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Veterinary leader to examine moral choices in science

March 31, 1997

"Moral Choices in Science and Technology" will be discussed in a public lecture by a renowned veterinary scientist Thursday, April 10, at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Martin Kaplan, considered one of the foremost veterinary scientists of the 20th century, will present this discussion of the ethics of science at 4 p.m. in Room 170 of Schalm Hall, located in the health sciences complex southwest of the main campus.

Kaplan also will speak about "Some Uses and Misuses of Epidemiology" Tuesday, April 8, at 4 p.m. in the same location. Both talks are part of the Robert Dyar Labrador Memorial Lectureship in Epidemiology, coordinated by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Kaplan served from 1976 to 1988 as Secretary-General of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs in London and Geneva. The Pugwash conferences in 1995 received the Nobel Peace Prize for their nearly 40-year effort to diminish the role of nuclear armament in political and social policy-making. Kaplan continues to provide leadership for the organization as director of the Geneva Pugwash office and as a consultant to the World Health Organization.

As part of the effort to rehabilitate Europe following the World War II, Kaplan became one of the first veterinarians to enter the newly created United Nations, first as chief of the livestock section of the U.N.'s relief and rehabilitation administration in Greece and later as a veterinary consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

In 1949 he became the first chief of the newly-formed Veterinary Public Health Section of the World Health Organization, a position he held until 1971. He was appointed to two other important scientific positions in the World Health Organization, where he played a key role in broadening the public health role of veterinary medicine beyond traditional food protection duties to include investigation and control of diseases that afflict both animals and humans.

Kaplan is the author of a veterinary textbook on rabies and of more than 150 scientific papers in the fields of microbiology, epidemiology and public health.

The Robert Dyar Labrador Memorial Lectureship in Epidemiology, the sponsor of Kaplan's campus talks, was established through an endowment by the late Dr. Robert Dyar, a physician who served for 30 years as chief of the preventive medicine and research divisions in the California Department of Public Health. Through the endowed lectureship, Dyar wanted to recognize pioneer achievements of UC Davis in the field of veterinary epidemiology and to extend his gratitude to practicing veterinarians for the medical care provided to his companion Labrador retrievers.

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