Conference zeros in on humane handling, threats to agriculture
As veterinarians took advantage of some 320 hours of continuing education at the American Association of Bovine Practitioners' annual conference, Sept. 22-25 in Fort Worth, Texas, leaders planned for the approaching transition to a new CEO.
In August, Dr. Jim Jarrett announced he would retire as AABP executive vice president Jan. 1, 2005. He has held the post for 11 years.
A nationwide search committee charged with finding Dr. Jarrett's successor convened for the first time in Fort Worth. The committee is working with a consultant and hopes to fill the position by March.
The 37th annual conference drew 1,937 attendees from the United States, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom to its seminars, clinical forums, and sessions on dairy, cow-calf, feedlot, and general cattle topics.
Two areas of concentration at the general sessions were threats to animal agriculture, and low-stress cattle handling. According to Dr. Rich Meiring, program chair and incoming president, emerging diseases and threats to agriculture interest a large segment of the membership. The dairy and beef sessions focused on the latest information about common problems seen by practitioners.
Collaborations with the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners and a regional veterinary symposium broadened the CE experience. For the first time, the AASRP presented small ruminant/camelid topics at the AABP conference. Peggy Logsdon of the AASRP said the sessions were extremely successful, the commercial exhibit generated 14 memberships, and the AASRP hopes to continue the partnership.
Mixed practitioners could attend small animal presentations at the Southwest Veterinary Symposium in nearby Grapevine, Texas, and the AABP meeting added a large animal component for symposium attendees.
Dr. Jarrett reported that membership was at 5,921 and has remained at the 6,000 level for about two years. He encouraged each member to become an ambassador and sign up a new member this coming year.
The AABP presented awards to the top three student case presenters: Joy Lesher (OSU '05), first place; Andrea Starkey (PUR '05), second place; and Israel Isenberg (COR '04), third place. The top research poster and oral presentation by graduate students were also recognized.
At the opening session, Schering-Plough Animal Health presented five veterinary students with $1,000 stipends and plaques. They were recipients of the first annual AABP/SPAH Student Recognition Award, for outstanding academic performance during their first three years of veterinary school, and proven interest in food supply veterinary medicine. Recipients were Lori Lenihan (PEI '05), Joy Lesher (OSU '05), Lincoln Mumford (WIS '05), Kasey Osborn (COR '05), and Bret White (OKL '05).
Keynote by Coach Stallings
Keynoting the AABP conference, celebrated football coach Gene Stallings talked about his admiration for veterinarians. The retired coach shared stories of veterinarians he has come to know at the Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine and as owner of a ranch near Paris, Texas.
Stallings, known for his ability to motivate players, was head coach for the Texas A&M Aggies and then the St. Louis (now, Arizona) Cardinals. Returning in 1990 to the University of Alabama, where he had begun his career, he led the Crimson Tide to five bowl appearances, winning four.
"The real pleasure I had in coaching was to see that player get that degree ... and know (I) had a little something to do with it," Stallings said.
It takes a long time to become a good veterinarian, he went on, and every year, clients' expectations increase. Veterinarians must keep current in knowledge and techniques.
"Somewhere along the line, you as veterinarians and I as a football coach have to improve ourselves professionally. There's no substitute for knowledge," Stallings said.
The motivator challenged veterinarians, "Do the best you can with what you've got. Everyone in this room can't be the best vet, but be the best vet you can possibly be."
Take risks, he added. "Hiring someone when you don't know if you can afford it (and even) working on a bad cow is a risk."
Have genuine appreciation for those in supporting roles. "If I'm a vet, I want to appreciate the techs, the people who keep the cages clean, the person who goes out and does the brucellosis testing," Stallings said. "It was real obvious you appreciate the job Jim (Jarrett) did over these years."
Board, committee actions
The board adopted a statement disqualifying companies that produce, advertise, or promote drug compounding for food animals from exhibiting or advertising in AABP publications or electronic media. The Committee on Pharmaceutical and Biological Issues recommended the action.
