Registrations are open for dairy science symposium

The 8th Australasian Dairy Science Symposium will be held this year in Palmerston North from 21-23 November. This event, held each two years, is the largest technical dairy science meeting in the southern hemisphere.

Registration for the conference is now open. In addition, the organisers are calling for abstracts from those interested in presenting a paper.

All details can be found HERE.

This year our theme, “Dairy Science for Profitable and Sustainable Farming”, is focused on identifying challenges to dairying in the coming decade, and outlining how science is developing solutions, while also acknowledging gaps in our science or knowledge.

Professor Danny Donaghy (Massey) and Dr David Pacheco (AgResearch)
will be the conference co-chairs.


‘Olympics of the animal genetics world’ to be held in NZ next month

More than 1000 delegates from around the world will take part in three prestigious animal recording and genetics conferences in Auckland next month.

It is the first time the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production (WCGALP) has held its four yearly congress in this country and only the second time in the Southern Hemisphere.

The congress will be combined with the annual conferences for the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR) and Interbull – the leading event for research and development in animal improvement, milk testing, DNA parentage analysis, genomics and genetics.

With agendas covering everything from parentage verification, breeding and genetic evaluation to ear tags, technology and herd testing, the three events attract a wide range of national and international experts.

LIC’s chief scientist and the ICAR conference co-chair, Bevin Harris, said the events – mainly attended by researchers, scientists and other professionals – are something for the Kiwi animal industry to be proud of.

“It’s like the Olympics of the animal genetics world coming to New Zealand. These are the biggest events on the industry’s event calendar.

“This represents a huge recognition of our country’s animal genetics industry and is a great opportunity to showcase our animal recording and technological developments. New Zealand is a leader in this space, so what better way to show this than by hosting these conferences.”

Delegates will be taken on several field trips, including a trip to a Waiheke Island oyster farm and a day in the Waikato visiting artificial breeding facilities and local dairy farms.

All three events will be held at the Aotea Centre in Auckland. The first will start on February 7.

11th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production

New Zealand will host the 11th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, promoted as the premier event for researchers and professionals involved in genetic improvement of livestock 

Delegates from around the world gather every four years to attend the scientific programme and to network with colleagues.

This WCGALP builds on previous successful congresses in Madrid (Spain, 1974 and 1982), Lincoln (USA, 1986), Edinburgh (UK, 1990), Guelph (Canada, 1994), Armidale (Australia, 1998), Montpellier (France, 2002), Belo Horizonte (Brazil, 2006), Leipzig (Germany, 2010) and Vancouver (Canada, 2014).

Through field trips on Wednesday 14 February, the conference will give delegates the opportunity to see first-hand the genetic improvement of livestock (and maybe trees and grapes) by breeders who are passionate about improving profitability.

The ICAR Annual Conference for global standards for livestock data will be held at the same venue in Auckland 7-11 February 2018 on the expectation delegates may be interested in attending both meetings. 

The 2018 Interbull Meeting, the leading event for research and development in bovine genetic and genomic national and international evaluations, will be held as part of the ICAR and WCGALP meeting.

New resources promote ways to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research

New booklets to help people replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research have been developed by the New Zealand arm of ANZCCART, the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching.

The principles of replace, reduce and refine are known as the 3Rs:

Replacement: Where possible, replacing animal use with alternative techniques

Reduction: using the least number of animals possible while still getting useful, reliable data

Refinement: minimising potential suffering and improving animal welfare.

The booklets, which have been produced in collaboration with the Ministry for Primary Industries, will be provided to animal ethics committees, the research community, and to schools around New Zealand.

ANZCCART Committee member and University of Auckland microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles, who co-wrote the booklets, said that under New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act, animal ethics committees must take the 3Rs into account when they are considering proposals for research, testing or teaching.

“This means that animals should only be used when there are no alternatives, and that any harm to animals must be weighed up against the benefit to humans or other animals, and those harms must be minimised.”

The eight titles set out innovative ways to follow the 3Rs in many areas of scientific research in accessible and non-specialist language.

One booklet explains how to use a chemical analysis technique rather than testing on mice to detect the presence of toxins in shellfish – an example of replacement.

Another outlines how the light produced by fireflies (known as bioluminescence) can be used to non-invasively track the location and numbers of bacteria within infected animals without having to euthanise them – an example of reduction.

A further booklet explains that animal suffering can be reduced by using blood-sucking insects to collect blood from wild birds rather than needing to catch the bird, which is stressful to the animal. The insects can be smuggled into a bird’s nest and then collected later to extract the blood from – an example of refinement.

“We hope the booklets will enable researchers to think creatively about how they can follow the principles of replace, reduce and refine in research they are involved with,” says Dr Wiles.

“We also hope that the booklets will show school children and the wider public the techniques being used to reduce, refine and replace the use of animals in research, teaching and testing.”

