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"Our motto is 'Working together to feed the world,' and our main focus is the promotion of poultry science through the dissemination of information under the pillars of research, education and organization," Dr. Bob Pym, Australia, World’s Poultry Science Association president 2008-2012.
The World’s Poultry Science Association celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The International Association of Poultry Instructors was founded at a meeting in London in July 1912. The organization later became known as the World’s Poultry Science Association in 1928, but it was not until 1946 that national branches in the UK and U.S. were formed. There are now some 80 country branches, with an additional four countries presently in the process of forming a branch and more than 7,500 members of the association.
There are two regional federations of the association - the European Federation and the Asian Pacific Federation. One of the important activities of the federations has been the development of working groups in specific discipline areas.
The European Federation has 11 working groups: Economics and Marketing, Nutrition, Breeding and Genetics, Egg Quality, Poultry Meat Quality, Reproduction, Hygiene and Pathology, Poultry Welfare and Management, Turkeys, Education and Information, and Physiology. The more recently formed Asian Pacific Federation has three working groups on Small-Scale Family Poultry Farming, Water Fowl and Ratites. All of these working groups organize periodic symposia.
The motto of the association is “Working together to feed the world,” and its main focus is the promotion of poultry science through the dissemination of information under the pillars of research, education and organization.
To this end, country branches organize local, regional and national meetings on a variety of topics and for different groupings according to topic and level of presentation. Federation working groups organize symposia, usually every two or four years, and the federations organize their multi-disciplinary regional poultry conferences every four years.
The flagship meetings of the association are the multidisciplinary World’s Poultry Congresses held every four years. In addition to the large and comprehensive technical program, the congresses include a major poultry trade exposition.
The association produces a quarterly journal, World’s Poultry Science Journal, which publishes review articles covering a variety of disciplines associated with poultry production.
The journal is highly regarded by the industry and research community. Members of the World’s Poultry Science Association receive either a hard or electronic copy of the journal every three months.
Programs and awards
The World’s Poultry Science Association has developed a number of programs and awards in keeping with its mandate of facilitating poultry research and education globally.
The Travel Grants Scheme provides support for young researchers, students and others to attend association-sponsored meetings in other countries. The awardees must be 40 years old or younger and to have been a member of the association for a specified period. The award is open to applicants from all countries.
The Speakers Bureau Scheme was set up to provide funding to cover travel costs of speakers at meetings organized by association branches in developing countries. The airfares of the approved speakers, up to two speakers per meeting, are covered. At its annual meeting in Cesme, Turkey in November 2011, the World’s Poultry Science Association Board voted to extend the scheme to include meetings in developed countries.
There are a number of awards established by the association, which recognize exceptional contribution to the organization, poultry science and/or the worldwide poultry industry. These include: the MacDougall Medal, induction into the World’s Poultry Science Association International Poultry Hall of Fame, and the Research, Education and Organisation awards made by the Foundation for Promoting Poultry Science of the Netherlands branch of the World’s Poultry Science Association. The winners of the Netherlands branch awards and the inductees into the International Poultry Hall of Fame are announced at each World’s Poultry Congress.
Support for poultry production in developing countries
The majority of the projected increase in global poultry meat and egg production and consumption over the next 20 or more years will take place in developing countries. It is thus appropriate that the association’s focus should be on facilitating efficient and sustainable poultry production in these countries.
"The World’s Poultry Science Association has played a phenomenal role in promoting research in various aspects of poultry science, and the process, brought about innumerable benefits to the industry all over the world. If I were to point to just one, I would say it is the dissemination of knowledge and bringing the fruits of research within the reach of developing countries, thereby providing a major boost to the poultry industry worldwide," Mrs. Anuradha J. Desai, India, World’s Poultry Science Association president 1996-2000.
Over the past decade or so, the World’s Poultry Science Association has been actively involved in supporting poultry science and education in developing countries through: the incorporation of the International Network for Family Poultry Development as a global working group of the association; the establishment of the Asian Pacific Federation Working Group on small-scale family poultry farming; the organization at numerous poultry conferences in developing countries of workshops and symposia focused on defining constraints to development of the national poultry industry; the establishment of the Mediterranean Poultry Network; and more recently, the establishment of the (sub-Saharan) African Poultry Network.
Socially equitable, sustainable poultry production
Despite the obvious enormous success of the poultry industry in the efficient production of poultry meat and eggs for the burgeoning global population, concerns have emerged on a number of fronts. From society and consumers in developed and developing countries, there have been expressions of concern about health threats from diseases, food safety and quality, animal welfare and the impact of production on the environment.
In more recent times concerns have been expressed about the loss of biodiversity and the marginalization and disenfranchisement of small-scale commercial producers in developing countries arising from competition with large-scale commercial operations.
