WAU professor Jos Noordhuizen from the Department of Animal Husbandry was involved in advising the Dutch minister of Agriculture and the European Union on the so-called Mad Cow Disease (BSE). He sees no clear veterinary, zootechnical or medical justification for destroying 64,000 British calves in the Netherlands. A relation between the consumption of beef and the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is possible, but not very likely, says Noordhuizen. In future, he says, he would like to advise the minister of Agriculture before the minister takes political measures to restore the consumers' confidence in beef. The British should improve the chain management in animal husbandry, so that the farmers and consumers know where the meat comes from and each type of production can be certified.
Jane Smiley's book Moo; a novel holds a mirror up to scientists and students at WAU. She describes a big university in a small sleepy town, which is burdened by the budget cuts of the authorities. The industry should contribute more money to higher education at Moo. A billionaire called Martin wants to pour money into the university's thirsty mouth, but he has a bad record as a result of trying to cover up a critical report on chicken feed when he was a chicken farmer. Professor Lionel Gift is pro-Martin, while his colleague Chairman X opposes external funding for the American equivalent of WAU. Read it anyway!
The old brickyard standing between the summer and the winter dykes of the Rhine near Wageningen - you may have passed it while walking - will probably be restored. The municipality wanted to demolish the brick factory ten years ago, but enthusiastic volunteers managed to save it from collapse and clever fundraisers have manage to collect nearly one million guilders. The restoration is a national scoop; it is the first time a Dutch brickyard will be restored. The heyday of brick making in Wageningen were at the beginning of the 20th century.
More than sixty percent of WAU students go abroad to do practical work. Most of them have the time of their life, but some are hampered by severe illness, are wrongly informed about the research subject, don't speak the local language, are very lonely or can't cope with the local customs during their half-year stay abroad. Some students are really careful, but return back with the most terrible zoological gardens in their body," says student doctor Godkewitsch. The Working and learning in a different culture course can help Dutch students to understand and improve their living conditions during practical work.