The IPVS Congress will soon be held, for the second time in its history, in Asia. After Bangkok in 1994, the International Pig Veterinary Society will now come together mid-June in Jeju, South Korea. The country's pig industry has been facing some serious challenges, Dr Won Hyung Lee, IPVS president, explains.
|The Jeju International Convention Centre, where the IPVS Congress will be held.
“For many reasons we are happy to organise the Congress in Korea. First, because this means we have an opportunity to promote our swine industry. Secondly, this provides us with a chance to build and maintain good relationships between Korean swine specialists and specialists elsewhere in the world. Thirdly, it allows us to improve our skills in the field of the swine industry. And lastly, it will help to promote the so-called Korean ‘MICE’ initiative – short for meeting, incentives, convention and and exhibition.”
“I have been devoting over 50% of my time organising the IPVS Congress. My main responsibilities are funding, inviting and encouraging participants, networking with industry partners and supporters and decision-making on pending issues. Personally, I am also the CEO of XP bio, a swine research farm. The day-to-day production is managed by staff members and I am in charge of trial related work, sale of the experimental pigs and overall management. I am meeting with the presidents and staff members of swine veterinary associations in Asia to encourage participation, and promoting the event through societies such as AASV, the Allen D. Leman Conference and the International Symposium on Emerging and Re-emerging Pig Diseases.
Apart from me, organising members include former presidents, the current president, secretaries and staff of the Korean Association of Swine Veterinarians. There are also those who played an important role in the first Asian Pig Veterinary Society Congress.Dr Bong Kyun Park, vice president and chair of the scientific committee, is currently a professor of Seoul National University conducting studies and activities to connect the academia and the field. The organising committee consists of 24 members. General secretary is Dr Francois Andre van Niekerk, from Humansdorp Veterinary Clinic, South Africa. Congress secretary is Dr Hwa Soon Kang, who is executive director of Cargill Purina.”
“On Monday, the Congress will kick off with the Tom Alexander Memorial Lecture by Dr Dan Tucker, Cambridge University. Following this, ten world renown invited speakers will give presentations across the different Congress sections (see for an overview the box 22nd IPVS Congress). In addition to the 270 sessions and 770 posters, six industry partners offer side symposia; a free half-day tour for accompanying persons is also available.
New elements in the programme include a programme for producers on Sunday afternoon, June 10, where about four speakers will present an overview of the diseases and responses in each continent and another four will introduce the emerging issues. Viral diseases such as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCVAD) will be covered globally. Most countries are afflicted with these problems and they can have a direct impact on productivity.
Viral diseases like Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) and Classical Swine Fever (CSF), are emerging issues in Asia. Since Asia accounts for 70% of global pork production, the diseases will also be an important topic given their potential impact on swine industry. With regard to topical diseases, there are regional differences. In North America, Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) and swine dysentery are the problems in pig farms, while in Eastern Europe African Swine Fever (ASF) is spreading. These topics will also be discussed. The issue of animal welfare was first raised in Europe and animal rights groups have remained consistently vigilant and turned it into an important topic that swine veterinarians cannot avoid. Another important topic will be food safety, as more consumers are looking for safe food, such as organic food.”
“We believe that the mobile web will make the content of the meeting more accessible to the participants. Participants will be able to download and review the abstract files, and also do an author search. This requires a free wi-fi zone, which is provided during the Congress. In addition, a photo contest will be held on the Congress’ website.
We also plan to provide Korean traditional cultural experience programmes in the exhibition area during the Congress. There will be opportunities to wear Korean traditional costumes and to play traditional Korean games. We believe that it would be a great chance for giving delegates a memorable experience.
“The Korean swine industry is now under pressure from the low-cost regions like the European Union and Northern America as Free Trade Agreements have gone into effect. For the industry to survive, we must reduce costs by enhancing productivity while at the same time produce pork that fulfils consumers’ needs for safety and quality. In addition, the issue of animal welfare is likely to compound the situation in the near future.
Addressing these challenges will require cooperation from everyone involved, including swine producers, swine consultants including veterinarians, professors, specialists in the field of genetics, feed and nutrition, engineers and others, researchers and government officials.The IPVS Congress in Korea is well known to most of these specialists and we look forward to a large turnout from different fields. At the congress, Korea’s swine experts will present the current picture of the Korean swine industry and learn new information from experts of different fields and countries. This will no doubt help us maintain what is good about our industry and learn new things where we can, to further develop the industry and make it internationally competitive.This Congress will be an opportunity for the swine experts the world over including producers to share our common concerns and for the Korean swine industry to take another leap forward by learning more advanced swine farming techniques.” PP
Pig farming in South Korea
South Korea is a pork-loving country, consuming about 19.1 kg per capita per year. Normal levels of sow numbers in South Korea would be between 9 to 10 million. In spring 2012, however, this was about 8 million – the fall in number of sows was due to a devastating Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak that struck the country in 2010. About one third of the country’s sows had to be culled at that time. Before FMD struck, the Korean swine industry was mainly focusing on eradicating that other nagging disease, Classical Swine Fever (CSF). South Korea was already exporting quite a lot then to Japan – and wanted CSF to be removed by 2015, in order to further promote pork exports and to ensure the highest safety and quality for consumers. Another major target for the country was to maintain reasonable pork prices by keeping production at an optimum level.
Since the FMD outbreak in late 2010, that picture has changed. After the dramatic drop in sow numbers, carcass prices skyrocketed – the record high was around 7,000 won/kg (€4.70). In 2011, the government decided to import a large volume of pork without customs duties, as a way stabilising prices. Carcass prices have since come down to around 4,500 won/kg (€3), which is equal to production costs.
To bring about this stabilisation in prices, in 2011 South Korea imported 370,364 tonnes of pork, mainly from the USA, Canada, Germany, Chile, the Netherlands, Austria, France, and Denmark, besides some other countries. About 25,600 tonnes of that was chilled pork. This was a significant increase in comparison to 2010, when South Korea imported 179,510 tonnes of pork.
It is likely that in the second half of this year, perhaps in September or October, pig numbers will come back to pre-FMD levels. Many farms are concerned that the increase of imports and over production might drive down pork prices, putting them out of business. Some farms that suffered from FMD rushed to get gilts to normalise their business, and in doing so had to import them or use fattening females as gilts, which might have affected pork quality and productivity.The government and pig farms still disagree between the need for price stabilisation (through imports) and compensation for production costs. The number of pigs is steadily increasing, but South Korea strives to increase pork safety and productivity and to keep costs down by introducing high performing gilts and HACCP certification in the production process.In terms of other current diseases, PRRS and PCVAD are still affecting productivity, keeping the production cost high, and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) as well as Porcine Respiratory Disease Complex (PRDC) remain problematic.
22nd IPVS Congress
Location: ICC Jeju (Jeju International Convention Centre), Jeju, South Korea
Dates: 10-13 June, 2012Expected attendance: 3,000
Tom Alexander Memorial Lecture: Dr Dan Tucker, senior lecturer, University of Cambridge Veterinary School, UK
Number of oral presentations: 270
Number of poster presentations: 770
More information: www.ipvs2012.kr
Well-known themes at the Congress will include:
Practitioner’s line; Virology & viral diseases; Bacteriology & bacterial diseases; Emerging diseases; Reproduction, breeding & genetics; Swine production, nutrition & feed; Welfare & public health; Food safety & pork quality.