As most will know by now, Canada will be hosting the next International Pig Veterinary Society (IPVS) Congress in Vancouver, British Columbia, July 18-21, 2010. Several innovations have been added for this 21st IPVS Congress. Since many of the new additions are still not yet finalised, I'll introduce them a few at a time as they become closer to reality.
Tom Alexander Memorial Lecture
The sudden and untimely death of Dr. Tom Alexander, Cambridge, UK, in November 2008 prompted our local organising committee, in consultation with other IPVS colleagues, to establish the Tom Alexander Memorial Lecture. After a brief Opening Ceremony this keynote lecture will lead off the scientific sessions of the Congress on Monday morning at 8:30 am. It was just 5 months prior to his unexpected death that Dr. Alexander was voted the inaugural Honourary Life Member of the IPVS at the last Congress in Durban, South Africa in June 2008.
Dr. Alexander was a founding member of the IPVS Congress. He was instrumental in the creation of the very first Congress in Cambridge, UK in 1969. This was no mean feat, having to work from virtually a blank sheet and start a process that 40 years later is ongoing, still growing and has now been held in five continents around the world.
Of even greater importance, however, is the profound impact Dr. Alexander has had on the global swine industry. His early work in establishing medicated early weaning (MEW) of pigs to eradicate Mycoplasmal pneumonia and other diseases allowed the rearing of high health (“disease-free” pigs) and the setting up of high health herds at a fraction of the cost of the previously established, very expensive method of surgical hysterectomy that produced these pigs. The surgical method resulted in the sacrifice of the dams to achieve the sterile “disease-free” pigs needed to establish high health herds. Dr. Alexander's MEW and later modified MEW methods eventually led to the segregated early weaning (SEW) and multi-site systems that have become the standard method of raising pigs in large sections of the major pig rearing countries worldwide. It was very timely that we bestowed the honour of our first Honourary Life Member of the IPVS on him at the IPVS Congress in South Africa last year.
The Hog Jog
Brand new for any IPVS Congress will be the Hog Jog. With the picturesque Stanley Park located very close (~1 km) to the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) jogging through the park is a very popular activity for Vancouverites and also for convention delegates. Significant numbers of the more dedicated joggers take off for their daily jog through the park while attending conferences at the VCC. This has led to many recent conferences setting up a more formal jog in which all conference attendees are invited to participate. As we are the IPVS we will be placing our own specialty stamp of a HOG JOG on the IPVS jog. This Hog Jog, however, will really be available to one and all attending the IPVS. We are structuring it such that regular hardcore joggers can have their lengthy full course jog, middle-of-the-road joggers will have a somewhat shorter, less strenuous course and non-joggers will have the opportunity to participate either at a brisk walk or just a leisurely stroll if they so desire. The Hog Jog, from walkers to dedicated joggers, will journey through the illustrious and beautiful Stanley Park, which is within easy walking distance of the Convention Centre and the Vancouver downtown hotel district.
Ah! Stanley Park!… I'll leave that for the next blog.