Veterinary and non-veterinary delegates of the British Veterinary Poultry Association recently attended their summer meeting, hosted and sponsored by Aviagen. The event, aimed at summarizing recent findings within the poultry veterinary sector, took place in the Budongo Lecture Theater at Edinburgh Zoo in Edinburgh, Scotland. Aviagen is United States-based poultry breeder.

The meeting highlighted the important role the veterinary profession has played in the expansion of the poultry industry. Within two decades, veterinarians have gone from being seen as dealing with somewhat inferior breeds to being at the forefront of development and specialization within the veterinary profession.   

"Chicken makes up such a large part of the growing population's protein source, so it is critical that the industry and vets work together to ensure optimal productivity and welfare within this highly intensive business. Poultry veterinarians are seen by poultry producing companies as the custodians of their birds' welfare, and this, along with efficient production, are integrally linked to bird health," said Keith Warner, president of the British Veterinary Poultry Association.

Delegates heard from a variety of speakers. Aviagen's United Kingdom Breeding Director, Jim McAdam, gave an overview of the tools his team uses as part of the selective breeding process. Simon Girling from Edinburgh Zoo also discussed the role of the zoo vet in relation to avian species.

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The challenges faced by the poultry industry and vets remained a key topic. Aviagen microbiologist Fraser Gormley held a discussion on extended-spectrum beta-lactamases, chemicals produced by bacteria that break down antibiotics, and campylobacter. Compartmentalization, the initiative pioneered in Europe by the United Kingdom and first adopted by Aviagen, was also discussed.

Warner added, "Meetings such as this bring together like minded people, who are involved and intensely interested in poultry health and welfare, and the industry. A significant number of attendees are scientists at the forefront of international research, and by coming together, we were able to share knowledge, get advice and develop ourselves.

"In doing so, we help to ensure we and other players within the British poultry industry like Aviagen remain relevant and significant to the field of international poultry science."