Spring 2000 Newsletter : Reports on 1999 WPSA meetings
The First World Waterfowl Conference, Taichung, Taiwan, R.O.C. 1-4December 1999.
At the 11th WPSA European Waterfowl Conference in Nantes, France, 1997, it was decided to run a World conference every four years, alternating between Europe and Asia. Nearly 200 delegates from 20 countries, including large contingents from France, Germany and Poland, heard 4 Plenary lectures, 15 invited lectures, 30 oral presentations and 44 posters covering genetics to products. Despite producing 67% of the World's ducks and 90% of the World's geese, mainland China was not represented. Taiwan stands in 4th place for both duck and goose production. For a newcomer, some of the most interesting presentations were descriptions of breeding and production systems in Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Poland and Hungary. These utility fowl are required to produce meat, eggs and "fatty liver". In Asia, ducks were raised on harvested rice paddy fields and ponds that were also farmed for fish but many are now raised more extensively with ensuing welfare and pollution problems. Many Asian countries are using Cherry Valley Peking-type breeding stock to cross into their own native duck lines, which are then crossed with Muscovies to give meat-producing mules. Delegates were also treated to the latest techniques in microsatellite genetic markers and the restructuring of duck breast meat with enzymes. Perhaps the most unusual poster concerned "Studies on the colour change of lead-free pidan during processing and storage". Pidan is the 1000 year egg product produced by soaking eggs in caustic soda. The white goes a translucent brown/black and the yolk green. Lead was used to maintain the yolk colour when exposed to air, but it is now felt that this is not a good idea!
The organisation and catering was very good and the bus tours to Goose and Duck Research Stations allowed delegates to see some of the countryside. The next World Waterfowl conference will be in Egypt in 2003.
European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition, Veldhoven, Netherlands. 15-19August 1999.
The 12th Symposium in the series organised by the WPSA European Federation Working Group 2 (Nutrition) was the best-attended yet, with over 350 delegates. It was organised by the Dutch Branch and was held at the Congress Centre Koningshof in Veldhoven. The Congress Centre was well equipped with swimming pool, exercise facilities, walking and cycle tracks, bars and relaxing areas so the delegates were able to continue their discussions in a range of environments. The Symposium had a main theme of Nutrition and Health, around which were organised 5 main sessions. These covered the topics of (1) Nutrition and Health Management, (2) Micronutrients and Health, (3) Nutrition and Intestinal Function, (4) Nutritional and Antinutritional Effects of Carbohydrates and (5) Nutrition and Intestinal and Metabolic Disorders. Following the tradition of these Symposia, the sessions were made up of introductory plenary papers, followed by group discussions of the papers and a plenary discussion session. A round table discussion of net energy systems was held on the last day. On each of the days there were also poster discussion sessions and presentations of short communications. In the middle afternoon, a choice of ten technical tours was offered to a range of companies and organisations involved across almost the whole spectrum of poultry activities, from breeding through housing, feeding, health supply and processing to environment and research. The Farewell Dinner was held in the atmospheric surroundings of the Maurick Castle. The delegates thus had a very full time and expressed themselves well satisfied with the Symposium. However, a disappointing feature of the Symposium was a considerable fall-off in attendance at the later group discussion sessions. Organisers of future Symposia might consider holding events that are less dense in terms of numbers of participants and organised sessions. Many delegates appreciate the opportunity to spend time having their own discussions at these Symposia.
The next Symposium (13th) will be held in Blankenberge, near Ostend in Belgium from September 30 October 4, 2001. It is probable that the 14th Symposium will be held in Lillehammer, Norway in 2003.
Poultry Genetics Symposium, Mariensee, Germany. 6-8 October 1999.
This valuable meeting was efficiently organised and well attended. Unlike the luxurious surroundings enjoyed by the more affluent nutritionists meeting in The Netherlands, their animal breeding colleagues met in the adequate but Germanic surroundings of the research centre at Mariensee. Even so, the number of participants from Eastern Europe was disappointingly low (a reflection of poor currency exchange rates) compared with previous meetings held under the Aviagen umbrella. The usual session on cloning and transgenesis was followed by one on biodiversity in poultry that was interesting, but possibly of limited practical importance. A session on Marker Assisted Selection gave an encouraging account of molecular approaches to identifying loci affecting commercial traits. There were several papers on genetic aspects of resistance to metabolic diseases and from Dr Nat Bumsted of The Insititute of Animal Health on resistance to infectious disease. The final session included two complementary papers on the genetics of feather pecking and cannibalism. A good number of excellent posters complemented a very encouraging symposium. There are clearly many developments in poultry breeding that will aid our understanding of current issues in poultry genetics. Furthermore, they will provide a range of techniques that will be increasingly important in developing solutions to the problems that producers face in different environments.