As issues of food security, bio-safety and animal rights continue to attract global attention, Barbados will next week provide a forum for continued discussion. That is when over 250 veterinarians and allied scientists meet here for the 4th Pan Commonwealth Veterinary Conference.

The five-day meeting, which gets under way on Sunday, November 4, at 6:30 p.m., with an opening ceremony and welcome reception at Hilton Barbados, is being hosted by the Canada and Caribbean Region of the Commonwealth Veterinary Association (CVA). It is expected to attract delegates from as far away as East Africa, Australia and Samoa, and will have as its theme: ‘Animal Health and Welfare: Constant Challenges for Veterinarians’.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Erskine Griffith, will deliver the opening address, while President of the Barbados Veterinary Association, Dr. Gus Reader, and his Commonwealth counterpart, Dr. Robin Yarrow, will follow with remarks.

President of the Commonwealth Foundation, London, Dr. Mark Collins, will deliver a timely address on the topic: ‘The Millennium Development Goals at Half Time – Challenges for the Commonwealth Veterinary Association (CVA), and International Cricket Legend, the Revered Dr. Wes Hall, the feature address.

A brief award ceremony to recognise past presidents of the CVA will also be featured during the opening ceremony, which will be followed by a cocktail reception to be hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The scientists are expected to discuss ongoing and recent research on issues of importance to the Commonwealth, including climate change, animal welfare and Avian Influenza. Concurrent panels will also focus on internal medicine, public health; large animal medicine; and aquatic and exotic animal medicine among other topics.

In addition to senior civil servants from the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Finance and the Civil Service, the meet will also attract overseas dignitaries including: Dr. John Drake, President, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association; Dr. Nick Blayney, President, British Veterinary Association; and Dr. Kersti Seksel, Immediate Past President, Australian Veterinary Association.

Chief Veterinary Officers from several Commonwealth and Caribbean countries, as well as official representatives from some 53 Commonwealth countries, will also be in attendance.

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