China Studies Swedish Animal Health Model

CHINA and SWEDEN - Fifteen farm managers at major dairy farms in China are spending two weeks learning more about animal health work according to the Swedish model.
calendar icon 31 August 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

A group of Chinese attend a course at SLU's Uppsala campus. Front row, from the left: Course coordinators Eva Wredle and Karin Östensson from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science. Photographer: Mikael Propst, SLU

“Efficient dairy production requires good animal health, and this entails preventive measures and monitoring routines,” says veterinarian Karin Östensson, who, together with animal scientist Ewa Wredle, is leading the course at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Uppsala.

The background to the Chinese visit is the ambition to increase milk production in China. The goal is for all children to have this high quality food served in their schools. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, SLU, has a long tradition of offering international continuing education courses to agronomists and veterinarians. Sweden started training practitioners from abroad in the 1950s.

What’s unique about this course is that all participants come from the same country and that they all work at farm level. They come from farms with many thousands of cows and a large number of employees.

“China wants to increase its milk production with quality. Throughout the world too little effort goes into preventive animal health, and there is often a lack of good routines for monitoring the health of the animal stock,” says Karin Östensson.

“China has a modern dairy production. But Sweden is a leading country when it comes to preventive animal health care.”

The two-week course is mainly given in the form of lectures at the University’s premises in Ultuna, near Uppsala. But there will be workshop and group work components focusing on real-life problems at a dairy farm, as well as field trips to practice the tools for evaluation of animal health at a dairy farm outside of Uppsala.

The Chinese participants will also visit the milking equipment manufacturer DeLaval’s facilities in Tumba, near Stockholm.

“International collaboration of this kind is extremely important to our Faculty. Even though the purpose of the course is for the Chinese to learn more about how we work in Sweden, we also learn a great deal from them. This is something we can then use in education and research. It’s very important for our own development.”

The training is an introductory course arranged at the request of the DeLaval company and its Chinese operations. Some 20 lecturers are involved, most of them from SLU but also from farm associations and companies.

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