I International Congress on Animal Health and Welfare is presented in Leon

Leon will become the focus of veterinary debate on September 15, 16 and 17 with the celebration of the 1st International Congress on Animal Health and Welfare. This first-level professional event, which will include almost forty specialized speakers, is organized by the General Council of Veterinary Colleges of Spain, in collaboration with the Official Veterinary College of León.

During the three days, the city of León will be a meeting place for renowned Spanish and international experts to deal with the scientific and technical aspects of animal health and welfare. The meeting will take place at the Rectory of the University of León.

“This area is at the heart of public health, as we vets have long pointed out. A reality that was confirmed with the pandemic and the increase of diseases of zoonotic origin”, recalled the president of the Official College of Veterinarians of Leon, Luciano Dies Dies.

Díez also explained that the congress is a “unique opportunity for professionals from different fields and sectors to meet first-hand with specialists in their fields of work, of maximum interest and topical issues, and to exchange experiences. In addition, it includes both general and species-specific representations (ruminants, pigs, horses, poultry and pets)’.

For his part, the president of the Organization of College of Veterinary Medicine (OCV), Luis Alberto Calvoindicated that the Leon Congress was a clear reflection of the commitment of veterinarians “to the improvement of public health through animal health and welfare and food safety”.

Calvo stressed that the risk of epidemics and pandemics is increasing, as a consequence of environmental degradation, “which necessitates the launch of a new public health model based on prevention, which takes into account the challenges we face, such as increase in non-communicable diseases, access to clean water or antibiotic resistance.

In this regard, he reported that The “VetSustainable” brand will be announced soon.with which this professional group aims to strengthen respect for the environment and raise public awareness in this regard within the framework of the “One Health” paradigm, which focuses on the fact that animal and human health, as well as the environment, are interconnected and actions taken with some affect the rest of the chain.

The dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of León emphasized exactly this, Maria Teresa Carbajo Rueda, who emphasized that the “One Health” concept represents an interdisciplinary working strategy for an efficient response to health problems that may arise in the short and medium term. “The purely sanitary approach to public health must be replaced by one based on prevention and detection of risks at source in order to mitigate their consequences in this way,” he explained.

“At the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of León, we are aware that veterinarians are an essential pillar in this approach and we are concerned that our students acquire these skills that allow them to work together with other environmental health professionals, in control of infectious and parasitic diseases in animals (including humans), food safety and animal welfare”.


This international meeting will pay special attention to zoonoses and emerging diseases, as their worldwide spread in recent years due to various factors represents an obvious public health challenge that can only be overcome through prevention and One Health policies.

Globalization, rising temperatures as a result of climate change and the degradation of ecosystems leading to the loss of biodiversity in many parts of the world are some of the reasons behind this phenomenon, which has a clear impact on the SARS-CoV -2 pandemic.

Keep this in mind 75% of emerging infectious diseases affecting humans are of animal origin. Viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi transmitted by vectors can be the source of these zoonotic diseases transmitted by invertebrates and also by vertebrates, a reality that shows that human health, animal health and the environment form an interconnected whole.

The program includes presentations focusing on zoonoses such as rabies, canine leishmaniasis, West Nile virus – with several cases this summer in Spain – and salmonellosis.

In particular, the evolution of canine leishmaniasis, transmitted by the sand fly mosquito, will be addressed by Guadalupe Miro Corrales, professor in the Department of Animal Health at Complutense University’s Veterinary School.

For his part, José Luis Sáez Llorente, head of the Department of Health Programs and Zoonoses of the Ministry of Agriculture, will deal with the current situation of national salmonella control programs in Spain, while Gregorio Torres, Head of the Scientific Division of the World Organization for Animal Health (WHO), will deliver the conference entitled “Status of Vaccination of Rage”, zoonoses which It kills about 60,000 people every year..

Ignacio García Bocanegra, Professor of Animal Health at the Veterinary School of Córdoba, will focus his talk on Update on the epidemiology of West Nile disease in Spain. This virus is transmitted to animals and humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes and finds its main reservoir in birds. Its presence in our country caused the death of eight people in various southern provinces in the summer of 2020.

The congress will also include emerging vector-borne diseases, whose strategic plan will be addressed by José María de Torres Medina, veterinarian and former Director General of Public Health of the Junta de Andalucia, and other epidemics present in certain species, both domestic and wild..

Among them are African swine fever, which will be addressed by Francesc Accensi Alemany, researcher at IRTA-CRESA; on bird flue high pathogenicity, which the Italian specialist Alessandro Scolari will focus on from a prevention point of view, while Rosario Panadero Fontan, Professor of Animal Health at the Veterinary Faculty of Lugo, who will deal with emerging pathogens transmitted by ticksanother insect that is favored by climate change.


Three world-renowned specialists will participate as lecturers – the British Sandra Edwards, the American Melinda Merck and the Italian Alessandro Scolari.

Sandra Edwardsin Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and PhD in Animal Welfare and Management from the University of Reading, will deliver the conference on Saturday 17th at 10am under the title “Interaction between health and welfare in pig production”, a sector of particular economic and social importance in Spain that strives for innovation, sustainability and animal welfare. Edwards has worked for more than 30 years in applied research for the UK’s Agricultural Development and Advice Service, the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Agriculture and the Scottish College of Agriculture, where he was responsible for a range of housing and welfare, nutrition and management projects. cattle and pigs.

Between 2000 and 2017, she was Professor of Agriculture at the University of Newcastle, where she developed research on multidisciplinary interactions between nutrition, reproduction, behavior and welfare in pigs and other farm animals. She is President of the British Society for Animal Science and a member of the UK Farm Animal Welfare Board and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Animal Health and Welfare Group.

For his part, Dr. Melinda Merckspecializing in veterinary forensics and owner of Veterinary Forensics Consulting in Austin, Texas, will focus on “Animals as Indicators of Other Abuses: The Role of the Veterinarian”. She is the author and co-author of several textbooks on veterinary forensics and animal cruelty research.

She serves on the Prosecuting Attorneys Association’s Animal Abuse Advisory Board and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Committee, and is an associate member of the WSAVA One Health Committee and is the founding chair of the association’s Board of Directors. Forensics. He has conducted countless conferences and seminars on animal abuse in various countries for veterinarians, lawyers and prosecutors.

To deepen knowledge in Avian influenza, present in several European nations, including Spain, will be present at the congress Alessandro Scolari, one of the highest authorities on this disease, who works as director of the veterinary laboratory Vallerana Srl in Cremona, Italy, and as a consultant for Aviagen.

Scolari will focus his conference on potential improvements in outbreak prevention and bird welfareand will analyze the evolution of this highly pathogenic H5N1 epidemic in the transalpine country over the last two years. His entire professional career, both from the independent clinic and from the Animal Health Authority, has been related to poultry farming in various aspects, such as breeding poultry, broilers, layers and commercial chickens, game birds, ducks, geese and turkeys for meat.

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