The 21st International Pig Veterinary Society (IPVS) Congress is over and what an event it was!
By Dr S. Ernest Sanford
It got rolling with volunteers from the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians holding 'IPVS' signs at the Vancouver airport on Saturday and Sunday to usher arriving delegates to their choice of transportation from the airport to the downtown hotels which were clustered in very short walking distances from the new Vancouver Convention Centre.
Sunday was registration day and on Sunday afternoon more than 250 congressants were bused over to nearby Stanley Park for the IPVS Hog Jog, a choice of walk, jog or run for distances of 3 km, 5 km or for the real serious runners, 10 km. Prizes were awarded after two hours of enjoyable hot sun activity mollified by the partner sponsors who provided water, juices and fruit drinks, hats, T-shirts, etc. for the participants.
Registration came off without a hitch as the registration desk handled the more than 2,500 people through the registration lines and on to collect their congress information and delegate bags. IPVS 2010 attendance numbers are not yet finalised but the preliminary tabulations are:
Total registered: 2,712
Paying delegates: 2,029
Including students: 101
Accompanying persons: 220
The tallies include registrations for Keynote and Lead Speakers, other complimentary registrations for Partner and Supporter sponsors, media representatives and various other categories that are still being cross-checked for accuracy.
Some 1,149 of the 1,162 submitted abstracts were accepted after review by more than 100 international scientists; 262 as oral presentations and 887 as posters. Electronic posters (e-posters) were used for the first time at an IPVS.
The Welcome Reception was the first real large-scale 'meet-and-greet' of the 2010 IPVS as well over 1500 registrants dove into foods from the various distinct regions of Canada – the Maritimes on the East (Atlantic) Coast, Quebec and Ontario in Central Canada, the Prairies covering Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, the West (Pacific) Coast (British Columbia) and the Canadian North (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Arctic) all featuring foods and drinks to match the regions.
Opening ceremony and work begins
The first Keynote Speaker was Dr Hank Harris delivering the Tom Alexander Memorial Lecture, commemorating the contributions of Dr Tom Alexander, a founding member of IPVS and co-organiser of the first IPVS Congress in Cambridge, England in 1969. Tom died suddenly in his home in Cambridge in the autumn of 2008, a few months after he had bee nmad e the first honorary life member of the IPVS. Dr Harris traced several of the key contributions that Dr. Alexander initiated into the swine world that helped drive disease control and pig production to where it is today.
This was followed by the 2nd Keynote Lecture on Animal Welfare given by Dr David Fraser from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, who started with a poem devoted to the pig and continued in a hugely knowledgeable and entertaining fashion, having the audience participate in orchestrated grunts of mother sow and baby pigs and ending with a charge to the veterinary community to take a position of leadership in the welfare movement that is steamrolling along and impacting ever increasingly on the pig world.
The scientific sessions were dominated by PPRS, PCV2 and newcomer, pandemic H1N1. MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), various enteric diseases – porcine proliferative enteropathy, E. coli, Salmonella along with Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, antimicrobial resistance, nutrition, reproduction, welfare and public health issues, including analgesia/anaesthesia for pain control during castration all garnered the audience's attention.
The e-posters presented a challenge for some early on until they 'played' with them a bit and learned to navigate through the various screens. The few poster sessions I attended were well received and had good audience participation. Once again, topics in the Practitioners' Line sessions were a major attraction.
The venue, the new Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC), completed in time for Vancouver Winter Olympics of six months ago, the city of Vancouver, the fabulous weather, the scientific sessions, social events, Partner sponsors' satellite symposia and post-symposium parties all contributed to a gloriously successful IPVS.
At the Closing Plenary Session, a tight race between the Mexican and Irish delegations ended on a close vote on the second ballot with Mexico winning the bid to host the 2014 IPVS Congress in Cancun, Mexico.
Over 1,500 people 'Ohed!' and 'Ahed!' as a highly skilled Cirque group provided entertainment during a splendid pork dinner topped off by a band that immediately had the crowd rushing onto the dance floor until past midnight.
The Technical Tours, the final event of the 21st IPVS, had delegates visiting the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Abbotsford, taking a virtual tour of an integrated swine production system including slaughterhouse, touring a local swine veterinary clinic and exploring the agricultural diversity of the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.
It would be safe to say that just about everyone came away from the 21st IPVS in Vancouver with exhilarating experiences, scientific and social, and a thirst to regroup once again at the next IPVS in Jeju Island, South Korea in June 2012.