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Agrimarketing : March 2008
In a mountainous region in Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border, fighting and drought had decimated the animal population. What was once a thriving livestock region had turned into a combat zone, leaving farm families with limited options for survival. Lieutenant Colonel Sam Barringer, DVM, commissioned preventive medicine officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, led a team to help re-establish animal agricul- ture in the area. The impact has been nothing short of tremendous. In some cases, it's meant that family members have an alternative to joining extremist movements to obtain resources. In others, it has meant basic survival. "Our mission was to help rein- vigorate animal agriculture in the area so that families could once again be self-sufficient," said Barringer, Mgr, Livestock Veterinary Operations with Pfizer Animal Health, Monument, CO. Barringer was deployed to Afghanistan as a public health adviser in November 2006. His work with the animal agri- culture program started taking shape in early 2007. STEPS TO SUCCESS The first step in the three-year pro- gram was to bring in livestock from areas around Afghanistan that had an excess of animals. "The program is designed to be self-sustaining," Barringer explained. "Each family receives five animals, one male. As the animals reproduce, each family has to return one animal to the pro- gram. Additional offspring are used to expand flocks or herds, or as food for the family." The second step of the program was to train local veterinarians on animal health assessment, preven- tion and treatment products, and product administration. The local veterinarians were then responsible for administering animal care using products donated to the program. Barringer and his team presented a three-day training course for 45 Afghan veterinarians. He said the training was intense, breaks were rare and participants were very attentive. "These veterinarians are very passionate about what they do, espe- cially since in many cases, they also are the area's human medical providers," Barringer said. "The vet- erinarians had a good, basic under- standing of antibiotics, but we were moving them into the 21st century at warp speed --- even something as 36 AgriMarketing March 2008 PFIZER VETERINARIAN RE-ESTABLISHES by Kenna B. Rathai, Martin|Williams Advertising Lieutenant Colonel Sam Barringer, DVM, (right) trained Afghan veterinarians on animal health assessment, prevention and treatment products. Extended therapy products are especially beneficial because these veterinarians travel great distances to treat an animal, then are unable to return for long periods of time, making repeat treatments extremely difficult.
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