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FAO/IAEA Symposium to Address Animal Production and Health


An international Symposium to be held in Vienna next week will focus on the use of nuclear technologies to enhance animal nutrition and reproduction strategies and to detect and control animal-origin diseases that can be transmitted to humans, such as swine and avian influenza.

Around 500 animal production and health experts from over 100 countries will present up-to-date findings for solving or alleviating factors affecting animal production. In addition, they will discuss modern techniques for curbing animal diseases that affect humans, also known as "zoonoses", which account for 70 percent of all human infectious diseases.

Media representatives may attend all sessions of the four-day FAO/IAEA Symposium on Sustainable Improvement of Animal Production and Health, organized by the Joint Division of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the UN and the IAEA. David Nabarro, UN System Coordinator on Avian and Human Influenza and the Global Food Security Crisis, will deliver a keynote address at the Symposium´s opening session at 9:00 a.m., on 8 June in the Vienna International Center´s C Building.

Media representatives are also invited to a press conference featuring:

  • Werner Burkart, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Agency´s Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications;
  • Modibo Traore, FAO Assistant Director-General, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department; and
  • Gottfried Brem, Chair of Animal Breeding Genetics, Veterinary University Vienna, Austria, and Member of the European Research Council (ERC) in Brussels.

The press conference will be held at 10:00 a.m. on the opening day of the event, Monday, 8 June 2009, in the Press Conference Room of the M Building of the VIC.


The Joint FAO/IAEA Animal Production and Health effort enhances global food security by implementing sustainable livestock production systems using nuclear and nuclear-related techniques. The program assists Member States with the efficient use of local feed resources, adequate livestock management and breeding programs, and tools to control and prevent animal and zoonotic diseases.

The Vienna Symposium aims to provide a clear overview of the current and future use of nuclear and nuclear-related techniques in solving livestock problems, alleviating rural poverty, controlling the spread of diseases and enhancing food security and food quality. Topics on the agenda will include interactions among nutrition, reproduction and genotype, effects of environment on animal productivity, detection and control of trans-boundary, emerging and zoonotic diseases and achieving food safety and security in the 21 century.

Nuclear technologies are used in many areas of livestock research and production. For example, isotopic tracer techniques can measure the nutritive value of feedstuff, to determine the nutrient intake or energy balance of animals, and to study the metabolism of nutrients in the animal body. The research helps to formulate balanced diets to achieve efficient growth and production. Isotopic methods are also used to monitor reproductive status, leading to better breeding management.

Nuclear techniques are also used in livestock disease diagnosis. For example, isotopic technologies offer great advantages in measuring reactions very precisely and accurately. Scientists use them to produce better diagnostic tools and tests or to follow the progress of a drug through the body. Better diagnostics will help provide early diagnoses of diseased animals, while better drugs or vaccines will help reduce the losses due to the disease agent.

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division assists Member Countries of the two organizations to use nuclear techniques and related biotechnologies for improving strategies for sustainable food security. Its co-ordinates and supports research worldwide; supplies technical and advisory services for projects and training activities; provides laboratory support and training through the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory at Seibersdorf, Austria; and collects, analyses and disseminates information for effective transfer of skills and technology.

Last update: 20 June 2018

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