News from ASI?s Research and Education Council and Animal Health Committee
March 31, 2005
March/April 2005 -- Maryland sheep producer and Research and Education Council Chair David Greene opened the Research and Education Council and Animal Health Committee meeting by introducing a number of guest speakers who updated the committees on a multitude of sheep disease research programs.
Antoinette Betschart, Ph.D., associate administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal Research Service (ARS), provided an overview on the various ARS sheep and wool programs. The highlight of her presentation was the response from ARS on the review completed on the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho. She said the review was helpful and constructive and affirmed the three major focuses of the research station, which are to improve sheep genetics, ensure the sustainability of grazing land ecosystems and to improve sheep production systems.
An update was provided by Larry Miller, Ph.D., national program leader for the USDA, Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, regarding a study on nutrient requirements for small ruminants. The idea behind this study is to identify animal drugs for minor species and minor uses in major species, generate data for the safe and legal use of drugs and to facilitate approvals of drugs for minor species and minor uses.
Ronald DeHaven, DVM, administrator of the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), also joined the session to address the National Scrapie Eradication Program. He said the efforts of APHIS this year will emphasize scrapie identification compliance, clean-up of flocks and increased slaughter surveillance levels.
Also addressing scrapie issues were Don Knowles, Ph.D., and Janet Alverson, Ph.D., from the USDA, Animal Disease Research Unit. Knowles educated the group about the differences between typical and atypical scrapie and Alverson shared her worked completed on the transmission of scrapie from one animal to another.