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News and notes - Nouvelles et notes - Notas y actualidades

Operation rinderpest

The West Asia Rinderpest Eradication Campaign Coordination (WARECC) was launched in 1989 by FAO and UNDP to banish rinderpest from western Asia, an area covering 11 countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, the Syrian Arab Republic, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Rinderpest is a fate viral disease that affects mainly cattle and buffaloes and is similar to smallpox in human beings. It is manifested in sick animals by fever, bloody diarrhoea, ulcers in the mouth and watery discharges from the eyes and nose. One-half of infected animals succumb to death.

The disease has been eradicated from Europe, North and South America and the Pacific but continues to be endemic in Africa, the Near East and South Asia. WARECC's technical programme includes mass vaccination, surveillance, immunity assessment and quarantine activities.

WARECC publishes a quarterly bulletin in English and Arabic, Operation Rinderpest, giving up-to-date news and articles on the disease and its eradication in the area.

For copies of the bulletin or for the submission of articles on rinderpest and its control, please write to: Project Coordinator and Director, WARECC, PO Box 10085, Baghdad, Iraq.

Small-scale Dairy Technology Group

The Small-scale Dairy Technology Group (SDTG) is a newly founded cooperative of volunteers which is active in the support and development of small-scale dairy farming and milk processing. SDTG offers the following services:

Inquiry service: provides a question-and-answer service to organizations and persons active in developing countries.

Information service: provides organizations and individuals interested in agriculture, animal husbandry and food processing with information relating to publications, periodicals or single articles. Requests for the newsletter and further information - regarding dairy production and relevant organizations, for instance should be sent to the address below

Project support: assists small projects in dairy farming and milk processing The SDTG coordinates questions, provides information and may, if necessary, recruit an expert to assist the requesting organization or individual.

For further information, please write to: The Secretary, SDTG, Acapulcodreef 67, 3563 RB Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Request for information on indigenous systems of animal production

For the publication of an annotated bibliography on indigenous systems of animal production, Iowa State University is seeking information, papers or references on traditional systems of animal husbandry or management for cattle, camels, buffaloes, sheep, goats and other-small livestock.

These may include criteria for breeding decisions, stock removal and replacement, types of feeding systems, forages fed or grazed and their nutritional value, methods of feeding and seasonality of feeding systems. Information on health practices as well as sociological and economic factors will also be welcome.

Kindly send material to Ms T. Slaybough, CIKARD, 318 Curtiss Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.

News-sheets of the Animal Diseases Research Association

The Animal Diseases Research Association (ADRA), founded in 1920, is an association of farmers and others interested in promoting research into diseases of livestock. ADRA work has produced lamb dysentery antiserum, brazy vaccine and sheep vaccines against louping ill, enzootic abortion, pasteurellosis and a vaccine against rotavirus in calves.

The ADRA issues 22 news-sheets on single topics such as toxoplasmosis, EAE, pasteurellosis, scrapie and copper deficiency in sheep and cattle. They are written clearly, give explicit instructions and are of practical use to veterinarians and animal health extension workers. Other news-sheets of interest-to livestock raisers in developing countries include: Roundworm and fluke infections in sheep; Watery mouth in lambs; Control and manipulation of the breeding season in sheep; Making the best of colostrum at lambing; Orf virus infection of sheep; and Footrot in sheep.

Overseas associate membership is £5.00 per annum and £2.00 per annum for overseas students. For further details, please contact: ADRA, Moredun Research Institute, 408 Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh EH17 7JH, Scotland, UK.

FAO - where sheep and oxen grazed

The site of FAO headquarters was once part of the grazing pastures of the early settlers of Rome. These settlers were the shepherds who, in the eighth century BC, came down with their livestock from the Alban Hills and chose as their abode the Palatine Hill about 300 m from FAO headquarters today.

The Palatine Hill stands high like a cliff behind the Circus Maximus. This elongated arena, long before it bore the wheels of racing chariots, was a natural trading place for oxen and sheep from all the surrounding areas. Between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, in another small valley known as the Campo Boario, flocks of sheep and cattle herds were gathered.

Not only did the city of Rome have its beginnings in these places but legends were born and set here. It was here that Hercules was invoked by the settlers as the protector of their oxen and, under the Palatine, tradition has it that Romulus and Remus, the abandoned twin sons of Mars, were suckled by a she-wolf and found under a fig tree by a shepherd named Faustolo.

This territory, now the site of FAO, was a meeting place for the pastoralists of central Italy more than 2 000 years ago. It echoed with the sounds of bargaining cries and the bleats and bellows of the ancestors of some of today's domesticated animals. Times have changed. FAO's "inheritance", however, parallels the daily concerns of its original inhabitants; namely the continuous endeavour to provide food, be it animal or vegetable, for the families of the world which is still developing.

