocated $3,000 for various AABP representatives to attend selected meetings of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues in 2003.

In student-related actions, the board increased support for student case presentations and converted the externship program to a line item (see page 1540).

At their business meeting, the AABP membership approved two bylaws changes.

The first change was initiated because of the realignment of AVMA Executive Board districts, the first phase of which was completed this past July. Until now, the AABP district structure has correlated with the AVMA's, according to AABP parliamentarian, Dr. M. Gatz Riddell. Following the new AVMA district structure, however, would have altered the AABP membership distribution. Therefore, the AABP replaced the bylaw that parallels the AVMA districts with one that delineates the states in each AABP district.

A second, minor bylaw change officially allows the AABP executive committee and board of directors to conduct business by electronic means such as fax and e-mail.

Since the conference, when membership had been down slightly, the AABP gained about 200 additional members, bringing the total to 6,140, which Dr. Jarrett said is stable. Over the past five years, it has remained constant in the 6,200 to 6,400 range.

Financial update
Despite the financial consequences of low attendance at the 2001 conference in Vancouver because of the events of Sept. 11, AABP treasurer, Dr. Mark Wustenberg, reported, "We're back into a (financial) situation where we're successfully strong."

Dr. Wustenberg acknowledged that those events "certainly had an impact on the financial as well as the other operations of the AABP. It affected revenue significantly." However, the decision of many commercial sponsors and preregistered members who couldn't attend the 2001 meeting not to request refunds had a "tremendous influence" on overall finances, he said. The treasurer does not anticipate that these contingencies will even impact the reserve fund the AABP has accumulated for such eventualities.

Collaboration with AASV
At the AABP business meeting, outgoing president, Dr. N. Kent Ames, noted the association's close working relationship with the AASV. Invited guest, Dr. Thomas Burkgren, executive director of the AASV, said, "One of our most important alliances as an association is the one we have with AABP." With issues such as animal welfare, animal rights, antimicrobial use, the environment, and waste management restrictions, he said, food animal production practices are being increasingly spotlighted. "I think we can expect a continued and certain increase restricting what we do on the farm. We don't have deep pockets. ... We have to learn how to leverage our strengths with each other and to continue our collaboration."

Dr. Roger K. Mahr
AVMA liaison to the AABP, Dr. Roger K. Mahr, addresses bovine practitioners.

Message from AVMA
Another invited guest, Dr. Roger K. Mahr, AVMA Executive Board member and liaison to the AABP, echoed the unity message: "Because the veterinary profession is a small profession, effective interrelationship between the various segments and organizations of our profession is very important." He praised the involvement of AABP and its members in addressing the issues confronting the profession. "The need for unity of our profession is particularly important as we address the agricultural issues related to veterinary medicine," he added, touching on bio/agro-terreorism and economic concerns.

Dr. Morgan McArthur
Dr. Morgan McArthur; 2001-2002 AABP president

The keynote
In his keynote address the first evening of the conference, Dr. Morgan McArthur, Auckland, New Zealand, renewed the message he has been carrying of late throughout the veterinary profession: the need for veterinarians to balance the professional and personal demands of practice.

His formula is first, to choose challenge, by moving from one's comfort zone to a learning zone. "Do something scary every day," Dr. McArthur exhorts. Second, choose connection, not only with family and colleagues but also by seeking new acquaintances. And third, embrace calamity, approaching life knowing that something positive always emerges from adversity.

Dr. McArthur's motto: If it isn't fun, it shouldn't be done.

Dr. N. Kent Ames
Dr. N. Kent Ames, received a standing ovation.

New officers and directors
Dr. N. Kent Ames, Michigan State University, received a standing ovation for his handling of the 2001 conference and complications stemming from Sept. 11. Before passing on the mantle of president, he talked about some of the work that lies ahead.

"We need to address continuing education and distance learning," he said. "We have approximately 20 percent of our membership at this meeting, but we must reach out to the other 80 percent. ..." He said the AABP is in the process of hiring an information technology coordinator who will put courses online.

Looking to the future of bovine practice, the educator underscored the need not only for the profession to review the process of educating and training, but also for individual food animal practitioners to mentor. "Each of us, as a member of the AABP, has an obligation to mentor the new person in the practice—the new graduate, and the young member of high school who wants to become a veterinarian."

Dr. Mark F. Spire
Dr. Mark F. Spire, AABP president-elect

Dr. Patty Scharko of the University of Kentucky ascended to the presidency (see profile), and Dr. Mark F. Spire of the Food Animal Health and Management Center at Kansas State University, to the office of president-elect.

Dr. Rich Meiring
Dr. Rich Meiring, newly elected vice president

Prior to the conference, AABP members elected as vice president Dr. Rich Meiring of The Ohio State University. He will leave the District 4 directorship, to which he had just been reelected.

Dr. Mark Wustenberg, Bay City, Ore., continues as treasurer. The board of directors appointed Dr. M. Gatz Riddell of Auburn University to his second three-year term as parliamentarian.

Dr. Sjoert Zuidhof, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, was elected director of District 13. This past spring, Dr. Randhal Lothrop, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, was elected to fill an uncompleted term as director of District 12.

Upcoming meetings
In 2003 the AABP will meet in Columbus, Ohio, from Sept. 18-20. Subsequent meetings are in Fort Worth, Texas, 2004; Salt Lake City, 2005; St. Paul, Minn., 2006; and Vancouver, British Columbia, 2007.

Dr. Emile Bouchard invited veterinarians to plan to attend the next World Buiatrics Congress, July 11-16, 2004 in Quebec. The meeting attracts veterinarians from 50 countries. Register for information at