MEETING the rapidly increasing demand for poultry and improving the health and care of flocks were two of the key industry issues discussed at the Third Global Avian Forum hosted by Merial recently in Paris, France.
Merial convened customers, industry experts, leading academics and international regulatory body representatives from around the globe to share critical intelligence about maintaining the health and well-being of the world's poultry supply, according to an announcement.
Forum attendees discussed these issues and more and reached a broad consensus that stakeholders "must embrace greater multidisciplinary coordination and collaboration to prevent and control avian pathogens and diseases," Merial said.
By 2050, 70% more food will be required to feed the world's population, and by 2020, chicken will overtake pork as the global animal protein of choice, so the poultry industry will play an even more crucial role in ensuring food for future global populations, Merial said, citing the Rabobank report "Crossroads for Growth: The International Poultry Sector Towards 2020."
Merial said careful oversight of the world's poultry flocks — including such practices as employing vaccination programs from hatchery to field, providing high-quality veterinary care, introducing new products, novel equipment and services, improving immunity and controlling new disease strains — is imperative to managing the global poultry supply.
"We realize that the most effective way to control infectious diseases is to prevent them from even entering the flock, utilizing key measures such as improved biosecurity, robust monitoring and surveillance, in addition to a well-executed vaccination program to reduce host susceptibility to infection," Merial avian research program leader Michel Bublot said.
"A continued and broad education and exchange of information will also contribute to better controlling disease and enhancing productivity at the farms," Bublot added.
Attendees agreed that meeting the growing global demand for poultry is not without its challenges, especially since a broad variety of complex pathogens and diseases can infect flocks. The impact can be significant, leading to crushing economic costs, loss of public confidence and less-than-optimum quality of production, the announcement said.
Speakers also focused on methods to control specific viruses — such as infectious bronchitis virus and Newcastle disease and particularly infectious bursal disease, one of the most immunosuppressive diseases affecting flocks globally — as well as the role vaccines and technologies play in improving the overall immune system health of poultry and helping to reduce immunosuppression.
Also of note, avian influenza has not receded for the poultry industry and is still a concern for the public at large, Merial said. There remains no single control strategy for avian flu in poultry, but it was noted that best-practice sharing between endemic and non-endemic countries will help ensure that global vaccination programs can help manage the disease.
The Avian Forum also included a roundtable with representatives from the top-10 poultry companies in the world, who all agreed that maintaining a high level of poultry health and cost control are two key challenges for the future of the industry.
At the forum, Merial unveiled its new OVO-JECTOR, which enables the in ovo administration of its VAXXITEK HVT + IBD vaccine. The OVO-JECTOR, which has the capacity to treat up to 35,000 eggs per hour, has already been launched in Brazil and will be rolled out in all regions around the world this year and next.