Please visit https://www.isvc2023.com/ for information on the papers presented at the ISVC.
THE SPANISH SOCIETY OF SHEEP AND GOAT SPECIALISTS
The Spanish Society of Sheep and Goat Specialists (SEOC) is a non-profit association open to all professionals interested in these sectors, both meat production and dairy. SEOC promotes sheep and goat research and development, and it was created to promote the exchange of knowledge and the continuous formation of its members. In the year 1975, a group of lecturers, researchers and technician specialists in animal production set up the Spanish Society of Sheep. The Spanish Society of Sheep was born from the concern of these professionals by exchanging knowledge, promoting research, and above all, transferring the latest developments on this species to rural areas through its technicians. In the IX Conference (1984), the field of action of the Society was expanded into the study of Caprine species, being the Conference held in Granada and Malaga, the first that had the name with which we know it today: Spanish Society of Sheep and Goat Specialists (SEOC).
THE BID PROCESS
The SEOC, as a member of the International Sheep Veterinary Association (ISVA), in representation of Spanish Sheep Veterinarians, was elected to organize the 10th International Sheep Veterinary Congress (ISVC) in 2023 from September 6th to 10th in Seville. It was at the second attempt that the ISVA awarded SEOC the honor of organizing this Congress. The SEOC's first bid was at the 7th ISVC in Stavanger in 2009. However, despite a very good bid, it was not able to beat the NZVA Sheep and Cattle Veterinary Society. The SEOC presented its candidacy again at the 9th ISVC in Harrogate (UK), where, to our surprise and great pleasure, the bid to organize the next ISVC in Seville was the winner. There were many reasons why SEOC wanted to bid for this major event. Spain is the third country in Europe in terms of sheep population, with 16 million head, after the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom. It is also the third country in terms of meat and milk production, with just over 100,000 tons of meat and half a million tons of milk. The high production of these species gives an idea of the diversification of management and production systems that the delegates were able to see in the pre and post-tours organized. In addition, Spain's geographical position in southern Europe, with excellent communications with the rest of the world, would facilitate the participation of participants from all five continents.
The organization of the 10th ISVC was a great challenge and required a lot of dedication and effort. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the organization and the scientific programme, as well as all the collaborating companies and institutions. It is important to note that just six months before our congress was held, the World Buiatrics Congress also took place in Spain, in Madrid. This meant an added effort, both economically and personally, for these companies.
Organizing Committee: María Jesús Alcalde, Jesse Barandika, Delia Lacasta, Chema González, Fran Saura, Julio Benavides,Valentín Pérez (R.I.P.), Ceferina Vieira, Raúl Bodas, José Miguel Mejías, Teresa Manso, Pedro Valentín, José Miguel Velázquez, Mercedes Valera, Nuria López, Ester Bartolomé.
Scientific Committee: Delia Lacasta, Pierre Autef, Fiona Lowatt, Snore Stuen, Caroline Jacobson, Anne Ridler, Paula Menzies, Valentín Pérez, Jesse Barandika, María Jesús Alcalde, Chema González, Neil Sargison. Mario Balaro, Lilian Gregory, Peter Windsor, Karim Adjou, Rhoda Leask, Patricio Ghiardi, Katja Voigh, Martin Ganter, Piet Vellema, Valentina Busin, Federico Infascelli, Nejib Bouslema, Helder Quintas, Ceferina Vieira, Teresa Manso, Raúl Bodas.
After a delay of one and a half years due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the conference took place from 6 to 10 March 2023, in the middle of the Mediterranean spring, which allowed the event and especially the city of Seville to be fully enjoyed. The congress venue had excellent technical facilities, which allowed for the successful development of the entire scientific program. In addition, the venue had large areas for the exhibition of posters, as well as for sponsors and their visitors.
The annual conferences of the European College of Small Ruminant Health Management (ECSRHM) and the SEOC were held in parallel with the ISVC.