Director, Animal Production and Health Division, FAO

Dr H.A. Jasiorowski, former director of the Animal Production and Health Division and Chairman of the Editorial Advisory committee of World Animal Review, retired from FAO in 1990. Twice director of the division, from 1969 to 1975 and again from 1984 to 1990, Dr Jasiorowski was the initiator of World Animal Review and author of the leading article of the first issue in 1972.

Dr Jasiorowski, upon retirement from FAO, returned to his professorship at Warsaw Agricultural University where, as part of a long and distinguished career, he was previously chancellor and director of the Cattle Breeding and Dairy Science Institute. His many friends and readers of this journal wish him a happy retirement.

Dr E.P. Cunningham, took up his duties as director of the Animal Production and Health Division on 1 September L990. Well-known to FAO, having undertaken several consultancy missions on its behalf, Dr Cunningham, a national of Ireland, worked from 1962- with the Irish National Agricultural Research Institute, becoming head of the Animal Breeding and Genetics Department in 1972 and deputy director of the institute in l980.

A professor of animal genetics at Dublin University since 1974, Dr Cunningham was elected the same year to the Royal Irish Academy and was a member of its Council from l980 to l984. He also served as president of the European Association for Animal Production from 1978 to l984 and of the World Association for Animal Production from 1984 to 1988.

Prior to taking up his FAO appointment, Dr Cunningham spent six months as a visiting professor with the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

Almost simultaneously with his appointment as director of the Animal Production and Health Division, FAO Director-General Edouard Saouma designated Dr Cunningham Director of the Screwworm Emergency Centre for North Africa (SECNA). The centre was brought into being by FAO s Director-General specifically to manage and coordinate the emergency activities in North Africa caused by the unprecedented presence there of the dangerous pest, New World screwworm (NWS). With the generous support of many governments, banks and international organizations, SECNA's campaign to eradicate NWS in North Africa has been very successful. Eradication was achieved by the end of 1991.

Dr Cunningham s many friends and former colleagues will wish him well in the important tasks he has set himself as director of the division.

Programme for the control of African animal trypanosomiasis

This special action programme has continued to provide support to affected African countries through the training of middle-level technical personnel and the production of instruction materials. Much effort has been placed on the development of new environmentally acceptable techniques for the use of small-scale stock owners on a self-help basis.

Notable successes have been achieved through the use of attractive manufactured devices in Ethiopia and by utilizing local cattle treated regularly with a persistent insecticide in Zanzibar. Research contracts have been awarded to national research organizations with a view to adapting this approach to a wider range of habitats and tsetse species. Proposals are being drafted to strengthen programme activities through an intensification of training at all levels, by improving the coordination of trypanosomiasis control with land conservation and development and by greater coordination of research with field activities. This action, together with an increased emphasis on the strengthening of national control units, will further enhance the sustainability of results.

Expert Consultation on Strengthening Animal Health Services in Developing Countries

Chief veterinary officers from 13 countries joined those from international organizations in a week's expert consultation on this important subject at FAO headquarters, Rome, in October 1990. Participants also lent their expertise to the final editing of the book, Guidelines for strengthening animal health services in developing countries, to be published by FAO.

Among the recommendations to member countries of FAO were those regarding emergency diseases and urging the necessary support, including the assistance of appropriate international or regional specialized laboratories as designated by FAO/WHO/OIE. Developing countries should seek additional sources of funding for services by such means as privatization or cost recovery of selected animal health services, for example. In view of the fast pace of technological advances, countries should promote and support postgraduate training and professional development for animal health service personnel in developing countries, taking the fullest possible advantage of international facilities. To ensure the permanent presence of animal health care personnel among nomadic livestock owners, the formation of community livestock technicians should be considered.

FAO and other organizations were recommended to: assist in the training of developing country animal health staff in the organization of management and economics as well as in data collection, analysis and veterinary statistics to improve the accuracy of information sent for international publication; train national staff in the control and eradication of emergency diseases; further develop the network of reference laboratories and collaborating centres; and seek financial support for training.

Semen donation scheme

Under a Letter of Agreement with the Department of Livestock Development, Bangkok, Thailand, FAO has established a semen bank which is planned to store up to 20 000 doses of frozen semen of buffalo, Bos indicus or Bos indicus and Bos taurus cross-bred proven bulls. Donations of buffalo semen have already been generously offered by India, Pakistan and Thailand. However, semen from Sahiwal and Australian milking zebu is particularly required at present.

If detailed information on its intended use is provided, semen can be supplied free of charge on request. The recipient organization will later be asked to present a report on the use made of the semen and subsequent results.

