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In 1919, Frisian cattle farmers joined forces to combat animal disease in the Netherlands in an organised manner; a farmers' initiative that resulted in the establishment of the Animal Health Department. Such a special jubilee calls for a celebration. And not just any old celebration, as King Willem-Alexander honoured GD Animal Health with a visit. A day later, Deventer town mayor Ron König awarded GD Animal Health the designation Royal, on behalf of his Majesty.
The King can grant this designation as a symbol of his respect, appreciation and trust in the recipient. During the centenary jubilee, GD Animal Health received this very special designation for its great significance in the field of animal health, both nationally and internationally. We have been working towards this with great passion for many years. And will continue to do so in the future.
That passion was also clearly visible during the King's visit. Attention was paid to the modern veterinary laboratory and the sharing of knowledge on animal health, veterinary diagnostics and laboratory research at the international level. The King was shown around by GD Animal Health's management board; together they toured a special jubilee exhibition, where GD Animal Health's work over the years can be admired. From old-fashioned milking machines to unique and authentic microscopes.
And very appropriately, these historic attributes guided the entourage into the present day. Dressed in a characteristic white lab coat, they entered the modern lab, visiting and even participating in the various departments. In the Bacteriology department for example, the King activated a dropper robot for a sensitivity test and in the Pathology department, he enjoyed a very down to earth research experience: veterinary pathologist Klaas Peperkamp (GD Animal Health) explained the necropsy of a pig.
During this very special tour, it became apparent just how much has happened in the hundred years of GD Animal Health's existence. First and foremost however: we began with the combating of disease, and that is still our core business. From bovine tuberculosis and Q-fever to Salmonella Pullorum and Aujeszky's disease. GD has become the primary director of animal health in the Netherlands. All the developments within GD and the animal health sector as a whole have been bundled in a special jubilee book by Reimer Strikwerda, the title of which translates as: ‘Healthy animals, a national interest’. The King was presented with the first copy by CEO Ynte Schukken on Thursday 16 May.
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