A total of 678 delegates from 46 countries from all five continents attended. Logically, Spain was the most represented country. Many SEOC members were attending this world congress for the first time. In terms of geographical proximity, the second largest group was from the European Union, and here we can mention, in this order, Greeks, French, Germans, Italians, Dutch, Portuguese, Norwegians, Austrians, Finns, Czechs, Belgians, Bulgarians, Latvians, Lithuanians... The third largest group was that of the Anglo-Saxons, many of them members of the more traditional national associations of the ISVA, such as the British (English, Irish and Scottish), but also, and above all, because of their distant origins, the Australians and North Americans. There were also many delegates from Latin American countries, and it was a pleasure to welcome delegates from Africa (South Africa, Morocco, Israel, Egypt, Botswana, Malawi, Rwanda...) and Asia (Turkey and Pakistan).
The conference began with the opening ceremony and was attended by María Jesús Alcalde (President of the Organizing Committee and Vice-President of the SEOC), Ian Gill (President of the ISVA) and institutional representatives from the University of Seville, Seville City Council, Seville Provincial Council and the Andalusian Regional Government.
During the 5 days of the congress, there were 5 plenary talks with 8 speakers, 2 round tables with 11 speakers, 61 keynotes and 274 communications (191 oral and 83 posters). For both plenary talks and keynotes, the Scientific Committee selected leading experts from around the world for each lecture. The conference opened on Monday with the plenary session "Origin, history and evolution of the Merino breed in the world" chaired by Delia Lacasta, with four speakers talking about the Merino in different continents: "The Merina sheep and its spread across Europe" by Pedro Poza, "Merinos in South Africa" by Gareth Bath, "Past, present and future of the Merina in Argentina and Uruguay" by Gabriel Ciappesoni Scarone, and "History of the Merina in Australia" by Peter Windsor. On Tuesday, Gary Entrican was the speaker for the plenary talk titled “Induction of immune responses using vaccine platform technologies” and chaired by Ian Gill. On Wednesday it was Neil Karrow who spoke about “miRNA signaling and stress resilience, and its implications for disease resistance”, chaired by Ignacio De Barbieri. On Thursday we had an all-Spanish plenary session, since it was Chema González who chaired the plenary talk “The sheep microbiome” and Juan Miguel Rodríguez as the speaker. In the last planning talk of the conference "A review of sheep resilience", Ignacio De Barbieri was the speaker and Snorre Stuen was the moderator.
To facilitate a better distribution and follow-up of all the presentations, the Scientific Committee grouped all the keynotes and communications received according to their subject matter into five thematic blocks: global threat to sheep, general diagnosis to reduce antibiotic use, sustainability, ECSRHM and SEOC, which were presented in four parallel sessions. On Wednesday afternoon, only the ECSRHM session took place to accommodate the symposia organized by the main sponsoring companies (HIPRA, MSD Animal Health, CZ Vaccines and Syva). Similarly, the afternoon of the last day of the congress was left free for participants to attend the social events organized for that day.
At the end of the conference, 252 delegates completed the satisfaction survey. The overall results were quite good, with a score of 4 out of 5 points. The best-rated aspects were the scientific content (topics and speakers) and the facilities at the conference venue. The worst-rated aspects were the conference meals (3 out of 5 points. The dinners organized as part of the social events also scored below average, with some participants stating that the price was high. Finally, several delegates felt that the duration of the congress (5 days) was too long.
The social program was designed to show the most beautiful places in the city and also its gastronomy. It kicked off on the Monday (March 6) evening with the Welcome Reception, initially scheduled to take place in the headquarters of the Rectorate of the University of Seville (Old Royal Tobacco Factory), but as a result of the bad weather, we had to change the plans. Spanish wine and a tasting of sheep and goat products (meat and cheese) were served in a Restaurant with spectacular views of the Guadalquivir River.
On Tuesday, March 7, the dinner took place at the Muelle Siglo XXI Restaurant, on the banks of the Guadalquivir. Dinner attendees arrived at the restaurant from the Congress venue to the Restaurant via a sightseeing boat ride.
Wednesday, March 8, was free for delegates. But a visit to “Reales Alcázares” was made for guests, speakers and committees. The Real Alcázar in Seville, also known as Reales Alcázares, is the oldest active royal palace in Europe. Since its origin is linked to the dynasty of the Umayyads, the Arab kings of Al-Andalus who ruled Seville in the High Middle Ages, has it been a royal residence.
