August 20, 2015

Speakers announced for food animal emergency management symposium


Aug. 19, 2015 – Multiple industry, government, and academic experts have been announced as keynote and plenary speakers for the 5th International Symposium on Managing Animal Mortalities, Products, By-Products, & Associated Health Risks: Connecting Research, Regulations and Responses. The Symposium, to be held September 28 – October 1, 2015, will take place at the Lancaster Marriot at Penn Square in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Timothy Goldsmith, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, will serve as the Symposium’s keynote speaker and will discuss understanding risk when planning for and responding to catastrophic livestock diseases. Goldsmith has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine since 2008 and is currently an assistant professor and co-director of the Veterinary Public Health and Preventative Medicine Residency Program within the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety.

The Symposium’s plenary speakers will cover a wide range of topics important to today’s food animal industry – including hot topics like highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).

Mark Van Oort, who is the complex manager at Center Fresh Egg Farm, oversees the day-to-day care of 5.6 million egg laying hens at one of America’s leading egg-product producers. Van Oort will discuss the challenges faced as he guided Center Fresh Egg Farm through the recent HPAI outbreak – including large-scale euthanasia, carcass disposal, composting and quarantine zones. Patrick Webb, DVM, National Pork Board’s director of swine health programs, will discuss lessons learned from last year’s PEDv outbreak regarding morbidity and mortality management and the effects on pork producers.

An international panel will also provide perspectives and experiences from industry leaders in the following countries: Canada, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Australia, Republic of Georgia, Vietnam, U.S. and South Korea. This session will also include a plenary talk by Heekwon Ahn, Ph.D. – associate professor in the department of animal biosystems science at South Korea’s Chungnam National University – that will examine revisions the South Korean government made to standard operating procedures following a serious foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2011.

In addition to hearing from international experts, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an emergency exercise focusing on an HPAI outbreak that will draw upon real experiences of participants in responding to the outbreaks in North America in 2014 and 2015. This exercise will allow participants to analyze a notional HPAI outbreak in various dimensions and identify issues and gaps related to depopulation, disposal and managing various contamination issues that could occur during the disease outbreak. The continuation of food production and distribution, with stop movement processes, will also be explored.

The Symposium will also provide learning experiences outside of the classroom through demonstrations and tours. Concept and equipment demonstrations include: foam euthanasia of poultry, emergency windrow composting, carcass reduction, animal decontamination, vehicle decontamination, wastewater treatment systems and euthanasia of livestock. Multiple tours will also be conducted at a variety of farms and businesses involved in Pennsylvania’s beef, dairy, swine and poultry industries.

Participants who complete early registration by September 1, 2015 are eligible for a discounted rate. For registration, more information and a full schedule, visit

The symposium is supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, and various government and educational institutions across North America. The symposium will be hosted by Penn State Extension. To learn more about the symposium and how to be involved as a participant, demonstrator, exhibitor or sponsor, go to

Headquartered in College Station, Texas, IIAD was founded in 2004 as a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Center of Excellence. The Institute focuses on research, education and outreach to prevent, detect, mitigate and recover from transboundary, emerging and/or zoonotic diseases, which may be introduced intentionally or through natural processes. In 2014, IIAD was recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a Collaborating Centre in the specialty of biological threat reduction. IIAD is the only centre of this kind in OIE’s America’s region and the only OIE Collaborating Centre within the Texas A&M University System. For more information, visit