WRSA General Secretary for Developing Countries

Dept. of Animal & Wildlife Sciences
Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Kingsville, TX 78363 - USA
May 27, 2009

Dear Members,
It is a pleasure to provide all of you with an update of activities in my capacity as your general secretary for developing countries. First, the new webpage for Rabbits for Developing Countries at (this website) continues to expand with new information added that I trust you are finding useful. I am especially grateful to our webmaster, Francois Lebas, for his excellent work in creating the webpage and in posting the materials. There are now links to many reports, manuals, books, conference recommendations, etc. There are also two new additions to the Project Stories from the Field that are encouraged to read, one from Haiti and one from El Salvador. Please continue to submit materials that can be added. This is YOUR webpage!


I am also happy to announce that a new programme is being developed to assist rabbit scientists from lesser developed countries (LDC's). We are all aware of the general lack of scientific rigor of experiments conducted and reported from LDC's. In most cases, the fault is not the scientist but rather the environment. This problem generally stems from limited training and resources (e.g., knowledge and technical language skills, poor quality diets and breeding stock, small operating budgets and limited staff, research, and travel monies). You may trust that the WRSA council is highly sensitive of the special needs of LDC scientists in their mission to promote rabbit production to help feed a hungry world.

Based on recent and numerous discussions and approval by the WRSA executive council, we believe that it would be useful to create a programme consisting of discipline coordinators with the charge of assisting scientists within disciplines with a free tutorial service. To be clear, the purpose of the programme is to freely share expertise and provide guidance to scientists to do good research, write strong papers for refereed journals (preferably World Rabbit Science), and present high quality papers at conferences.


The following coordinator appointees have been installed:

  • Manuel Baselga Izquierdo Genetics -
  • Concha Cervera Nutrition -
  • Gabriela González-Mariscal Reproduction
  • Antonio Lavazza Pathology -
  • Saidu Oseni Production and Management -

The WRSA council has also approved of these esteemed scientists as committee coordinators. Please be aware that two of these coordinators are from developing or emerging countries (Mexico and Nigeria). I much appreciate all of the coordinator's willingness and enthusiasm in these appointments.

To illustrate how the coordinators will serve, for example, a rabbit nutritionist from Country X directly contacts Concha Cervera by e-mail with questions about designing a nutrition experiment or in how to best collect or analyze feed samples. The coordinator offers technical advice to help the scientist design and conduct a better experiment. The coordinator may also feel free to allow other competent scientists in their field to provide similar technical assistance. Ideally, if either in doubt or to confirm a technical decision, the scientist should contact a coordinator in planning an experiment BEFORE rather than after it has been conducted to avoid major flaws that cannot be fixed later. These exchanges may also lead to formal research collaborations involved grants. Another example is the submission of papers to a coordinator BEFORE it is formally submitted to a journal or conference editor.

Presently, I am holding e-discussions with the group of coordinators to further clarify their roles. We again welcome your ideas and suggestions to make this programme highly effective. I appreciate the helpful feedback that I have already received from many of you. In responding to this message, feel free to use our e-discussion group ( so that all members may benefit from the communication exchange.


Lastly, a recent e-seminar was held by the Rabbit Network Cameroon group (organisers: Jacky Foo and Jackson Ntapi) from 6-30 April 2009. The e-seminar was extremely useful with an incredibly rich volume of topics that were each discussed in great detail (e.g., discussion of key papers, field experiences at farmer's level, government funding support of rabbit research, and national promotional efforts to popularise rabbit production). Members of the Sub-Saharan Africa branch were particularly active. I also wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of Alessandro Finzi and Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak. A log of all the messages is available at I would highly encourage and even challenge officers/members of WRSA branches in Asia and in Latin America to consider holding similar e-seminars. You may contact Jacky Foo ( should you need further details about the organisation of the seminar.

We will continue to expand upon present efforts to develop a programme to promote good science and successful field projects involving rabbits for developing countries. Please also share the names of agencies that fund rabbit projects so that this information can also be added to our website. In closing, I wish to state that I am in gratitude to the council for all their valuable feedback and support.


Steven D. Lukefahr
WRSA General Secretary for Developing Countries