On Thursday, March 9, The Church of the Annunciation was visited. This church is a Sevillian Catholic temple (patrimony of the University of Seville). It has in its crypt the Pantheon of Illustrious Sevillanos, where Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer is buried, among other figures.
The International Dinner was then held in a restaurant inside "las setas". The Mushrooms of Seville are the city’s latest great iconic monument. It offers a unique urban picture, very contemporary in the middle of the classic Seville. The viewpoint is worth seeing, it is very photogenic. The performance of the different countries made it a very fun night of fraternization.
And finally, on Friday, March 10. We went to the Hierro del Bocado Stud in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), where we could enjoy an exhibition of carriages and horse training. The Closing dinner occurred at the Bodega de Osborne (a typical Andalusian restaurant). The main course of the dinner was "Segureño Lamb" roasted on the grill. There were several formalities (speeches, awards and thanks to the committee members).
THE PRE-CONFERENCE TOUR
The pre-conference tour began on 25 February and lasted 9 days. Eight cities were visited, four of them World Heritage Sites, as well as several farms with different sheep breeds (Rasa aragonesa, Churra, Merina, Assaf and Lacaune) and a genetic selection center. Due to the sheeppox situation in some regions of Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia, the planned visits to some farms could not take place. Additionally, as a preventive measure, in order to access the farms, attendees had to use biosafety divers and disposable leggings.
The first day of the tour, was the day of arrival in Barcelona, where the tour started with a guided tour of the old town, Güell Park, Montjuic Garden, Sagrada Familia cathedral and the whole of modernist Barcelona, and in the afternoon was the trip to Zaragoza. The next day, in addition to a sightseeing tour of the city (the old town of Zaragoza, Basilica del Pilar, La Seo cathedral), started the technical visits of the tour, visiting the Casa Ganaderos archive, the ruminant clinical service of the Veterinary Faculty of Zaragoza, a sheep meat farm and a lamb feedlot. The weather in Zaragoza was very cold (-5ºC and a wind chill of -11ºC), but the joy of the visits made it less noticeable. The meal times also helped, in fact, some attendees commented that they had eaten the best lamb of their lives.
The next day there was a long trip to Salamanca through a snowy landscape. It was the first time some of them had seen snow! The night visit to this city was wonderful. On the fifth day of the tour, several technical visits were made, visiting a Churra sheep farm and an Assaf sheep farm in Vitigudino, and the OVIGEN Genetic Selection in Toro (Zamora). In the afternoon, the trip continued to the city of Cáceres. On the sixth day, a wool selection and marketing center and a lamb feedlot in Villanueva de la Serena were visited. After the visits, the group moved to the city of Toledo.
The next day, traveling through the region of Castilla La Mancha, on the way to Córdoba, the tour attendees were able to see the famous windmills that remind us of Don Quixote de la Mancha and that are abundant in this Spanish region. On the eighth day, during the tourist visit to Córdoba, a visit to the Cathedral Mosque or the old town was "obligatory." Afterwards, the group made a technical visit to a dehesa system farm in Constantina (Seville), located in a wonderful natural environment. From there, the group moved to the town of Aracena, where that night, the tour's gala dinner took place. On the ninth and last day, the Dehesa Dos Hermanas farm (the biggest Lacaune farm in Europe), located in Huelva, was visited. In this province, the Coto de Doñana national Park and Rocio Village were also stay in. The tour ended with the arrival in Seville, where the farewell dinner was held, which was accompanied by a flamenco show.
There was also a post-tour that was a little shorter length than the pre-tour (from 11th to 14th March). It was a very friendly trip, where in addition to visiting farms representative of intensive and extensive management, it was accompanied by touristic activities.
A dairy sheep farm Dehesa Dos Hermanas, with 20.000 Lacaune ewes, was visited. In addition, attendees were able to see the management of sheep and Iberian pigs in the "Dehesa" environment, which is a unique ecosystem in the world. We were able to walk through Doñana, one of Europe's most beautiful and important wetlands, and admire the beautiful Córdoba. This city is famous around the world for its Great Mosque. Its historic old town is a World Heritage site, full of little streets to be explored, courtyards full of flowers, inviting squares and lively taverns where you can enjoy a good flamenco performance or try the local cuisine. And, of course, we tasted one of the delicacies of Spanish gastronomy, Iberian pork ham.