With a densely populated urban environment sitting alongside an extensive Greenbelt Hong Kong is a city of contrasts for the was concerned with animal health and how such matters relate to human medicine the former British colony is an important location.
In April 2015 a team of academics from the University of Edinburgh held a two-day conference in association with the Hong Kong government experts from the Royal Vic school of veterinary studies and the Roslin Institute discussed a range of topics centered around improving Animal Health and Welfare and how this knowledge can be translated into improved treatment for human conditions.
The so-called one health initiative one health in one context would be thinking about and how we have entry medicine underpins human health in terms of food security and livestock development controlling zoonotic diseases and improving both human and animal health and then one health in another context which we’re also talking about here.
Also, how we can potentially use naturally occurring diseases in animals to model human disease or we can use human diseases to model animal diseases so as an example work that we’re doing on cancer for instance in Vetri medicine may have direct implications for what might be developed in human medicine that was a theme which was returned to by many of the conference speakers.
The idea that human and animal health are inextricably linked under the holistic approach that addresses the needs of more than one species is required an approach pioneered by Edinburgh through its decision to place human and animal scientists within one college.
Edinburgh University is the first university to have a one health program that’s why we pay a side visit to adam and you DVR and our director of deeply impress about the the the professor’s the Dean and all the others to have a concept of one health one well that’s why we collaborate with Edinburgh.
You need to have more collaboration as well as the Hong Kong government Edinburgh is also collaborating with the local SPCA with Professor, not Warren and her colleagues at the Jean marsh check international center for animal welfare education highlighting the benefits to animals and humans of improved welfare standards.
It’s been really good as a partner you know going back for five or six years we’ve been working together both as somebody to consult with and think that initiatives that we may want to develop on our own but also to partner with any bruh so in terms of general aspects we have a lot of Bentleys students that come to see practice with us and we do actually employ and we’re graduate graduates if they come back to us in Hong Kong so we have that beneficial aspect and we’ve also got potential there with the partnership with Hong Kong University where Hong Kong students who already enrolled in undergraduate degrees get the opportunity to go overseas and also get an experience in Edinburgh as well and they then go on to do a very course which is quite important because it is important to have locally grown talent understand the the sort of environment and economics in Hong Kong when you’re coming back to teach you to practice very medicine or get involved in other aspects and of research or public health one of Hong Kong’s biggest health problems concerns avian flu which has killed hundreds of people in China.
Its tendency to mutti it means it’s a virus that is hard to tackle you can view Hong Kong as the epicenter of where the greatest danger lies in many ways it was the start of for the 97 outbreak that has prompted a decade of war ii over h5n1 it’s near to the epicenter of h7n9 that’s causing so much trouble now but it’d be foolish to view is a local problem only because if there’s one thing we know about flu is that it becomes a global problem very very quickly so it’s too big a problem to leave to any one group of people who will only control it by working in concert better treatments for diseases such as avian flu are likely to Center on the use of gene technology an area in which Edinburgh is a world leader many scientists argue that such an approach is not only more effective for producers it improves animal welfare too we really don’t own up to the losses the economic losses, and the welfare consequences as well of disease in farm animals and although we do have vaccines a lot of them are not particularly effective I don’t have figures for losses in the poultry industry annually but I know that for example pig production in the United States.
Is thought to be reduced by about ten percent because of flu which is always cycling around the commercial production of pigs so they’re really big challenges and of course with chickens if they get bird flu we deal with it by slaughtering out many millions of chickens to control the infection the conference discussed many other topics including how to manage emerging diseases in wildlife more effectively an examination of how advances in horse medicine can be translated into improved human care an exploration of how vitamin D status in cats and dogs can indicate various health issues and a discussion of new biotechnology and its ability to improve food security more unusual subjects were also covered including the challenge posed by feral cattle.
Stephen Benton a vet with the Hong Kong government I studied the animals for some years which were abandoned by farmers who moved to the city many years ago it’s a very good environment for them in general because they have plenty to eat their fresh water and so their numbers will tend to increase but that does occasionally bring them into conflict with human activities if they are wandering up and down the roads, busy roads or sometimes they will go into people’s property and some people don’t like cow manure and things like that around so we do get complaints from time to time as a result dr. Benton and his colleagues are embarking on a program of population control castrating the meals and using a drug to treat the females we’re looking into a contraceptive vaccine called gonna con and that’s been used in several different species it’s been developed by the US Department of Agriculture and it’s been researched quite extensively in a white-tailed deer wild boar feral horses and and these species but I guess because there isn’t generally a worldwide problem with the feral cattle over the population the this drug hasn’t really been looked at very much in cattle so far some Australian researchers have been looking at it and we’ve also been looking at it in Hong Kong the conference ended with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the Hong Kong government enabling more collaboration and knowledge exchange the university needs to form partnerships around the world because we have a common interest worldwide in the problem of food of ensuring that we can produce enough protein to feed the world in 2050 and the only way that’s going to happen is if we improve the productivity of both our plants and animals