For more information, donations or requests for semen, please contact:

Semen Donation Scheme, Animal Production and Health Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Fax: 57973152; Telex: 610181 FAO I.

FAO Seminar on Meat Development and Traditional and Low-cost Meat Preservation Methods for Asia and the Pacific

This seminar, held in Bangkok in October 1990, referred to some interesting data with regard to meat production in Asia and the Pacific and to the fact that, in this region, despite severe limitations on land resources in some areas, the development of the animal husbandry sector was both feasible and necessary.

In 1989, meat production in the 27 developing countries of the region reached 37 million tonnes, which amounted to 22 percent of total world output and 57 percent of output in the developing world. In the Asia and Pacific region, the present trend of expanding livestock and meat production is expected to continue since national economies of the region are still growing. The production of pork amounts to 67 percent of total regional meat production, but poultry, at present forming 15 percent of the market, is the fastest growing sector and also an important export.

The seminar emphasized the interest and importance of the many different traditional and low-cost methods of meat preservation practiced in the region which do not require a cold chain. Despite new technologies not always complying with the needs of the local meat sector or consumers, the importance of not allowing these old methods to die out was stressed.

Recommendations made at the seminar included not only the need to conserve traditional meat preservation methods but also to evaluate the traditional products; carry out training programmer in preservation, packaging and marketing: and prepare a catalogue of traditional meat products of the region.

In September 1990, FAO sent a consultancy mission to China to investigate' collect and catalogue traditional meat preservation techniques. The same exercise will be extended to other countries of the Asia and Pacific region.

FAO/DANIDA Dairy Development and Training Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean

The FAO/DANIDA Dairy Development and Training Programme (RDDTT-LAC) was brought into being in 1956 by two Danes, Or Hans Petersen, then Chief of the Dairy Branch of FAO, and Dr H.J. Kristensen, an official of the Ministry of Agriculture, Denmark. Over the last 30 years or so, the programme has progressively evolved to meet the changing needs of the dairy industries in the developing world and the final phase of the programme, implemented by Regional Dairy Development and Training Teams (RDDTT) in Africa, Asia and in Latin America, was wound up in December 1990. Funding of a new phase was not agreed to by the Government of Denmark.

In the final issue of the newsletter Lechería Latinoamericana, No. 25, the team leader of the programme in Latin America and the Caribbean gives a resume of the programme's activities, which commenced way back in 1963.

Initially, the programme in the Latin America region consisted of organizing regional dairy courses with follow-up technical assistance given to participants. From 1972 onwards, the courses were held at the Dairy Technology Centre, Austral University of Chile, Valdivia, established with bilateral assistance of the Government of Denmark and RDDTT-LAC

In 1972, to satisfy the growing demand for dairy training in countries of Latin America, national courses were begun and a total of 2 231 participants were trained in all aspects of milk production, processing and extension. To create permanent facilities for these courses, seven national dairy training centres were established in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

Parallel programmer were then set up for the training of small milk producers and processors through self-teaching courses. A total of 5 797 trainees participated in 20 such courses adapted to national or local conditions.

Since 1985, the main thrust of the programme has been in the dairy development and training units which have assisted the small milk producers of Latin America to organize milk collection centres or rural cheese factories. Eight such units have been implemented in six countries: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

After 27 years of intense, continuous and widespread work in the Latin American region, this programme was brought to an end in December 1990.

The last issue of Lechería Latinoamericana (No. 25) and other training material related to the programme's work is available from the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Casilla 10095, Santiago, Chile. Documentation and visual aids, produced by the Africa and Asia Regional Teams, are also available from the Meat and Dairy Service, AGA, FAO, Rome.

Slaughter and animal protection

As mentioned in the last issue of World Animal Review, the subject of animal protection is being given consideration by FAO, while replies to a questionnaire sent to member countries on the welfare situation of farm animals and respective animal protection legislation are being analysed.

One of the many aspects of livestock welfare widely ignored is treatment before and at the point of slaughter. Where a tendency to allow livestock to suffer unnecessary pain or distress already exists, this attitude will hardly change when the animal is about to be slaughtered either by the livestock rearer himself or by staff at the local slaughterhouse. Frequently, the manner in which the animal is treated at this time is the culmination of consistent indifference or cruelty.

Before slaughter takes place, animals are often transported over very long distances in overcrowded vehicles, sometimes even stacked one on top of the other. Alternatively, they may undergo weeks of trekking before reaching the place of slaughter, often in a state of exhaustion. Two important factors that are often neglected are the availability of water for the animals at all times and a rest period before slaughter following transport. Unfortunately, animals are still subjected to cruel practices in slaughterhouses such as breaking or chopping off the legs of animals awaiting their turn for slaughter in order to immobilize them while they are in the presence of other animals being slaughtered.

