XXIV Panamerican Congress of Veterinary Science (PANVET 2014)

Vittoria Lucia Barile
Animal Production Research Centre (CRA-PCM) of Rome (Italy)

La Havana, Cuba, hosted the XXIV Panamerican Congress of Veterinary Science (PANVET 2014) from the 6 to the 9 October, receiving researchers, specialists, professors, businessmen, technicians, students, farming producers from all over the world. The event was held under the theme “Integration”, whose main objective was to promote the progress of science and veterinary practice, and to contribute to the connection among the veterinary associations and stimulate the exchange of technology among Latin American countries.

“The social role of Veterinary Science has a decisive impact on the wealth of each nation and is crucial in maintaining public health. The inspection of food of animal origin and the prevention of animal diseases transmissible to humans, for example, are so special aspects that everything is done in this regard will affect the benefit of the nations”. Beatriz Amaro, president of the organizing committee, stressed this aspect in her welcoming speech.

Out from Cuba, delegates from 23 regional countries attended the congress. Most of them were form Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Mexico, Perù, Republica Dominicana, Uruguay, Salvador, Venezuela) but representatives of Angola, Canada, Italy, Libya, Spain, Turkey, UK, were also there. The presence of these countries further enrich the conference, despite being regional, aimed to connect professionals from all regions of the planet, as Luis Zarco, president of the executive committee of PANVET, said in his address during the opening ceremony.

Besides hosting the different veterinarian organization of North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, PANVET was attended by delegations belonging to the African and Asian associations of Veterinary Science. The conference also involved the president and vice president of the World Veterinary Association, Faouzi Kechrid and Johnson Chiang, respectively, among other well-recognized academics.

Similarly, international institutions such as the World Health Organization and the World Animal Protection Organization attended the congress. Melania Gamboa, representative of World Animal Protection said in the congress that the vet is an essential link in working with threatened species, and should be the first professional to assume an ethical responsibility to keep watch over the animals.

Important keynotes were done by Sarah Khan, a representative for the Americas of the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health), which stressed the need of good governance of the animal – man interface with effective collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, and by Tomás Gutiérrez, expert on issues of climate change, which gave details about the climatological situation in 2014 and the adaptation measures that countries will take to reduce the negative effects.

In total 1330 research papers were presented in 20 sessions (History of Veterinary Medicine; Veterinary Education; Management of Disaster; Natural Medicine and Bioenergetics; Production and Health of Aquatic Organisms; Animal Production, Feeding and Genetic; Reproduction; Vet Pathology; Animal Health; Vet Microbiology; Laboratory animals; Wild animals; Vet Public Health; Food Safety; Clinic and Surgery; Parasitology; Epidemiology; Production, Regulation and Quality of Biological Products for veterinary use; Animal Welfare; Animal-assisted Therapy).

Dr Vittoria Lucia Barile participated as invited speaker with a main lecture on “Reproduction in buffalo” introduced by Dr Alina Mitat chairman of the section Animal Reproduction. An overview on the main aspects of reproductive activity that in turn influence the productivity of the species has been presented. The lecture addressed the issues related to: puberty, seasonality, post-partum anoestrus, and oestrus cycle. Current knowledge of the basic pattern of changes in hormone profile during the oestrus cycle and the basic pattern of follicle development, have been illustrated together with hormonal and management techniques for improving reproductive efficiency. Particularly, the lecture stressed the necessity to point out attention to the management of the heifers: pre-weaning and weaning systems, dietary energy level, pasture utilization; aspects that are important in promoting growth and achieving puberty. Moreover, different hormonal treatments were compared when utilized in controlled breeding techniques to: anticipate puberty in order to reduce the age at first calving; improve fertility in the low breeding season; increase the effectiveness of AI programs by overcoming the problem of difficult oestrus detection.

Very interesting have been the “Buffalo Breeding Committee” works, that point out the importance that the breeding of this species are taking on in the recent years particularly in Southern America and Caribbean country. Presentations on the state of buffalo breeding in Americas and in Cuba were given by Dr Julio César Alonso, Dr Alina Mitat and Dr Luis Fraga. Buffalo was introduced in the American continent at the end of the 19th century to be utilized as draught animal in the palm and sugarcane plantations. Later, buffalo was also utilized for meat production utilizing the large areas of natural pasture. Most of the breeds belonging to the Swamp type and the Bufalypso (crossbred between Carabao and different River type breeds) is still the mainly breed present in the Caribbean and the continental countries of Central America. In the last years, the interest in buffalo as dairy animal has been increased and programs to improve dairy production has been undertaken. Dairy breeds, mainly Murrah and Italian Mediterranean, are now present in different countries either in the Southern or in the Northern America. In Cuba, also, there is the intention to increase the dairy industry. Buffalos showed high adaptability to the Cuban climate and its rearing contributes to achieve national balance. The Cuban economy promotes buffalo raising in several areas in the country, as an alternative to improve food supply to the domestic market. In general, buffaloes are mainly raised in areas where conditions are not adequate for other bovines as the floated areas and the aim is to expand the buffalo breeding to all the 14 provinces.

During the event important contacts with the main organization of the agricultural sector in Cuba were made:

  • ICA- Instituto de Ciencia Animal
  • Universidad Agraria de la Habana
  • CENSA: Centro Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria
  • CIMAGT: Centro de Investigaciones para el Mejoramiento Animal de la Ganadería Tropical

Discussion on possible agreements to undertake research work, training, students and researches exchange between Universities or Research Centres involved in buffalo breeding, with the involvement of IBF (International Buffalo Federation) were made.

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