Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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SEPTEMBER 21 , 2007 -- Number 27, Volume 7

1. FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE RESURGES

Since a September 7th declaration that the United Kingdom was free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD, see: http://tinyurl.com/39n4nw ), three new cases of the virus have been announced. All of the new cases have been in the county of Surrey and have been the same strain of the disease. Based on the age of lesions and the presence of antibodies in the recently diagnosed animals, the government’s chief veterinary officer said the virus is likely to have spread there prior to the declaration. Welfare codes require that animals be inspected daily and more frequent inspections are being urged.

A government report indicated that the likely cause of the initial three outbreaks was leaky pipes at nearby laboratories that were producing and experimenting with the virus (see: http://tinyurl.com/39n4nw and http://tinyurl.com/2sen5m and [PDF file]: http://tinyurl.com/2nq3tb ). Environmental contamination or latent infection in animals are primarily being considered as the cause in the two latest cases. A report on the most likely link between the initial and latter cases is due out this week. Since the initial August outbreak, more than 100 reports of possible FMD cases have been investigated and some 1,700 animals have been slaughtered as a result (photo at first source below). Official information and updates can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/3d8zk8. A U.S. web site about the disease has been set up at: http://fazd.tamu.edu/fmdwebportal.


RESULTS DUE ON SUSPECTED FOOT AND MOUTH CASE
Telegraph, Gary Cleland, Sept. 20, 007
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/09/20/nfoot120.xml

STRICKEN CATTLE HAD FOOT-AND-MOUTH VIRUS THREE WEEKS BEFORE LATEST OUTBREAK
Times Online, Valerie Elliott, September 19, 2007
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2491261.ece

FOOT AND MOUTH SUSPECTED ON FARM IN WEST MIDLANDS
Guardian Unlimited, Fred Attewill and agencies, September 19, 2007
http://www.guardian.co.uk/footandmouth/story/0,,2172558,00.html

NEW CASE OF FMD CONFIRMED IN UK
American Meat Institute, September 12, 2007
http://www.meatami.com/Template.cfm?Section=Press_Statements&Template=/PressReleaseList.cfm

 

2. U.S. BORDER TO REOPEN TO OLDER CANADIAN CATTLE

On September 14th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule for resuming trade in cattle with Canada and other regions considered to be at minimal risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, a.k.a., “mad cow disease”). Pending congressional approval, Canadian cattle born after March 1, 1999 will be permitted across the border as of Nov. 19th. (March 1999 is when regulations against bovine tissue in feed were instituted in Canada.) The U.S. had banned all trade in Canadian cattle after the country announced its first outbreak of BSE in May 2003. In July 2005, trade resumed for Canadian cattle under 30 months of age.

The USDA issued the proposed rule in January 2007. It included a three month period for public comment, during which two of Canada’s ten cases occurred. "The [USDA’s] risk assessment acknowledged that BSE is present in Canada, that there likely would be additional cases identified in the future, and we still concluded these imports would present a negligible risk of establishment of BSE in the United States," said USDA Chief Veterinarian John Clifford.

Older cows and associated beef products make up about 20% of Canada's market. The restricted trade is estimated to have cost the Canadian industry some $426 million per year. Canadian officials will be responsible for certifying the age of cattle exported to the U.S., and a permanent brand or tattoo indicating their country of origin, along with ear tags, will be required. Some 75,000 cattle are expected to enter the country during the first year, down from an earlier estimate of 650,000. The rule also allows Canada to export bovine small intestines, casings, and blood and blood products.

Many in the U.S. beef industry welcomed the rule in the hope that it will help persuade other countries to resume trade in American beef. Others vow to continue their legal fight against it (see: http://tinyurl.com/3bbsfq ). Noting that half of the Canadian cases have occurred in animals born after the feed ban, the consumer group Food and Water said the rule shows that U.S. officials are "more concerned about facilitating trade than protecting public health."

A new U.S. interagency web site on trade agreements can be found at: http://www.tradeagreements.gov.


U.S. REOPENS BORDER TO OLDER CANADIAN CATTLE
Meating Place, Tom Johnston Sept. 14, 2007
http://www.meatingplace.com/MembersOnly/webNews/details.aspx?item=18858

U.S. TO ALLOW IMPORT OF OLDER CANADIAN COWS
CNews, Beth Gorham, Sept. 14, 2007
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2007/09/14/4496851-cp.html

 

3. FAO: CONCENTRATED PRODUCTION IS A GLOBAL HEALTH RISK

"The risk of disease transmission from animals to humans will increase in the future due to human and livestock population growth, dynamic changes in livestock production, the emergence of worldwide agro-food networks and a significant increase in the mobility of people and goods," states the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in a new report entitled: Industrial Livestock Production and Global Health Risk. (See also: http://tinyurl.com/2mmht2 ) The production of pigs and poultry are the fastest growing and most industrializing sectors, according to the report, with annual production growth rates of 2.6% and 3.7% respectively over the past decade. Both rely on significant movement of live animals, increasing the likelihood of disease transmission. In 2005, for example, nearly 25 million pigs were traded internationally. Concentrated production also generates large amounts of waste, potentially contaminated with substantial amounts of pathogens. Much of this is disposed of without being treated, presenting an infection hazard for wild animals, the report notes. FAO calls for biosecurity measures at production sites, and stresses that they not be built close to human or wild bird populations. Last year, FAO released the report: Livestock’s Long Shadow, about the deleterious effect of animal agriculture on the environment (see: http://tinyurl.com/26atm7 ).


