Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

December 14, 2005

BSE, Bird Flu Topic of Public Forum

The public will have a chance to ask questions about BSE and bird flu and learn about the effect the diseases are having on Canada during a public forum Jan. 9 at the River Run Centre in Guelph. The free event is sponsored by the University of Guelph and the Royal Society of Canada.

“This will be an opportunity to discuss why BSE created the problems it did and what Canada should be doing to better deal with such crises in the future,” said Alan Wildeman, the U of G’s vice-president for research.

“We live in a complex and integrated world, where food and values and economics and politics intersect. Whether it be BSE or bird flu, the need for dialogue and exchange of ideas is crucial,” he said. “The impact of BSE continues to resonate in farm families and rural communities, and those issues also need to be brought to the fore.”

The forum, entitled “BSE: Finding Solutions to the Madness” will be held in the Co-operators Hall, River Run, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. It will be moderated by Bob McDonald, host of the CBC Radio science program Quirks and Quarks. He has served as a science correspondent, reporter, columnist, writer and host on radio and television for more than 25 years, and his books and video productions on science for elementary and secondary schools are widely used across North America.

The forum will include a panel of some of Canada’s leading experts on consumer and food safety, agriculture and public health. They will answer questions and engage the public in a discussion about the health, trade, policy and other issues surrounding BSE and bird flu.

Panellists include Paul Gully, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada; Brian Evans, Chief Veterinary Officer, Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Neil Cashman, Scientific Director, Brain Research Centre, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Conrad Brunk, Director, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria; Eva Nagy, a professor in Guelph’s Department of Pathobiology at the Ontario Veterinary College who conducts research on avian flu; and Spencer Henson, a professor in Guelph’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Business who researches food safety and consumer issues.

The forum is part of the “Taboo Topics” public series sponsored by the Royal Society of Canada, a 122-year-old organization consisting of distinguished Canadian scientists and scholars that promotes teaching and research in the arts and sciences.

The purpose of the “Taboo Topics” series is to provide citizens and policymakers with a forum to discuss thorny issues and subjects of national concern, said Karen Farbridge, a U of G political science instructor who is co-ordinating the public forum.

“BSE and bird flu are of great interest, not only to people working in fields impacted by the animal diseases, but to the general public as well,” she said. “Many people may have concerns about how these issues could affect their lives or about the measures in place to protect them. This forum will allow the community to ask questions and to share their views on these important topics.”

The forum may also be viewed live via the Internet, thanks to the Canadian Farm Business Management (CFBMC) and Galbraith Communications. CFBMC and Galbraith Communications the approached the University about making the forum available via the Internet as part of it’s online seminar series for farmers. Register here

For more information on the public forum, contact Farbridge at (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56641 or

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

Email this entry to:

Message (optional):

Powered by FeedBlitz