|Pig Veterinary Society
In the mid 1980s a group of veterinarians with an interest in pig production got together and decided that a formal association should be established as opposed to the informal and infrequent meetings that had been held.
The Meat Board was still in operation, so many of the functions had been associated with meetings of the Meat Board veterinarians. The initial "committee" consisted of Drs Peter Davies and Tom Spencer.
One of the liveliest and important meetings held was when a name had to be chosen. Other world-wide pig veterinary groups function as Societies, while the SAVA was trying to get "interest groups” established between veterinarians with similar interests. Finally the name Pig Veterinary Society (PVS), as opposed to Pig Interest Group (PIG), was decided upon.
With Dr Theunis Prinsloo in the chair, the committee became more business minded with set meeting times and a constitution. One of the projects Theunis started was to invite Pig Letter Group to South Africa. The visit the following year of the three world respected veterinarians, nutritionist, their manager and spouses was a great success. PVS was seen by the farmers to be doing something for the Industry within which we serve.
The current chairman is Dr Koos Botha (photo)
Membership is in the vicinity of 50 members who are made up of consultants, lecturers, researchers, pharmaceutical company veterinarians and some colleagues who are actively farming pigs. The chairman and executive are elected every year at the Annual General Meeting. The above-mentioned office-bearers will form the Executive Committee of the Society and will elect the vice chairman, secretary and treasurer.
Full membership is restricted to members of the SAVA, but there is plenty of provision made for non-voting categories and interested colleagues from the profession or the industry are always welcome at meetings or social functions.
The PVS is a busy group, with a minimum of two well attended general meetings per year (the AGM in September /October and an OGM in March/April), always including a generous technical content, and inevitably followed by a party-- we are aware of our third objective, namely to encourage fellowship.
The format learned from the early visit of the Pig Letter Group has been a model for subsequent and on-going visits by distinguished colleagues and interesting people within the world’s pig industry. These include notable pig specialists such as: Al Leman, Gary Dial, Mike Muirhead, Mike Wilson, Frank Aherne, Ross Buddle, John Carr, with many more to come in future years.
An important and fruitful principle that we follow is to maintain a close relationship with the industry we serve: there are frequent formal and ad hoc meetings between the PVS and South African Pork Producers Organisation (SAPPO). This has become vital during the recent past, with the sudden arrival in this country of three exotic virus diseases previously unknown here.
The increasing sophistication of the commercial pig production sector has focused attention on bio-security and quality assurance.
At the same time, the necessity for upliftment of the informal sector is receiving attention from the PVS in collaboration with SAPPO and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Members of the group have successfully hosted the 2008 IPVS Congress in Durban. The IPVS is the international association of veterinary pig specialists who hold a prestigious congress of up to 2000 veterinarians every second year in different parts of the world.