Officers of the British Veterinary Poultry Association

Here is the current executive committee


Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond

At 16 years old Philip worked in a commercial broiler hatchery part time whilst undertaking his A Levels so got first hand exposure to the poultry industry. Philip then studied at the Royal Veterinary College in London for 5 years to become a veterinarian in 2003. During his undergraduate years Philip undertook research on behalf of a primary breeding company into Mycoplasma diagnostics, and in 2003 developed a new PCR test for diagnosing and strain identifying Mycoplasma synoviae infections in poultry which he later published.

Upon qualifying Philip took a position with a leading UK 100% dedicated poultry practice and laboratory- Crowshall Veterinary Services in Norfolk, working along side Stephen Lister and Claire Knott. The practice provides service to the UK and international poultry industry. Philip quickly gained experience working with broilers, broiler breeders, turkeys, ducks, geese, laying hens and gamebirds. The practice also deals with primary breeders, free range, organic and conventional systems. In 2008 Philip became a partner at Crowshall Veterinary Services which now boasts a 7 strong vet team and UKAS accredited laboratory. Philip is also a member of the Houghton trust.

In 2009, Philip undertook a Post Graduate Certificate in Avian Health (University of Melbourne) which he completed with Honours, this was quickly followed by a Masters Degree in Avian Health (University of Melbourne/University of Georgia (US)). In 2013 Philip received the WVPA Young Poultry Veterinarian of the Year award, and in the same year the UK EPIC Young Poultry Person Year Award.

Philip is the WVPA UK branch secretary, and in 2013 took the BVPA team to Nantes to successfully win the bid to hold WVPA Congress 2017 in Edinburgh. Philip was the Chairman of the WVPA Congress 2017 local organising committee. Philip is also the Norfolk Chicken Association Chairman,and in 2017 became President of the BVPA.

Senior Vice President

David Welchman
David Welchman

David qualified from Cambridge in 1979. He started his career in mixed veterinary practice before undertaking a PhD at Bristol Veterinary School. Later he joined the Veterinary Investigation Service (now APHA) as a Veterinary Investigation Officer at Winchester in 1987, becoming Senior Veterinary Investigation Officer in 2002. He developed a particular interest in diagnostic and survey work in poultry, game birds and other avian species. In April 2014 he took on his current role of Veterinary Lead of the APHA Avian Expert Group with responsibility for avian disease surveillance activities and provision of avian expertise for Defra. He has published several scientific papers and letters both on avian and other livestock disease topics. He is also a member of the APHA Salmonella Steering Group.

David became secretary of the BVPA in 2011, followed by Junior Vice President in 2013, and President in March 2015. In March 2017 David became the Senior Vice President. He is on the WVPA Congress 2017 Local Organising Committee and holds the position of Sponsorship Convenor. He is Honorary Treasurer and past President of the Southern Counties Veterinary Society.

Junior Vice President

Richard Irvine
Richard Irvine

Richard Irvine is the Head of Veterinary Surveillance in poultry, livestock and wildlife at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). He graduated as a veterinary surgeon from the Royal Veterinary College in 1997, and then worked in mixed, predominantly farm animal practice for four years before joining the former VLA during 2001, working as a Veterinary Investigation Officer at one of the Regional Laboratories. In February 2007 he was appointed as the Deputy Head of the Avian Virology and Mammalian Influenza Group at the EU/OIE/FAO International Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza & Newcastle disease, APHA Weybridge. He also led the AHVLA/SRUC Avian Expert Group from 2010 to 2014 and the national surveillance projects for avian influenza in poultry and wild birds in Great Britain from 2007 to 2015.

In November 2013 he was appointed as the Head of the National Reference Laboratory (UK) for Viral Diseases of Poultry at APHA Weybridge, before moving to his current role in November 2014. He now leads the veterinary scanning surveillance programme in poultry, livestock and wildlife in England and Wales. Richard is a member of several government and industry working groups and committees relating to poultry and livestock health and welfare, an invited lecturer on poultry diseases, a Diplomate of the European College of Poultry Veterinary Science, a member of The Houghton Trust and Junior Vice President of the British Veterinary Poultry Association.


Helen Houghton
Helen Houghton

Helen studied Physiology, Biochemistry and Nutrition of Farm Animals at the University of Reading and graduated in 1992. She then studied for a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the Royal Veterinary College graduating in 1996.

Following graduation Helen joined Towcester Veterinary Centre and enjoyed 3 years working in mixed practice.

In 1999 Helen joined Hoechst Roussel Vet (later to become Intervet) as Veterinary Technical Manager for all species and was also named veterinary surgeon responsible for all the animals at the Milton Keynes site involved in Research and Development and Quality Control. Later Helen became a Project Manager in R&D and Veterinary Advisor for all avian, swine, equine, bovine and ovine vaccine projects.

In 2004 Helen was awarded the RCVS Certificate for Laboratory Animal Science.

In 2005 Helen joined Merial Animal Health Ltd as Veterinary Services Manager for ruminants and swine, in 2006 she became Avian Veterinary Services and the overall Avian Manager for UK and Ireland responsible for technical, sales and marketing. In 2015 Helen become Head of Avian for Europe for Merial, now part of Boehringer Ingelheim.

Helen was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship in 2010 sponsored by the British Egg Marketing Board Trust, to study "Disease prevention in the chick embryo and young chick" travelling to USA, Netherlands, China and India.


Alan Pearson
Alan Pearson

Alan has now retired from the management of his Practice and sold the Poultry Division to Minster Poultry Vets.

However he continues to work within the Industry as a Consultant to Minster and also continues his work in the Export field for his original Practice

Alan has been elected as Secretary of the Association in order to maintain his links between the BVPA and the Local Organizing Committee of WVPA 2017 in Edinburgh for which he is also Secretary

Programme Secretary

Kannan Ganapathy
Kannan Ganapathy

Dr Ganapathy is a lecturer in infectious diseases (poultry) at the University of Liverpool. He is engaged with research, teaching, poultry consultations and CPDs, mostly on molecular immunopathogenesis, diagnosis, control and prevention of poultry infectious respiratory diseases. His research focuses on avian respiratory pathogens and vaccines, especially on infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) and avian metapneumovirus (aMPV).

He has studied the interactions between live viral vaccines of IBV, aMPV and Newcastle disease virus (NDV), the influence infectious bursa disease virus vaccines on the bursa of Fabricius and its impact on live IBV vaccine-take. The other research activity is to improve diagnosis of respiratory pathogens by conventional and molecular methods, including the use of PCR and sequencing (eg. aMPV subtyping or IBV genotyping). Dr Ganapathy's group have validated a PCR system for detection of multiple respiratory pathogens from RNA/DNA extracted from FTA cards.

He also has years of experience in research, diagnosis, control and prevention of avian mycoplasmas, in particular Mycoplasma gallisepticum (Mg) and Mycoplasma synoviae (Ms).

Public Relations Officer

John Tasker
John Tasker

John studied agriculture at Reading University, followed by a year at the IRAD Compton, and went on the study veterinary medicine at the Royal Vet College, graduating in 1976. He then spent 6 years in farm animal practice followed by a stint in New Zealand with a small Scottish animal health company where he was responsible for all matters technical, including sheep farming.

On his return to UK in 1995 he continued working in industry and is currently development director with ECO Animal Health Ltd. He completed the Compton Poultry Health course in 2001 and has since spent much time developing pharmaceutical products for the poultry and gamebird industries.

John has many years experience in the international pharmaceutical industry, particularly in areas of antibiotic development and regulation. When not working John enjoys old cars and slow boats.

John is now Public Relations officer with the Association.