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The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), Lahore which started its operation as a veterinary school in 1882 is one of the oldest veterinary institutions in Asia. Since its inception, the staff of this institution has worked enthusiastically and successfully conducted a wide range of programs that have effectively catered the educational and training needs in the field of veterinary and animal sciences. By now, it has emerged as one of the famous centers of disseminating veterinary education in Asia.
This veterinary school was raised to the status of Punjab veterinary college by the end of nineteenth century. Its present buildings were completed in 1921. In 1942, the college was affiliated with the Punjab University, Lahore. In 1971, this college was integrated with the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and since then basic DVM degree is being awarded. The up-gradation of College of Veterinary Sciences, Lahore to the status of a University in June 2002, was an obvious testimony of commitment of the government regarding institutional arrangement for further research, higher education, human resource development, and poverty alleviation. With the up-gradation five faculties, two directorates, 21 departments, University administration, and management were established, a spokesperson of UVAS told Page.
According to him, the UVAS has marked to start a composite basic degree program in veterinary and animal sciences and to establish postgraduate degrees, diplomas, and short courses in areas of animal production and health, in computer science, statistics, livestock extension, economics and business management, wildlife and fisheries, etc. So far, over 4500 veterinary graduates have qualified from CVS/UVAS and are serving all over the World. Many graduates from this institution rose to the ranks of major generals in Pak army, ministers, vice chancellors, federal and provincial secretaries. Many of the graduates have entered into civil services, livestock departments, teaching and the research institutions of the country and UN agencies (FAO, UNDP, WHO), atomic energy, etc. bringing respect and dignity to their alma mater.
He said: "The mission of UVAS is to evolve strategies for sustainable development and improvement of animal sector leading to poverty alleviation through food and social security in the country." The vision of the University is to update future needs of the professionals to meet national and international standards. The UVAS is endeavoring to improve and modernise animal entrepreneurship from traditional to modern farming system through development of appropriate technologies and more focused research on applied problems, he added.
He further said the UVAS is striving to help in achieving the national economic and technological targets of animal sector by providing trained professional and technical manpower which shall help to enhance the production potentials of the livestock/poultry and other animals leading to development and improvement of livestock, poultry & allied industries. The UVAS is also striving to enhance the socioeconomic status of the rural/urban populations engaged in animal production resulting in poverty alleviation and opening avenues of international cooperation in education, research, and development of latest technologies in various fields of animal sector.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nawaz is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences. He said: "Pakistan is affluent in livestock wealth but lacks ability to fully exploit this rich resource due to insufficient investment, inadequate professionals, technologies, and value-addition activities. The need for diversification from a natural resource-dependent economy to high-value added activities is eminent."
He said the UVAS plans to address extreme shortage of specialists. Education of existing educators for enhancing standards and engaging additional faculty members for advanced training is the solution. Specifically, senior and younger professionals ought to advance their communication skills, research process, subject IT, basic and advanced laboratory skills and on-farm and organic farming research and skills. Intensive short and long- term training programs with indigenous and external resources can inculcate the required traits.
According to him, the problems of livestock production are related to health, genetics, nutrition, and marketing. The young professionals should be capable of improving production and yield through better management of germ plasm, nutrition and disease preventive measures. Competence of graduates in technologies, value addition in milk, meat, fish, wool, skin, hides, and casings will facilitate equitable development of rural and urban livestock. Diversification, conservation and preservation of wild life, biotechnology, gene sequencing, developing breeds and biological are long awaited expectations from the veterinarians. Proteomics, lipidomics and nano-medicine are the future challenges for the profession.
Further, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences organised "National Biotechnology Seminar & Exhibition" in Lahore. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif was the chief guest while provincial agriculture minister Ahmed Ali Aulakh, members of national and provincial assembly, senior member board of revenue, secretary livestock, renowned industrialist Syed Babar Ali, vice chancellor of UVAS, scientists, researchers and a large number of teachers and students were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said: "We have to focus on the promotion of education, science & technology, research & development and steps will have to be taken on war footings for bringing improvement in these fields."
According to him, Pakistan can overcome all the challenges and regain its lost status in the comity of the nations by strengthening its economy. Pakistan can abandon reliance on foreign aid and become an independent country by exploiting its natural resources. The Punjab government is taking all possible steps for the promotion of science and technology in the province and it will also provide all facilities for establishing a biotechnology park in Lahore.
Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif praised the services of Vice-Chancellor and teachers of UVAS for the promotion of livestock. He said that Pakistan is facing with several challenges, economic condition is not good and worst ever flood of the country's history has caused vast devastation in all the four provinces, damaged crops worth billions of rupees and swept away animals of million of rupees. He said that provision of facilities to the flood affected farmers is the need of the hour for the revival of agro-economy and the Punjab government has prepared a special package under which they are being provided free seeds and fertilisers. He said: "It is very sad that we could not develop livestock sector while other countries are exporting meat by developing this sector on modern lines." He said that Malaysia is importing "halal" meat from India while Pakistan has not been able to export meat to any country.
He said that Punjab government has taken solid steps for bringing improvement in this sector and had sent a sample of meat to Malaysia for export which has been approved on which secretary livestock deserves appreciation. He said that in the present era, the country can be put on the road to progress by improving the economy. He said the other nations have achieved progress by promoting science and technology.
He said that holding of biotechnology conference is of key importance and promotion of this technology is the need of the hour. He said that development opportunities have been wasted in the past but now we should speedily achieve progress and for this purpose there is a need to promote research programme.
Praising the services of the organizers of the conference, he said that biotechnology conference would play an important role in the development of livestock sector.
Earlier, Vice Chancellor of UVAS, Dr. Muhammad Nawaz presented his welcome address and gave details of the research and training programs of the university. He said that three thousand students are studying in the University which is ranked among the best university of the country.
Managing Director Pervaiz Sufi, while giving a briefing on the proposed Lahore Biotechnology Park, said that this century has been declared the century of biotechnology and Bill Gates has also recognised it. He said that Pakistan is lagging behind in the field of biotechnology and there is the need to take urgent steps in this direction.
President Lahore Chambers of Commerce & Industry Shehzad Ali Malik said that 20th century was the century of Information Technology and 21st century is the century of Biotechnology and by adopting this technology, improvements can be brought in agriculture, health, industry and environment sectors.
Addressing on the occasion, leading industrialist Syed Babar Ali said that livestock sector is of key importance for the development and progress of the province. He said that students of the university should develop the habit of going into the field and help the farmers.
On the occasion, Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif presented shields to the people who participated in the development of livestock sector and in the relief and rehabilitation of flood affected farmers.
Later, the Chief Minister unveiled the plaque of the proposed Biotechnology Park, inaugurated the exhibition and inspected various stalls. A memorandum of understanding was also signed between Korean GP Corporation and University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences for the promotion of livestock and research.