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and animal feed industries.
Poultry Health & Disease / Industry News & Trends
on May 2, 2016

Merial Avian Forum addresses poultry disease prevention

The event focused on meeting high demand for a safe, affordable source of protein

Merial, a global leader in animal health, hosted more than 500 participants at its 4th Merial Global Avian Forum in Barcelona to address opportunities in meeting the global demand for an abundant supply of safe and affordable source of protein. Poultry and egg producers, and top avian health scientists and experts from 70 countries shared information about solutions to efficiently prevent and control disease, strategies to increase productivity of poultry flocks and maximize efficiency of the poultry producers’ businesses.

The growth of the global population, and expanding middle class populations and incomes in many developing countries, will require more than 30 percent more animal protein worldwide by the year 2030. As a result, poultry producers are advancing their business models to deliver a greater quantity of healthy chicken meat at affordable prices. In a more complex and global environment, poultry production requires all-encompassing and evolving strategies that address infrastructure, production systems, disease prevention and sustainability.

“As vast, multi-national poultry producers strive to safely produce more protein than ever before, Merial works side by side with them in every region of the world, to improve the health and productivity of flocks and to increase the efficiency and profitability of their business,” said Jérôme Baudon, Global Head of the Avian Business at Merial. “The Merial Global Avian Forum is an extension of our on-the-ground veterinary expertise, technology and services in more than 85 countries. This meaningful opportunity for education and information exchange helps to advance poultry disease control efforts and productivity around the world.”

Presentations and workshops during the forum explored global and regional poultry management trends; the evolution of emerging and re-emerging avian diseases; and current and future diagnostics and vaccine technologies.

In an opening session, Rabobank Animal Protein Senior Analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder discussed the opportunity for producers to benefit from poultry being the fastest growing protein market, due to the low production costs, the health benefits of chicken meat, and consumer preference for affordability and convenience. He addressed the importance of production efficiency advances in light of the increasing pressures of global animal disease, supply and distribution challenges, food safety, animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Mulder also provided insight into the business models of the different regions and the import/export dynamics in a globalizing poultry industry.

Several interactive discussions focused on the prevalence—often with considerable differences in regions—and evolution of (re)emerging diseases in the world, including respiratory diseases, such as avian influenza, Newcastle disease virus (NDV), Marek’s disease, infectious bronchitis, mycoplasmosis and infectious laryngotracheitis, and digestive diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, coccidia, Histomonas and other parasites.

Other presentations examined strategies to prevent and control these highly endemic diseases, which have the potential to threaten entire flocks and cause significant quality, supply and economic losses. These sessions addressed a range of approaches to protect more birds from disease with greater convenience, less expense and reduced environmental impact.

Topics included:

  • Disease diagnostic and vaccine monitoring tools
  • Current and new vector vaccines in development
  • Vaccination delivery methods and equipment solutions
  • Hatchery automation and management techniques
  • Flock management, cleaning and disinfection

At the meeting, Merial announced updates on the use of its novel NeO effervescent tablet vaccine formulation, a simple, convenient and eco-friendly vaccine formulation that launched in September 2015. The NeO tablets are packaged in lightweight aluminum blisters and dissolved in water for spray, eye drop or drinking water administration, delivering enhanced convenience for the poultry farmers, safety for the birds and environmental benefits. The Avinew NeO effervescent tablet vaccine is already available in 16 countries for immunization against NDV and continues to be rolled out globally. Merial also presented a product Life Cycle Assessment study comparing the environmental impact of the NeO solution to the existing Avinew vial packaging by looking at resources, and carbon and water footprint indicators. In France, the NeO packaging reduced climate impact by 80 percent, decreased resources by 70 percent, and reduced water use by 70 percent as a result of a reduction in raw materials, cold storage, and freight and distribution. The study revealed that NeO packaging is less impacting regardless of geography, and that important savings are made for every life cycle stage.

The Merial Global Avian Forum also recognized the 10-year anniversary of Merial’s pioneering VAXXITEK® HVT+IBD vector vaccine used to protect flocks against Marek’s disease and Gumboro disease, two common yet threatening immunosuppressive diseases. Administered in the hatchery, the vaccine allows for immunization against both diseases with a single vaccine dose. It is one of several offerings supported by Merial’s pioneering VTS (VaccinationTechnology and Services) teams.

1 HVT = Herpesvirus of turkeys, used as a vector in the vaccine for prevention of Marek's disease. IBD = Infectious Bursal Disease. 
2 Rabobank. Crossroads for Growth. The International Poultry Sector towards 2020. Nan-Dirk Mulder. 

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