F.A.O. SAYS LIVESTOCK CONCENTRATION A PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERN
Meat & Poultry, Keith Nunes, September 17, 2007
http://www.meatpoultry.com/news/daily_enews.asp?ArticleID=88151

 

4. HEPATITIS E, PIGS & PEOPLE

Hepatitis E virus is one of the few viruses which has been shown to be transmissible to people directly from animals through food. The viral infection can be fatal in pregnant women. Doctors had thought the disease was confined to China, India and ‘developing’ countries. However, Europeans are also contracting the disease. "Where we do find Hepatitis E virus identified in Europe then the strain is usually closely related to the viruses found in pigs in the same country," reports Dutch researcher Erwin Duizer. Current rates of diagnosis are up to13% of acute viral hepatitis patients in European countries but the actual rate is believed to be much higher. Up to 3% of blood donors in Europe show evidence of exposure to the virus, Duizer notes. Genetic material from Hepatitis E viruses has also been detected in pigs’ livers being offered for sale in Japan, the U.S. and the Netherlands. The virus can infect people if they eat infected liver without cooking it.

EUROPE: ARE PIGS OR PORK THE PROBLEM?
Science Daily (article adapted from a Society for General Microbiology news release), Sept. 14, 2007
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903205004.htm

 

5. LANCET: LESS MEAT MEANS LESS HEAT - AND BETTER HEALTH

The world's growing appetite for meat is increasing greenhouse gas emissions, with rainforest being cleared for pasture and as more sheep and cattle expel gas. This is discussed by an international team of health authorities in a special energy and health series of the British medical journal The Lancet. They note that agriculture produces nearly a quarter of the world's greenhouse pollution, the vast majority generated by farmed animal production.

The global average meat consumption is 100 grams per person per day. In westernized countries, people typically eat about 224 grams of meat daily, roughly their own weight in meat every year, whereas the daily average in “developing” countries is 47 grams. Demand for meat is increasing worldwide. People in China, for example, are eating twice the amount of meat as they did a decade ago. The authors recommend that people in affluent countries more than halve their daily meat intake over the next 40 years. They set a goal of cutting average meat consumption worldwide to 90 grams a day by 2050 in order to prevent the levels of gases from accelerating climate change. "A substantial contract in meat consumption in high-income countries should benefit health, mainly by reducing the risk of ... heart disease ... obesity, colorectal cancer and, perhaps some other cancers,” the study notes.

EATING LESS MEAT MAY SLOW CLIMATE CHANGE
Associated Press, Maria Cheng, Sept. 12, 2007
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hxSQa9KhHaDXNGyeqOyHHbwb1iBQ

LIMIT MEAT EATING TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE: STUDY
The Sydney Morning Herald, Liz Minchin, September 13, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/35kjlq

 

6. NYT EDITORIAL: PIG PRODUCTION & ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

“[I]t’s a common practice in the confinement hog industry to give antibiotics to the whole herd, to enhance growth and to fight off the risk of disease, which is increased by keeping so many animals in such close quarters,” states a recent New York Times editorial. “This is an ideal way to create organisms resistant to the drugs. That poses a risk to us all.” The paper notes a recent University of Illinois study that found the presence of transferable genes that confer antibiotic resistance in the groundwater around two confinement pig operations (see: http://tinyurl.com/2dgctm ). The editorial concludes: “The justification for that kind of farming has always been efficiency, and yet, as so often happens in agriculture, the argument breaks down once you look at all the side effects. The trouble with factory farms is that they are raising more than pigs. They are raising drug-resistant bugs as well.”

ANTIBIOTIC RUNOFF
The New York Times, Editorial, September 18, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/opinion/18tue3.html

 

7. WSPA PARTNERS WITH POULTRY COMPANY

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has entered into a partnership with FAI Farms Ltd., a commercial farming and research enterprise formerly based at the Oxford University Research Farm. “The Model Farm Project will establish multi-species farms in Brazil and China to demonstrate high animal welfare and food quality while delivering a sustainable financial benefit to the farmer,” notes The Poultry Site. Among the Model Farm Project’s key benefits are: “Establishment of an international community to promote the practical benefits of animal-centred farming to all those who are involved, via a website, information leaflets and a programme of seminars, training and conferences at the Model Farm Project farm sites in Brazil and China.”

FAI LAUNCHES INTERNATIONAL POULTRY BUSINESS
The Poultry Site, Sept. 11, 2007
http://tinyurl.com/2z45t4






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Compiled and edited by Mary Finelli, Farmed Animal Watch is a free weekly electronic news digest of information concerning farmed animal issues gleaned from an array of academic, industry, advocacy and mainstream media sources.