A huge turnout for this year’s University of Calgary Veterinarian Medicine Beef Cattle conference, which covers the biggest topics in cattle health, welfare, research and handling.

The conference expanded this year to include a full day of hands-on workshops instead of just a half-day, which Dr. John Kastelic tells Rural Roots Canada went over very well.

“We basically had two workshops, one workshop was on low stress cattle handling the other one was managing animals in a chronic pen and proper on-farm euthanasia and we replicated both of those workshops so if someone wanted they could attend one or both of the workshops.  We didn’t force them to choose one over the other,” says Kastelic.

Kastelic says they have really concentrated on providing practical information and training that the beef producers can take back to their farm or feedlot as well as some more theoretical work that is in process such as research.

“Things that they may not be able to use immediately, but at least gives them a heads up this is the kind of areas we are working on.  In a year or two we hope to have more information. We also provide a forum for the industry to interact with faculty members from the Calgary veterinarian school places these are my concerns as a producer, have you thought about this or I have an idea, I have a problem, I have a need.  So it brings us together where we can share and communicate in a very much two-way communication process.”

Kastelic says one of the big topics of discussion during the conference was antimicrobials.

“There’ s lots in the news around antimicrobial resistance and proper use of antimicrobials and antibiotics.  We really focused on that beginning with a talk initially from a society perspective from the kinds of initiatives we are seeing in industry for example McDonald’s and A&W and the kind of approaches they are using to increase their market share.  We went from that to more specific issues around appropriate antimicrobial use.  We had a pharmacologist from the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Trish Dowling, talking about pharmacology and we had someone from the pharmaceutical industry talk about proper antimicrobial use.”

Kastelic says the conference is also a great opportunity for the UCVM students to show off their work and have conversations with producers and industry stake-holders.

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