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Thomson Urges Veterinarians to be Involved in Securing their Future

March 12, 2009

Dr. John U. Thomson, ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, (515) 294-9860
Ms. Tracy Ann Raef, Veterinary Communications, (515) 294-4602


“Securing our future is not a spectator sport,” urged Dr. John U. Thomson, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University.

“For a secure future, swine veterinarians must remain a recognized and valued resource for the production of safe, affordable and available pork,” said Dr. Thomson who delivered the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

“Swine veterinarians must take a leadership role toward continuous improvement,” he said. “It will be critical for them to establish the best practices of production that meet or exceed society’s expectations associated with public health, animal welfare and the environment.”

 “The swine industry and the veterinary profession need to find ways to address our weaknesses,” Dr. Thomson said. He explained that new technologies allow communications and idea-sharing more quickly and easily; consequently, veterinarians have the ability to collaborate on a scale previously unthinkable. “Complacency and risk aversion are our major obstacles,” he said.

He challenged veterinarians to create an open source process that would bring diverse disciplines together to develop best practices for the production of pork.

Dr. Thomson received his DVM from Iowa State University in 1967. For 20 years after graduation, he was a private practitioner in Iowa. Since 2004 he has served as the dean of the veterinary college at Iowa State. He serves on the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges board and the University of Iowa College of Public health board. He is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee. He was selected as “Veterinarian of the Year” in South Dakota, Mississippi and Iowa. 


The Howard Dunne Lecture is the most prestigious presentation during the annual meeting of the AASV. Established in 1978, the Lecture is named for Howard W. Dunne (1913-1974), an internationally recognized authority on swine diseases. He authored the first edition of Diseases of Swine, the complete and authoritative reference on swine diseases. Dr. Dunne received his DVM from Iowa State University and his PhD from Michigan State University.