Bringing home agriculture lessons from Canada

| Atlantic Veterinary College
Submitted by Dr. John VanLeeuwen
Veterinarians Without Borders-Canada
Veterinarians Without Borders-Canada lead tours of PEI and AVC

Sixteen representatives from partner organizations of Veterinarians Without Borders-Canada (VWB) visited Prince Edward Island (PEI) from April 28 to May 3 to gain insights into agricultural management and industry issues. The delegates, hailing from Kenya, Ghana, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, had spent a week in Ottawa before arriving in PEI.

Their host, Dr. John VanLeeuwen, a professor of ruminant health management and epidemiology, and chair of the Department of Health Management, Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), welcomed the group. Dr. VanLeeuwen, also a former president of VWB Canada, provided the visitors with an in-depth understanding of smallholder dairy health management and One Health principles. He discussed food security, climate change, environmental sustainability, gender equity, and antimicrobial resistance, drawing on his extensive experience teaching, research, and service in low-income countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Peru.

The educational tour included a visit to a sheep farm where participants learned about flock health, disease management, innovative barn design, and the sheep value chain. The group then toured a dairy farm and explored disease and manure management, silage techniques, biosecurity measures, cow comfort, calf management, and automated computerized milking.

At the AVC, they participated in a hands-on demonstration of artificial insemination techniques, enhancing their understanding of livestock reproductive health. The visitors also enjoyed a trip to the Great Canadian Soap Company and goat farm in Brackley, where they learned about transforming goat milk into soap and other personal care products.

The tour concluded with a visit to the UPEI Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation in St. Peter’s Bay where they toured the facility, including the drone lab, and learned about agricultural adaptation to climate change. The final farm visit was to a beef farm where they learned about the nutritional, reproductive, and infectious disease management practices implemented on the farm, including a record-keeping system, which could be adapted to their country’s farms. 

For many of the visitors, it was the first time they experienced snow, making their trip to Canada one of incredible learning opportunities that will enhance farming in their home countries and of cultural experiences they will not forget. 

Media Contact

Apryl Munro
External Engagement Officer
Atlantic Veterinary College