The goal of the International Conference on Production diseases in Farm Animals (ICPD) has always been to unite scientists from many disciplines and many countries in the study of production diseases in farm animals.

Nowadays, the definition of 'Production diseases' has expanded to include not only metabolic and nutritional diseases, but also diseases of an infectious and genetic nature. The common theme of all these diseases is their association with management and selection of animals for efficient agricultural production. So we must now also implement the effects of management and genetic selection on a wide variety of factors such as animal behavior, immunity and gene expression. The complexity of these interactions makes the interdisciplinary nature of the ICPD even more exciting than before.

Obviously, management aspects and prevention of production diseases will become ever more challenging as agricultural systems advance. These challenges have traditionally evoked rich and productive discussions during previous ICPD meetings. Discussions have furthermore widely expanded since the public and researchers more and more concern about the ethical aspects of animal production. Currently, the question about the effect of the environment on animal production also goes in the opposite direction, and discussions have been held about the effect of animal production on the environment. Hence, the so called ecological footprint of animal production will also be a topic which will be addressed on the coming ICPD meeting.  

It is a real pleasure for me to invite all people engaged in animal production to participate in the 14th ICPD which will be organized in June 2010 in the medieval city centre of Ghent (Belgium). Besides animal production, Belgium is world widely known for the production of fine chocolates and a large number of superb beers! So, for every one of you enough reasons to come to Ghent in June 2010!


Geert Opsomer
Head of the organizing committee of the 14th ICPD