LETTER of Steven LUKEFAHR
WRSA General Secretary for Developing Countries
Dept. of Animal & Wildlife Sciences
Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Kingsville, TX 78363 - USA
|May 27, 2009
|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:
|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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 http://www.globetree.org/africa/cameroon.
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 (email@example.com) 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