Louis Coetzee

  • Born: 1937 (South Africa)
  • Died: 2014
  • Inducted: 2013
Louis Coetzee was born in Pretoria, South Africa. He received his BVSc, BVSc (Hons) and MMedVet (virology) degrees from the University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort Campus.

From 1962 to 1977 he worked at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI). Up to 1964 he was a researcher in the Virology department, tasked with identifying and characterising respiratory viruses of poultry. In 1965 he was appointed head of the department of Poultry diseases at OVI, and part-time lecturer in poultry diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria. During this period his research investigated the role that vaccines play in the prevention of poultry diseases. Methods to develop four viral vaccines were established. He also established a comprehensive diagnostic service for the intensive and non-intensive poultry industry.

In 1977 he ventured into the private sector to join the largest table egg producer. During this time he developed a comprehensive health service with laboratory support and vaccine production. Fourteen research projects were completed, many of which were presented at international congresses.

In February 1989 he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Poultry Diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria. In April 1989 the Central Poultry Reference Laboratory was established in this department.

In May 1995 he retired from the University to devote his time as co-founder of Avimune, a poultry veterinary specialist practice, until 2009 when he retired.

Louis published many scientific and lay articles during his career. His scientific contribution towards the South African poultry industry was recognised when he received the following awards: Gold medal from the World’s Poultry Science Association (South African branch) in 1982; the Southern African Poultry Association’s “Man of the Year” award in 1983; the Agricultural writer’s association’s “Agriculturalist of the Year” in 1983; Honorary President of the Southern African Poultry Association in 1987 and a silver medal for exceptional service from the South African Veterinary Association.

Louis married Ina de Lange in 1961. They had 2 children and 6 grandchildren. Apart from his professional career he also had a keen interest in nature, the Afrikaans language, philosophy and religion.

WVPA thanks Hannes Swart for compiling this profile.

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