For the Food Supply Veterinary Medicine Coalition, Dr. Roger Saltman reported that the Andrus group from Kansas State University has begun initial survey work on the FSVMC/Bayer Study into the demand for, and availability of, food supply veterinarians in the United States and Canada. It will also address student recruitment and selection, retention of students and veterinarians, and training of food supply veterinarians.
The AABP Animal Welfare Committee reported on the association's activities within the new Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (see page 1508). AABP representatives on the PAACO board of directors are Dr. James Reynolds, PAACO secretary; Dr. Darcie Stoltz, member of the Standards and Qualifications Committee; and Dr. Jan Shearer, co-chair of the Training Committee.
The AABP formed an ad hoc committee on bovine viral diarrhea virus during the conference. Chaired by Dr. Scott Smith, Greeley, Colo., the committee will help AABP members develop control strategies. The committee will also work with other associations —including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Academy of Veterinary Consultants, and American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians—to produce educational materials for practitioners and their clients.
This past year, the AABP collaborated with the University of Illinois on its first distance education, an online course on dairy nutrition. The association plans to expand the successful course. The AABP program chair and the Internet technical coordinator will coordinate distance learning.
For several years, the AABP has funded two-week externships for students interested in food animal medicine. These externships take place anytime during the year and are available to any student AABP member enrolled in veterinary college. On average, 20 externships are funded each year. This year, the AABP also began sponsoring 30 $500 grants for graduating students enrolled in continuing education programs.
The Amstutz Scholarship Committee announced the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation has extended for three more years its commitment to provide scholarship support to the AABP and American Association of Swine Veterinarians through Elanco Animal Health. Lilly expanded its annual grant from $35,000 to $50,000. Sixty percent is designated for AABP scholarships and 40 percent for AASV scholarships. In 2004, 20 students entering their third year each received a $1,750 scholarship from the AABP, funded primarily through the Lilly grant and secondarily by AABP member donations.
Messages from AVMA, AASV
AVMA President Bonnie Beaver told veterinarians at the AABP business meeting that as members of the Food Supply Veterinary Medicine Coalition, the AVMA and AABP are among the organizations co-sponsoring the FSVMC/Bayer Study to find ways to attract young people into the profession to serve the large animal area.
She briefed them on the six current AVMA task forces, which address state legislative and regulatory initiatives, communications, the legal status of animals, housing of pregnant sows, constitution and bylaws, and a model mentoring program. Referring to the latter, Dr. Beaver directed them to http://mentoring.avma.org, saying, "Every one of you needs to sign on to this mentoring program ... if we want to attract more young people into large animal practice."
Dr. Beaver intends to find ways to work with each animal organization such as the AABP to be proactive in addressing issues.
Dr. John Waddell, president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, said, "Swine veterinarians and bovine practitioners go back a long way." He said they provide a lot of leadership in AVMA and federal government activities.
"As I've come up through the ranks and filled some of those roles, I often run into bovine practitioners along the way—and always at the top," Dr. Waddell said. That strong leadership has enabled food supply veterinarians to move forward on issues of concern to AASV and AABP, he said.
New officers and directors
Dr. Rich Meiring, The Ohio State University, ascended to the presidency, succeeding Dr. Mark F. Spire, Kansas State University. Dr. John Ferry, Adams, N.Y., assumed the office of president-elect.
Prior to the conference, AABP members elected Dr. Charlie Hatcher, College Grove, Tenn., as vice president; Dr. Art Donovan, Gainesville, Fla., as District 3 director; Dr. Bill Seglar, Johnston, Iowa, as District 6 director; and Dr. John Schnackel, Fort Collins, Colo., as District 9 director.
Dr. Mark Wustenburg, Bay City, Ore., continues as treasurer, and Dr. M. Gatz Riddell, Auburn University, as parliamentarian.
Outgoing president, Dr. Mark F. Spire, Kansas State University, challenged AABP members to do three things: recruit a member to the AABP, tutor a veterinary student or new practitioner, and work to become an information broker, sharing knowledge with clients, friends, and fellow practitioners.