The origin of the World’s Poultry Science Association goes back to the early years of the 20th century with the foundation of the International Association of Poultry Instructors on July 18, 1912. Although the main impetus for the establishment of such an organization came from the UK and the USA, the 19 participants attending this first meeting represented 14 nations – Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, the UK and the USA. At this meeting Edward Brown (UK) was named President and Raymond Pearl (USA) the Secretary. Part of the text of the Presidential inaugural speech was reproduced in 1945 (World’s Poultry Science Journal 1: 6-8).
Among the subsequent landmarks in its history, the following summary illustrates some of the ways in which the Association has responded to the many changes in poultry production, poultry education and poultry science that have taken place throughout the twentieth century. Much of the information comes from a detailed account by Dr A.W. Jasper (Association President 1974 – 78) in a paper published in 1978 (World’s Poultry Science Journal 34: 9-21).
Due to the hostilities of the First World War, plans for an international gathering of poultrymen in 1916 were abandoned. Thus it was not until the First World’s Poultry Congress held in the Hague, the Netherlands in 1921, that the organization started to become really active. The delegate list for this event shows 384 names representing 23 countries. The spirit of international collaboration established at that time has continued to be a strong characteristic of the Association ever since. The series started in 1921 at three-year, and later, four-year, intervals has now reached twenty-one. The XXIIIrd will take place in Brisbane, Australia, June 29-July 4, 2008. From the first, these scientific and technical events have been associated with exhibitions of poultry and the commercial sector, so helping to strengthen the bridges between science and practice.
The sequences of World Poultry Congresses and Association officers holders appear as well. In 1927, at the third Congress, in Ottawa, Fred C. Elford became the Association’s second President, Edward Brown having been confirmed in that office in 1921 and again at the second Congress in Barcelona in 1924. In 1928, the name of the organization became the World’s Poultry Science Association.
In 1928, and in order to improve the ways in which it achieved one of its primary objectives – the dissemination of knowledge – the organization began publication of its own journal. This was the International Review of Poultry Science which was published biannually in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and ran for 13 volumes up to 1940. The editors were Dr B.J.C. Te Hennepe (The Netherlands) and Dr Gustave Heuser (USA). In the spring of 1945 publication was resumed, but with a new name, the World’s Poultry Science Journal, and on a quarterly basis. The first editor, Gustave Heuser (1945 – 1957), was also Secretary-Treasurer of the WPSA and worked in the Poultry Science Department at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., USA – the institution which was the journal’s first printer. There was a Publication Committee of five – M.A. Jull (Chairman, U. of Maryland), L.E. Card (University of Illinois), J.H. Martin (Purdue University), L.W. Taylor (University of California, Berkeley) and J.W. Kinghorne (War Food Administration Office of Distribution, Washington). Gradually the committee was enlarged and made international. At the present time, the Editor is supported by an Assistant Editor – the post having been initiated in 1996 – six Associate Editors and 20 members of an International Editorial Board. The publication frequency of four issues each year continued from 1945 until the end of 1980. For the following 16 years the journal was published three times each year, returning to a quarterly frequency with volume 53 in 1997.
As indicated under Objectives, the World’s Poultry Science Journal publishes review articles on virtually all aspects of poultry production and poultry science. While some reviews are commissioned by the editor, the majority are unsolicited. See Notes for Contributors published at the back of each issue of the journal for details of requirements for the submission of papers.
Following a suggestion by Dr W.P. Blount (UK) in 1946 (World’s Poultry Science Journal 2: 113), the first national branch of the Association was formed on October 23, 1946. At that time the two countries with the largest WPSA membership (each around 100) were the USA and the UK. In both there was a rapidly developing interest in poultry production and poultry science. In the USA the long established Poultry Science Association was providing a forum for discussion and a focus for activity, so it was logical that the first branch should emerge in the UK. Very soon other countries also formed branches and today there are over 80.