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"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher


The 2017 South African Society for Animal Scientists (SASAS) 50th congress hosted by the Eastern Cape branch was a huge success. The Boardwalk Hotel was the perfect place to host the 50th golden celebration.

To kick off the event were the student presentations to which Professor Scholtz remarked that he was impressed because it assured him that the future of animal science in South Africa is in good hands, aptly summarizing it in IsiXhosa “ndiyayithanda lento yendziwa ngababantwana” meaning I love the work the students presented.  The highlight of the opening night was the student quiz which is held annually on the first night of the congress. Find out more about the quiz and what took place on the evening of the gala dinner in our next blog but for now allow us to share with you some of the highlights of the 4 day congress.

The guest list

Among the delegates that graced the congress were the following: The Hon. MEC of the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) in the Eastern Cape Province, Mr Mlibo Qoboshiyane, who delivered the welcome address. In his address the MEC highlighted how agriculture played a major role in getting South Africa out of the recent technical recession, thus assuring congress delegates that  such gatherings were important and necessary for sustainable agriculture. The congress also hosted speakers from the Unites States of America such as Dr D. Boler who tackled the issue of emerging trends in meat science as well as Dr J. Sartin the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Animal Science, and Animal Frontiers, who gave three presentations that were both insightful and challenging. There were also heated panel discussions on issues and topics that affected the effectiveness of the modern day animal scientist.                                               

Invited speakers included Mr W. Buchner, a dairy farmer based in the Eastern Cape Province and he shared with the delegation his views on sustainable dairy production under South African conditions. Dr N. Vine from the University of Fort Hare spoke about aquaculture in South Africa: food for thought. Issues concerning animal welfare were among the most debated at the congress after being addressed by Dr Y.Z. Njisane also from the University of Forth Hare on her talk titled an African perspective on livestock production, welfare conditions and product quality: a review. Dr T.T. Nkukwana from the University of Pretoria enlightened the congress about global poultry production: current impact and future outlook on the South African poultry industry.

Equipping animal scientists

The congress was not only focused on current research trends  but also sought to equip young and emerging scientists  on how to write and publish novel research with expert advice from the editor of the journal Animal Feed Science and Technology, Professor V. Mlambo  whose talk was entitled scientific publication – Do’s and Don’ts. Furthermore, Dr J. Sartin gave a talk looking at an editor’s experience throughout the publication process. This was aimed at helping the animal scientist to understand the process a manuscript goes through before it becomes a publication and most importantly what an editor considers to be a manuscript that is worth publishing. The panel sessions that took place after these presentations provided an opportunity for the audience to engage with experienced scientists on the challenges they come across thus solutions, guidance and insight was offered by the experienced panel.  

The congress would not have been a success without the pooled efforts of the organizers, invited speakers, the generous help from sponsors as well as all the delegates that actively participated at the conference proceedings.

                 By: Nyeleka. S

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