Posts Tagged ‘Farms’

Pigs Raised Without Antibiotics More Likely To Carry Bacteria, Parasites

June 13, 2008

While consumers are increasing demand for pork produced without antibiotics, more of the pigs raised in such conditions carry bacteria and parasites associated with food-borne illnesses, according to a new study.

A comparison of swine raised in antibiotic-free and conventional pork production settings revealed that pigs raised outdoors without antibiotics had higher rates of three food-borne pathogens than did pigs on conventional farms, which remain indoors and receive preventive doses of antimicrobial drugs.

“Animal-friendly, outdoor farms tend to have a higher occurrence of Salmonella, as well as higher rates of parasitic disease,” said lead study author Wondwossen Gebreyes, associate professor of veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University.

Click here for the full article.

P.S. – As long as you thoroughly cook your meat and prepare it under sanitary conditions, you probably don’t need to worry too much about salmonella poisoning (small children, elderly people, and already sick people have a slightly greater risk of contracting it).  To be safe, you should assume that at least half of all the raw chicken, eggs, pork, etc. you encounter is contaminated with salmonella and always take necessary precautions in preparing and cooking them (read the article for more specific information about this).

The study discussed in this article was funded by a grant from the National Pork Board.  I wonder if the National Pork Board has a vested interest in supporting factory farmed pork.  This seems like it may be an attempt to scare people away from “animal-friendly, outdoor farms,” and instead encourage them to purchase meat from more animal-unfriendly, indoor farms (aka, factory farms).

What do you think about this?  Write a comment and let me know.

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Japan Detects First Case of Bird Flu in a Year, Kyodo Reports

April 30, 2008

Japan detected the bird flu virus in three dead swans, the nation’s first case of the disease in more than a year, Kyodo News Agency reported, citing a National Institute of Animal Health study.

The swans, which tested positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, were found in Japan’s northern prefecture of Akita on April 21, Kyodo said.

Akita’s local government will carry out inspections at 15 farms within a 30 kilometer radius of where the infected swans were found, Kyodo reported. Inspectors will examine about 42,000 birds, the news agency said.

The government will ask local farmers to take additional precautions to prevent wild birds entering their properties and to detect any chickens showing signs of illness, Kyodo said.

Click here for the full article.

Measure would give food animals space, but farmers say room to roam may not be best

April 29, 2008

Tender veal cutlets. Sizzling pork chops. Savory omelets.

For a growing number of Californians, these meals are sparking a moral conundrum: Should they worry about how animals lived before their products hit the plate?

California voters will answer that question in November with a new animal welfare ballot initiative. If passed, the measure would require farmers to provide enough space for breeding sows, veal calves and laying hens to turn around and stretch their limbs.

Click here for the full article.

You really should read this whole article.  Towards the end you will find the farmers’ perspectives, and they raise some very good points about sustainability and repercussions of requiring that laying hens have more room to move around.  This issue is more complicated than it might seem, and there are lots of factors to consider, like how to decide what is ultimately most humane for the animals, and how to address the rising costs of food, and what will be most beneficial for the environment.

-Kitty Mowmow

Microchips Could Speed Up Detection Of Livestock Viruses

March 31, 2008

Some of the worst threats to farm workers and farm animals such as bird flu, foot-and-mouth disease and other emerging viruses could soon be quickly identified by using a simple screening chip developed by scientists from the Institute for Animal Health, scientists will hear March 31, 2008 at the Society for General Microbiology’s 162nd meeting.

“The last major SARS outbreak — severe acute respiratory syndrome — which started on the border of China and Hong Kong was identified using a microarray chip. Fortunately, because of the rapid identification of the virus it was brought under control, and in spite of its seriousness caused relatively few deaths,” says Dr Paul Britton of the Institute for Animal Health in Compton, near Newbury, Berkshire. “We need a similar way of quickly identifying viruses that attack chickens, cattle, pigs, sheep and other farm animals.”

The scientists have developed a microarray, called a chip, which contains specific small regions of virus genes that react with any viruses in the samples being tested, showing up as coloured spots on glass slides. The method can also be used to see if a sample contains two or more viruses.

“At the moment the common methods for detecting viruses rely on some previous knowledge, such as recognising the clinical signs of a disease,” says Dr Paul Britton. “A system that can be used by almost anyone, and that can quickly and accurately be used to identify the particular virus early on is vital to control these diseases before they spread, and will have much wider applications.”

Click here for the full article.

Paternal dog Billy takes on an unusual kid

February 29, 2008

A paternal dog has adopted an abandoned baby goat as his surrogate child.

Billy the boxer has become the constant companion of the 12-day old kid called Lilly. He sleeps with the goat, licks her clean, and protects her from any dangers at Pennywell Farm wildlife centre at Buckfastleigh, near Totnes, Devon.

Click here for the full article.