The resources are being launched to coincide with the ANZCCART 2017 conference, being held as part of Queenstown Research Week from today until Monday 4 September.

Two international experts will speak on the use of animals in research:

* Dr Helena Hogberg (Deputy Director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore MD.

The centre promotes humane science by supporting the creation, development, validation, and use of alternatives to animals in research, product safety testing, and education. It aims to effect change by working with scientists in industry, government, and academia to find new ways to replace animals with non-animal methods, reduce the numbers of animals necessary, or refine methods to make them less painful or stressful to the animals involved.

* Professor Roger Morris (Professor of Molecular Neurobiology, King’s College London).

Professor Morris will be sharing his experiences of the UK Concordat on openness for animal research at King’s College London.

The university has been inviting politicians, journalists, interested non-science members of staff, and one branch of the Women’s Institute to visit their animal houses.

Initially he was one of the few public faces of King’s College speaking on this issue. Gradually, individual scientists have become more confident to speak directly themselves.

Other universities also started to speak up, so his role has diminished as the campaign for the Concordat gathered pace.

ANZCCART is an independent body which was established to provide a focus for consideration of the scientific, ethical and social issues associated with the use of animals in research and teaching. The New Zealand Committee of ANZCCART is a special committee of Royal Society Te Apārangi.

More information on the ANZCCART Conference can be found at

The booklets will be available on the ANZCCART website following the launch:

International food safety experts in NZ for Food Integrity Conference

Global experts on how to protect our food systems and build strong food export brands are in Auckland this week for Food Integrity 2017.

Attended by some of New Zealand’s leading food producers, the two-day conference
at the Crowne Plaza, Auckland, today and tomorrow brings together international food experts to help local companies navigate the complex international food export market place, assisting them to understand risks and mitigate against them while building profitable export brands.

The conference will hear from a range of national and international food safety experts.

Food Integrity 2017 Is being followed by a one day Professional Intentional Food Adulteration Course. This will be run by the Food Protection & Defense Institute and hosted by the Associate Director Food Protection and Defense Institute, Dr Jennifer van de Ligt. It will help food producers develop strategies to guard against acts intended to cause wide-scale harm to their consumers and ruin brand reputation.

The 2017 Food Integrity Conference is convened by the Asia Pacific Centre for Food Integrity in association with AJ Park, one of Australasia’s leading intellectual property law firms.

Women in science to be celebrated at conference in Auckland

New Zealand’s female scientists will be celebrated in July when the ninth triennial Association for Women in the Sciences conference is hosted in Auckland.

The two-day conference will offer opportunities for women working, or wanting to work, in any field of science to develop their skills to benefit both their careers and personal lives. Networking opportunities will allow attendees to learn from each other’s stories.

The organisers say the programme has been developed to appeal to all women with an interest in science, including research scientists, administrators, businesswomen and educators. The programme is also intended to be accessible and of interest to young women nearing the end of their secondary or tertiary studies.

“AWIS was created more than 30 years ago, and the conference offers a great opportunity to reflect on how the science sector has changed over this time and how the organisation can best support its members into the future,” says National Convenor Emma Timewell.

“Over the course of the two day event, we will identify the changes in science that have influenced women in the past and, more importantly, the factors influencing the decisions young women are making when entering a career in science, and how we can support them to ensure gender balance at all levels of the science system into the future.

“Women are still under-represented in the New Zealand science system, particularly in the upper levels of both academia and industry. AWIS provides opportunities, like the conference, for women to share their issues, learn from each other, and celebrate their achievements. We hope that women at all stages of their careers, from secondary students to the most experienced, will attend the conference and benefit from the topics under discussion, learn something new and extend their network.”

Registration for AWIS2017 is now open at, with early bird pricing valid until mid-May. The conference is taking place on July 13 and 14 at the Heritage Hotel in Auckland.

The conference is being sponsored by Te Pūnaha Matatini, the Ministry of Business, Innovtion and Employment, Plant & Food Research, the NZ National Commission for UNESCO, The MacDiarmid Institute, The University of Auckland Faculty of Science and the Cawthron Institute.

NZ agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation conference next week

The New Zealand Agricultural Green House Gas Mitigation Conference will provide the full breadth of updates from policy, science and industry when it comes to agricultural greenhouse gases in New Zealand.

The focus is on how the agricultural sector will contribute to New Zealand’s commitments under the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which seeks to hold the rise in global average temperatures to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and has been ratified by more than 130 countries.

Presentations will cover the role played by agricultural emissions in climate change, industry perspectives, life cycle analysis, the role of land use change in emissions levels, projections to 2030, technology updates (myths and realities!) from methane and nitrous oxide programmes, and the role of soil carbon in on-farm solutions.

Registration is free and includes a networking lunch and a post-conference drinks function.

Pre-registration is required at

Details: 9am – 4.20pm Tuesday 28 March, Palmerston North Convention Centre, 354 Main St, Palmerston North.