A strong contingent from the UK, including eight Council Members, attended the XXI World's Poultry Congress in Montreal in August. Paul Hocking reports:
Did the UK Branch get the 2008 World's Poultry Congress?
Round one: the first vote secured 47% for Salvador, Brazil, 42% for Brisbane, Australia and 11% for Glasgow, Scotland - a large party of Brazilians leapt to their feet clapping and cheering while everyone else, without exception, sat impassively glued to their seats with expressionless faces. On the second round, all the votes for the UK were given to the Aussies who celebrated with dignified Anglo-Saxon decorum: score 53% Brisbane, 47% Salvador.
We were told that the UK President, Prof. Sally Solomon, made by far the best presentation and the video was arguably the best also. The decision to go to the southern hemisphere was largely expected and justified and we were left wondering why the UK Branch had to go as far as Montreal. Though far better than last time there is still much room for improvement in the selection process.
The congress opened with two keynote addresses. The WPSA Lecture was given by Bob Etches, previously at Guelph and now in the commercial sector. He spoke about novel uses of genetics in the poultry industry, although most of his examples came from old-fashioned Mendelian genetics.
Gwynne Dyer gave an exceptionally informative and entertaining Keynote Address on the Politics of Food. One hopes that the text might appear in the Journal or in some other readily accessible form as neither of these two key papers were available at the Congress. Gwynne spoke on the balance between population growth and food in the next 50 years (well - should see me out!). In a perceptive lecture he stressed the importance of understanding and managing public perception and concerns. He noted that the three most important areas were currently the issue of economic imperialism (e.g. Monsanto), concern for the environment and health issues.
A large number of posters and papers were presented and abstracts are available in CD form. The juxtaposition of the US Poultry Science Association meeting and the Marek's Disease Symposium seemed to work. The Marek's Symposium did not, apparently, suffer from the arrangement: the PSA meeting on the other hand (PSA is not part of WPSA) was probably overshadowed by the larger World's Poultry Congress. A very large hall accommodated the posters and there were many exhibits in the area used for refreshments - an arrangement first tried with outstanding success at the European Conference in Glasgow in 1994.
The Farewell Celebration
The Macdougall Medal for service above and beyond the call of duty, the highest award presented by the WPSA, was awarded to the UK's Chris Hann. This was a thoroughly deserved and warmly applauded award for steering the Journal through many crises that were not evident to members and for the standards and professional approach that Chris brought to the post. Chris was left almost speechless by this unexpected honour but did manage to thank the Association in his customary self-effacing and gentlemanly manner.
WPSA Secretary Dr Piet Simons thanked the organizing committee for an ambitious and successful congress. The standard of presentations was high; FAO had sponsored the seminar on poultry in the developing countries.
The 23rd World's Poultry Congress will be held in Brisbane, Australia in 2008.
Turkish Branch President Mrs Akbai invited delegates to reconvene in 4 years time at the 22nd Congress in Istanbul 8-12 June 2004.
A further report on the business meetings in Montreal, including the election of Dr Colin Fisher as a Vice President and Chris Hann as a Life Member, will be published in our next Newsletter.