In his keynote address “Emerging boundaries for poultry production: Challenges, opportunities and dangers” at the 23rd World’s Poultry Congress in Brisbane in 2008, Dr. John Hodges challenged the poultry industry to examine its practices from sustainability and social equity perspectives. The challenge was taken up and a think-tank meeting to discuss sustainability and social equity issues relating to developments in global poultry production, was organized in Freising, Germany in 2009, with representation from the World’s Poultry Science Association, the U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization and from a number of the global breeding companies.
An important driver for industry participation in the think tank was the acknowledged need by the industry to identify genuine areas of societal concern that require being addressed or rectified. There is a generally recognized need by industry for better and more open communication with consumers, ideally through a mechanism that is perceived generally by society as being authoritative and objective, for providing accurate information about industry practices, to publicize positive features and developments within the industry as well as measures taken to overcome problems, and to debunk misinformation.
At the think tank, participants were initially asked to list their own and perceived societal concerns about poultry production. From the responses, the main focus would appear to be directed towards large-scale poultry production systems in developed and developing countries, as these are seen as the main contributors to production of poultry meat and eggs globally and as the ‘models’ adopted by the industry in developing countries. There was good evidence for societal concern about the impact of replacement of existing production systems in developing countries and about practices in all production systems.
The following specific concerns were listed:
It was generally accepted that, irrespective of the objectivity of the reasoning behind such expressions of concern, the industry needed to deal with these issues. It was acknowledged that significant improvements have been made and continue to be made by the poultry industry in many of the areas, e.g. in bird health and welfare, environmental impact and in product safety, but these are all still areas of ongoing societal concern. The challenge here is to address and rectify the areas that require attention, and to counter unwarranted criticism with objective and reasoned argument.
One of the outcomes from the think tank was the recognition of the need for input from a much wider array of stakeholders than present at Freising. The FAO representatives at the meeting undertook the task of arranging this and organized a special one-day session at the European Poultry Conference in Tours, France in 2010. This process is continuing with involvement from the World’s Poultry Science Association.
Relationship with the World Veterinary Poultry Association
Over the past four or more years, there has been ongoing dialogue between the World’s Poultry Science Association and the World Veterinary Poultry Association about bringing the associations closer together. It was felt by some that there would be considerable merit in running joint meetings, even joint world congresses. A particular benefit of this would be the opportunity to run multidisciplinary sessions focused on multifactorial problems. One of the particular constraints for combining the world congresses of the two organizations is the inherent structure within each organization associated with the determination of the country and venue of forthcoming meetings.
Issues relating to poultry health are not the exclusive province of the World Veterinary Poultry Association. Most health issues and problems are multifactorial and the World’s Poultry Science Association historically has demonstrated a keen interest and involvement in promoting discussion of these problems. The involvement of poultry health professionals is, of course, fundamental to this. In many developing countries, the issue which stimulates producers and others to seek assistance and advice is frequently related to bird health problems. This collective action often results in the formation of a branch of either of the associations in the country.
In northern Africa, the World Veterinary Poultry Association is relatively well represented in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, whereas apart from Egypt, the World’s Poultry Science Association is not. One of the aims of establishing the Mediterranean Poultry Network within the World’s Poultry Science Association, was to facilitate the development of its branches in that region through collaboration with the World Veterinary Poultry Association. This has been somewhat interrupted by recent developments there with the Arab Spring uprisings.
There are other ways in which the two organizations can interact and collaborate and I look forward to discussions with my good friend and colleague, Dr. Trevor Bagust, the recently appointed president of Australian Veterinary Poultry Association, to explore opportunities for a closer relationship between the two organizations.
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“Over the last 20 years, we have worked hard to increase membership and grow our interest in the developing world. The sophistication of the poultry industry has increased as has the interest in scientific results, yet research has become more complex and expensive. The world poultry congresses, the continental congresses and the working group conferences and workshops are good platforms to discuss scientific results. Contact between the World’s Poultry Science Association and the poultry industry has increased, we are now able to carry out more projects for it," Piet Simons, the Netherlands, World’s Poultry Science Association president 1992-1996.
"Over the next 10-20 years, the World’s Poultry Science Association must consolidate its position, emphasizing its role and collaborate with the FAO in order to support actions to eradicate hunger in developing countries," Professor Jose Castello Llobet, Spain, World’s Poultry Science Association president 1970-1974.
"Animal protein is one of the prime demands of emerging middle class consumers in the expanding economies. Eggs and poultry meat are the most efficient way of delivering expanding volumes. Research will concentrate on developing new and improved methods of production, health and quality assurance. Consumers are trying to set the clock back to the 1940s with their demands for 'organic', 'natural', 'farm fresh' and other marketing gimmicks. We have to find ways to assure them that the products of our industry are wholesome and healthy and that large-scale, efficient production is the best way to satisfy demand for food," Dr. Peter Hunton, Canada, World’s Poultry Science Association president 2000-2004.
"Poultry is more environmentally friendly than other branches of animal husbandry. It is also more convenient for scientific research. The main products of poultry meat and eggs are indispensable, and their necessity for human health has been undeniably recognized," Professor Ruvede Akbay, Turkey, World's Poultry Science Association president 2004-2008.
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