As society has become increasingly sensitive and demanding about the quality and safety of our foods, veterinary medicine in general—and Penn Vet specifically—has come to assume greater responsibility and leadership in preventive medicine and public health. In the field and laboratory, veterinarians play an essential role in assuring the wholesomeness of meat, milk and poultry products produced on Pennsylvania farms, as well as in the prevention and control of diseases transmissible directly from animals to people. Approximately half of all human pathogens—including the causative agents of Lyme disease, West Nile fever, rabies, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis and colibacillosis—are of animal origin. Reservoirs of infection in animals account for more than three-quarters of the many newly emerging and re-emerging human diseases. Moreover, the spectrum of pathogens is changing constantly in response to changes in the environment, food-production systems and consumption patterns, and as new and better laboratory tests identify previously unrecognized disease-producing agents.
Veterinarians are responsible for preventing diseased animals from entering the human food chain. Locally, at Pennsylvania’s ports of entry, veterinary inspectors prevent the introduction of diseases from imported animals or their products. At the Food and Drug Administration, veterinarians safeguard the wholesomeness of foods of animal origin, and determine whether drugs used on animals or in animal feeds contribute residues or metabolites of questionable safety in meat, milk and eggs. These efforts are buttressed by veterinarians engaged in research on public health problems, educational outreach and extension services, and on-the-farm delivery of animal health care. Penn Vet is at the forefront of this worldwide coalescence of medicine and science to better the health of both animals and people.
The Livestock Revolution, Sustainable Development and Zoonotic Disease Conference
This conference on global health was held November 2006 at the University of Pennsylvania and featured a host of distinguished experts discussing the far-reaching environmental, infectious-disease and social problems emerging as the population of developing countries expands, gains prosperity and increases demand for animal protein. The keynote speaker was Dr. Henning Steinfeld of the Food Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, who spoke about livestock-sector trends and implications for veterinary public health. The goals of the conference were to stimulate new ways for the profession to think about the world, and to acknowledge the many different stakeholders with which it must learn to collaborate to develop effective strategies to protect human and animal health as well as the environment.
View the conference's program here.
(back to top)
Research & Service at Penn Vet
The Center implements teaching, research and service programs directed toward the improvement of health and productivity of dairy, swine and poultry production systems in Pennsylvania. The Center focuses on the maintenance of physical and economic health in the whole animal population rather than clinical treatment of individual sick animals.
The Center is committed to research and training that will increase the ability to control and prevent bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases that threaten the health and well-being of animals and humans. >>More
The Laboratory, with a long history of service to Pennsylvania's poultry industry, aims to provide the best diagnostic service to Pennsylvania and regional poultry producers, hatcheries, service personnel, and feed and breeder companies. >>More
(back to top)