It should be noted that the majority of bruising injuries in cattle and pigs occur during loading and unloading and that poorly designed ramps often contribute to this There are even livestock markets or lairage facilities where unloading ramps do not exist at all and livestock have to jump from the trucks or are simply thrown out, with all the consequences of injuries and bruising. At the base of the unloading ramp there should be a clear space allowing the animals a minimum of movement before entering the pens.

Stunning of slaughter animals is one way of minimizing needless suffering but, in many areas of the developing world, this practice is not carried out. This is either because of religious restrictions or simply because the stunning equipment is not available. However, religious, and in particular Moslem, authorities in many countries are now becoming more tolerant toward the application of non-penetrating stunning methods by percussion or other techniques that could guarantee the recovery of an animal should it not be bled immediately after stunning. One method complying with this requirement is low-voltage electro-stunning, used in pig, sheep and poultry slaughter and which has been successfully introduced for cattle also in some Moslem communities. FAO's intention is to technically assist the introduction of suitable stunning methods in developing countries and to distribute simple stunning equipment that has been donated bilaterally or through animal welfare organizations. The captive bolt pistol is one such implement that is suitable for use under field conditions, particularly for the stunning of cattle and buffaloes. FAO would also supply bullets for this type of equipment.

Workshop on the Use of Sugar Cane and its By-products in Animal Feeding

The Workshop on the Use of Sugar Cane and its By-products in Animal Feeding, organized with the support of the French Government through a Trust Fund project, was held in Guadeloupe from 11 to 14 December 1990. Participants came from the Caribbean and Latin American region, and a total of 20 countries and islands were represented: Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Reunion, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Salvador, Saint Kitts and Saint Vincent.

Participants presented their own practical experiences on this topic and a very useful exchange of information took place. New technology was presented, including the manufacture and use of molasses-urea blocks and sugar-cane juice as a source of energy in the feeding of monogastric animals, mainly pigs. More conventional types of sugar-cane utilization practiced in some countries were of equal interest to the participants, since they demonstrated that certain, more traditional applications, that of molasses for example, were still important.

The development and use of non-conventional sources of protein such as Azolla and Spurilina, or forage trees (Glyricidia, Erythrina, Trichantera) were also discussed. In some countries, such as Colombia, these sources are already in use on quite a large scale.

A day of demonstrations on new techniques of sugar cane utilization took place at the Gardel INRA Research Station. These techniques included the manufacture of molasses-urea blocks and the extraction of sugar-cane juice with a traditional three-roll mill. An important recommendation resulting from this workshop was the need to set up a Caribbean-Latin American regional sugar cane network.

Expert Consultation on Cost Benefit for Animal Health Programmes in Developing Countries

Experts from throughout the world met at LAO headquarters in Rome in September l 991 to present and discuss papers reflecting their knowledge and experience of different aspects of this new and complex subject.

Methodologies and economic parameters that are not yet widely used by veterinary services in their continuous fight against animal disease were presented. Experts concluded that cost-benefit analysis is only one part of the economic information needed for more effective animal health planning and management. There was an awareness that many programme benefits, such as social and public health, are additional to the measurable economic ones. They recommended that developing countries pursue better information collection and analysis through multidisciplinary field study programmer run by state institutions and universities, and through training programmer with nearby countries. There is a need for countries to develop several improved procedures and systems for programme analysis. Introductory courses on the subject should be given at the veterinary undergraduate level.

The consultation recommended that FAO, in cooperation with other international and regional organizations, promote, facilitate and standardize a variety of measures to improve veterinary economics in developing countries, in addition to training personnel in and publishing improved information on animal health economics.

FAO's increased effort to reduce non-infectious diseases in food animals

To intensify the Organization's work in reducing non-infectious diseases in livestock in the developing countries, a new post of Senior Officer, Non-infectious Diseases, has been created and recently filled in the Animal Production and Health Division at FAO headquarters.

One of the first tasks in this work was the convening of an Expert Consultation on Reduction of Food Losses due to Noninfectious Diseases, held at FAO, Rome, from 24 to 28 June 1991. This expert consultation was held with a view to identifying priorities and proposing concrete action. The experts compiled an inventory of the categories of food losses and set priorities for reducing losses resulting from non-infectious diseases and animal hygiene deficiencies. Among these categories are nutritional, reproductive and genetic diseases; toxicities; animal hygiene deficiencies; neonatal mortality; post-farmgate losses from transport/trekking; and residues in animal products. Methodologies and programmer to be recommended to member countries for reducing food losses were elaborated.

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