We were asked to be in the lobby of the hotel by 7:45 to get the mini bus to the conference venue. By 8:15 we were all herded on to it and we made the journey to the private university in about 20 minutes.
The university was opposite a school and I was surprised to see a guard on the gates at the entrance to the school.
Although it was technically the easter holiday the university was still thronged with students. We had been assigned a young man called Clairton to help us organise Paul's talk on the technical side. He explained that easter monday was not officially a holiday although Friday would be a public holiday.
Paul was anxious to get to know how the technology was to be organised so we went into their palatial staff room and uploaded his talk onto a computer there.
At the appointed time, everyone settled into the room and the conference began.
Two hours of portuguese introduction and speeches without a working translation head-set was somewhat tedious, but as there was supposed to be a coffee break at 10:30 we stuck it out.
As time went by it became clear that this interval was not going to happen.
Finally after listening to a talk (in English) by Mike from Bristol, we snuck out to use the loo and find Clairton to get Paul's talk set up in the mission control at the back of the auditorium.
Clairton reassured Paul as did the technicians there and we were first in the queue for a meal in the student canteen for lunch.
It was noisy and full of people so we didn't linger. Paul was first on after lunch. He asked for the monitor to be moved on the stage as it was not in the right place to be seen by the speaker. He was due on at 2 pm.
His talk was brilliant and well received, he appeared relaxed and in control, but the technology involved in the point and click mechanism for changing slides seemed to be sporadically faulty and it became clear as the day progressed that this would be an issue for all the speakers.
After Paul, a Japanese Brazilian gave a talk about wild animals and pain, he was helping very elderly lions and other damaged creatures with nerve blocks and surgery.
He spoke of animals having "souls" and was extremely dedicated to their recovery, such that he felt he had to intervene if at all possible which seemed to me to be debatable in some cases where the animal was nearly moribund with old age symptoms.
After him was another Brazilian talking about the ethics of pain relief in farm animals or production animals as he liked to allude to them. This was interesting because in contrast to the previous speaker he had a pragmatic approach to the welfare of animals on the one hand and their commercial use on the other.
After an interval with a one press coffee machine and some ropy biscuits as the only refreshment, there was a round table discussion with Professor Paul having many questions asked of him.
I was amused by a young girl who had asked to have a photo taken with Professor Paul during the interval and was sure one of the questions was from her.
The final speaker was a young man who was trying to sort out the stray dog population around a university campus nearby. We returned to the hotel by 7 pm. A long day and with no water for the delegates at all. The human welfare at the Animal welfare conference was decidedly lacking. We had a beer with a few of the speakers, and then had supper on our own and an early night.Read more