Erin Stein, June 16, 2014 , Bristol, England

Beginning of the last week.  I cannot believe how time has flown by.  I have sincerely enjoyed this rotation.  Besides the incredible learning experience, I have been really welcomed as a student.  My fellow students are exceptionally friendly, and this week’s group was no different.  I met the three new students from the University of Bristol.  One of them even offered to bake a cake later this week when she heard that Friday is to be my last day in the UK!

The day began for me at 8am in the lairage.  Today, we only had pigs, but it was a good introduction for the Bristol students and a good refresher for me.  We observed the slaughter process from start to finish beginning with the ante mortem inspection and finishing with the post mortem inspection.  Today, we had quite a few examples of milk spots and enzootic pneumonia but neither of those is exceptionally surprising considering that they are pigs.  After examining our chosen carcasses, we presented what we found.  Since it was just pigs, it was a fairly laid back, easy day.

After the Bristol students were dismissed for the day, I met with Dr. van Klink for a lecture.  We spent two hours discussing risk analysis and how it relates to the processing of animals for meat purposes.  I found the lecture exceptionally interesting.  It was an area with which I was only vaguely familiar and that is really only through the utilization of common sense.  The lecture included actual definitions of risk and hazard.  Ultimately, to me, there are two important reasons to utilize risk analysis:  to minimize risk in order to minimize human losses (health and life) and to minimize risk in order to maximize trade potential.  Deciphering trade boundaries and observing the shipment of animal products literally all over the world is a fascinating study.  It is incredible what can affect the trade potential of a nation, everything from the health status of the animals (obvious since other nations do not want to import goods that could prove dangerous to their borders) to welfare status to the inspections that are done at the processing plants.  From what I learned, because of OIE, countries can trade freely with countries of equal or lesser status.  This means, that if India were to achieve a similar status as the United States, the US would not be able to refuse animal goods from India just on the basis of not wanting to trade with them (reciprocal trade).  However, the exchange might not be in the same product.  For example, we might ship pork (net export) to China in exchange for electronics.  The World Trade Organization closely monitors international trade in order to enforce fair and equal trade and to prevent one nation from flooding the markets of another.