Sustainable Food Production Through Livestock Health Management
Learn about the impact of infectious disease on sustainable animal-based food production by understanding the science of growth, immunity, and infection and by learning the problem-solving skills needed to advance animal health and food production through optimal management practices. There is a growing global need in agricultural production for a workforce that is capable of integrating knowledge of animal health and production with an understanding of consumer preferences in the context of economic reality, business efficiency, and ethical constraint. However, current evidence suggests that there is a growing shortage of people with the knowledge and problem-solving skills required to match the rapid advances being made in animal health, science, and food production. The results of this shortage are wide-ranging and could lead to challenges in food security and agricultural economic competitiveness in some countries. In this course we will explore the effect of infectious disease on sustainable animal-based food production. The content and learning outcomes of this new course will be designed to be relevant across different food production sectors (i.e., beef, dairy, poultry, and pigs). While the instructors will provide the participants with a strong scientific base for understanding the impact of infectious disease in animal-based food production, the emphasis of the material will be on practical problem-solving and will be directed towards equipping participants with a platform for developing the skills needed to contribute to sustainable food production. Syllabus Course Orientation You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment. The orientation will also help you obtain the technical skills required for the course. Week 1: Animals and Sustainable Food Production This week we will review the universal and historical principles underlying livestock system design, and how management of genetics, nutrition, and the environment have advanced efficiency through their impact on the physiological processes that control animal growth, development, and production Week 2: Disease as a Barrier to Sustainability This week we will demonstrate the link between nutrition and health at every stage of life and production by examining the science behind efficient nutritional intake, uptake, and utilization, and exploring the mechanisms by which disease can interfere with these processes. Week 3: Animals’ Response to Infectious Disease This week we will introduce the concept of the farm and each production system as an ecosystem in which animals and microbes live in mutualistic relationships, and explain the beneficial impact of ecologically managing the microbes alongside the animals to enhance host defense, animal health, and production efficiency. Week 4: Our Role in Fighting Infectious Disease This week we consider the ravages of infectious disease on animal well-being and production system efficiency by considering disease as a war between infectious agents and their reluctant hosts, acting both at an individual and population level that can be measured and managed. Week 5: Our Role in Preventing Infectious Disease This week we will be discussing the role of caregivers in managing, preventing, and controlling infectious disease in livestock-based production systems, and help you appreciate how an understanding of the prey-predator relationship can be used in the design of management strategies to offset physical, physiological, and psychological stress. Week 6: Infectious Disease and the World’s Food This week we will be discussing infectious disease and its impact on food safety and security at the regional, national, international, and global level. We will also help you understand how outbreaks of important infectious diseases, such as Ebola and foot-and-mouth disease, are tracked and investigated.
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