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Increasing global protein needs disease prevention

Meeting the global demand for an abundant supply of a safe and affordable source of protein, that is what the poultry industry strives for. That needs constant attention for the efficient prevention and control of disease, strategies to increase productivity of poultry flocks and maximise efficiency of the poultry producers’ businesses.

Poultry and egg producers, and top avian health scientists and experts from 70 countries shared information about solutions to efficiently prevent and control disease at the recently held 4th Merial Global Avian Forum in Barcelona.

Higher demand for animal protein

The growth of the global population, and expanding middle class populations and incomes in many developing countries, will require more than 30% more animal protein worldwide by the year 2030. As a result, poultry producers are advancing their business models to deliver a greater quantity of healthy chicken meat at affordable prices. In a more complex and global environment, poultry production requires all-encompassing and evolving strategies that address infrastructure, production systems, disease prevention and sustainability.

"As vast, multi-national poultry producers strive to safely produce more protein than ever before, Merial works side by side with them in every region of the world, to improve the health and productivity of flocks and to increase the efficiency and profitability of their business," said Jérôme Baudon, Global Head of the Avian Business at Merial.

Controlling poultry diseases

"The Merial Global Avian Forum is an extension of our on-the-ground veterinary expertise, technology and services in more than 85 countries. This meaningful opportunity for education and information exchange helps to advance poultry disease control efforts and productivity around the world."

Presentations and workshops during the forum explored global and regional poultry management trends; the evolution of emerging and re-emerging avian diseases; and current and future diagnostics and vaccine technologies.

Poultry production efficiency advances

In an opening session, Rabobank Animal Protein Senior Analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder discussed the opportunity for producers to benefit from poultry being the fastest growing protein market, due to the low production costs, the health benefits of chicken meat, and consumer preference for affordability and convenience. He addressed the importance of production efficiency advances in light of the increasing pressures of global animal disease, supply and distribution challenges, food safety, animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Mulder also provided insight into the business models of the different regions and the import/export dynamics in a globalising poultry industry.

Several interactive discussions focused on the prevalence - often with considerable differences in regions - and evolution of (re)emerging diseases in the world, including respiratory diseases (avian influenza, Newcastle disease virus (NDV), Marek's disease, infectious bronchitis, mycoplasmosis and infectious laryngotracheitis) and digestive diseases (caused by viruses, bacteria, coccidia, Histomonas and  other parasites).

Preventing highly endemic diseases

Other presentations examined strategies to prevent and control these highly endemic diseases, which have the potential to threaten entire flocks and cause significant quality, supply and economic losses. These sessions addressed a range of approaches to protect more birds from disease with greater convenience, less expense and reduced environmental impact.

At the meeting, Merial announced updates on the use of its novel NeO effervescent tablet vaccine formulation. The NeO tablets are packaged in lightweight aluminum blisters and dissolved in water for spray, eye drop or drinking water administration, delivering enhanced convenience for the poultry farmers, safety for the birds and environmental benefits. The Avinew NeO effervescent tablet vaccine is already available in 16 countries for immunisation against NDV and continues to roll-out globally.

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