AABP hosts its largest meeting, talks VFD implementation

Cattle vets say VFD implementation "going well."

The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) kicked off its 50th annual meeting Sept. 14 in Omaha, Neb., hosting its largest attendance to date, with more than 1,360 registrants, 370 veterinary students and almost 500 exhibitor representatives.

The meeting is also the organization's largest trade show to date, with more than 125 exhibitors, AABP executive vice president Dr. Fred Gingrich II explained at a media breakfast.

Gingrich said the four biggest issues AABP is focused on as an organization are antibiotic resistance and stewardship, Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) implementation, animal welfare and the sustainability of the rural veterinary practice.

AABP vice president Dr. Mike Apley with Kansas State University, who assumes the association's presidency at the end of the meeting, shared a few thoughts with the media about VFD implementation in the cattle industry.

Apley said VFDs have been "going well" but noted that there is currently a lot of "discovery" happening as cattle veterinarians meet with their producer clients and discuss antibiotic use. In many cases, the veterinarians weren't aware of what producers had been doing with in-feed antibiotics prior to the Jan. 1, 2017, implementation date for VFDs, because producers could legally obtain and use those products without a veterinarian's consultation.

He also noted that the most frequent question he gets asked is about free-choice feeding versus hand feeding medicated rations for anaplasmosis control.

Current AABP president Dr. Mark Thomas noted that AABP has recently created two task forces: the Raised Without Antibiotics Task Force and the Medicated Free Choice Feed Formulation Task Force.

The meeting concludes Sept. 16.

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