Posts Tagged ‘Pigs’

I Love Moo: Tales From A N.Y. Animal Sanctuary

June 16, 2008

Moo had a little crush on me, and I could all but return his affections.

The brown-haired boy possessed saucer-size eyes, a sturdy build and a sweet disposition. But what really tugged at my heart was his story of survival. The super-friendly bull, who had trailed me through the pasture like a lovelorn teen, had been found tied to a car during his calfhood. He was saved by one animal shelter, then recently relocated to another, Farm Sanctuary near Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Moo is not alone — here, at the country’s largest farm animal-rescue facility, or with his grim history. The safe haven takes in hundreds of farm animals, who, if they could talk, would tell similar stories. There’s Morgan, a snow-white rooster discovered in a Brooklyn pet store dyed like an Easter egg; Mayfly, an experiment in a school hatching project; and Winnie, a 500-pound pig who escaped a backyard barbecue (featuring her) in Connecticut. She now is the alpha pig of the pen.

Click here for the full article.

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.

PHOTOS: Mini-pigs are pocket-sized pets!

June 12, 2008

After a series of false pregnancies, farmer Chris Murray’s Pennywell Miniature pigs have given birth to eight tiny piglets at his Pennywell Farm in Devon, England. The smallest pig is named Tetley, because he’s not much bigger than a cup of tea.

Click here for more photos of the adorable little mini-pigs!

MRSA from farm animals found in humans in UK for first time

June 11, 2008

Three people have been infected with a form of MRSA usually found in pigs, the first time any humans in Britain have been infected by an animal strain of the superbug.

The variation has been found in farm animals and humans on the Continent, causing serious heart, bone, blood and skin diseases, as well as pneumonia.

Dr Giles Edwards, the director of the Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory, said three people in Scotland had contracted the strain, known as ST398, in recent months.

“A lot of the patients who got this infection in Holland and Canada have been people who work with animals, such as farmers and vets. But none of the three individuals in Scotland have been in contact with animals, not that we could find.”

Click here for the full article.

Why Are Kids So Crazy About Animals?

April 30, 2008

Yeah, zoos are fun. So are cartoons. And I certainly see the appeal of a teddy bear.

But why are kids so over-the-top crazy about animals? I am especially struck by the fact that some of the most popular cartoon and children’s-book animals are among the least appealing animals in real life. Mice, for instance. And pigs and rats and bears and fish.

Here’s what I read the other day in the class newsletter my daughter brought home from kindergarten:

Post Office Money Update: After a vote among all four K classes about how to spend this money, “Animals” received the most votes. (Other choices were Kids, Grown-Ups, and the Earth.) Please let us know if you are aware of any reputable organizations which are devoted to animals.

I wouldn’t expect kids to want to give any of their money to grown-ups. And while kids may be helping to drive awareness of climate change, “the Earth” is a pretty amorphous target.

Click here for the full article.

When Tuberculosis Hits Cows

April 22, 2008

Bovine tuberculosis is a progressive wasting disease. It affects mainly cattle but also sheep, goats, pigs and other animals. People who get bovine TB have to take strong antibiotics for up to nine months to cure them.

Humans can get sick from infected cows by drinking milk that has not been heated to kill germs. Another risk is eating meat that has not been cooked to seventy-four degrees Celsius.


In the early twentieth century, bovine TB probably killed more animals in the United States than all other diseases combined. To control it, the government launched a highly successful testing program. Historians say animal doctors ordered the destruction of about four million cattle between nineteen seventeen and nineteen forty.

But currently, the state of Michigan in the Midwest is fighting an outbreak of tuberculosis in cattle. Experts identified wild deer as the source of infection. More recently the neighboring state of Minnesota has also had to deal with TB in cattle and deer.

Click here for the full article.

Anti-cruelty farm animals bill qualifies for state ballot

April 11, 2008

A measure that proponents say would provide basic protection for 20 million farm animals in California has qualified for the November ballot.

California Secretary of state Debra Bowen certified the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act for the Nov. 4 general election.

The measure would mandate that farm animals including cattle, pigs and chickens would be given enough room to turn around and extend their limbs in the crates and cages in which they are confined by food producers.

If approved, the law would not take effect until 2015, allowing seven years for compliance.

Click here for the full article.

Should Genetic Modification And RNA Interference Be Used On Farm Animals?

April 11, 2008

A range of new technologies including genetic modification (GM) and RNA Interference are being deployed to improve the health of farm animals in a series of European and global initiatives. The ground was laid for a European platform to develop new treatments that exploit these technologies at a recent workshop organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF).

The workshop highlighted the interlocking themes underlying the debate over livestock disease research, following a series of high profile epidemics and pandemics over the last two decades, including BSE, foot and mouth disease, bird flu, and PRRSV (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus) in pigs, coupled with the public relations problems facing GM technologies.

Click here for the full article.

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.

S.F. Art Institute halts exhibition showing killing of animals

March 29, 2008

 Citing threats of violence by animal rights activists, the San Francisco Art Institute said Saturday that it is canceling a controversial exhibition that included video clips of animals being bludgeoned to death, as well as a public forum it had scheduled to address the controversy.

“We’ve gotten dozens of threatening phone calls that targeted specific staff people with death threats, threats of violence and threats of sexual assaults,” said Art Institute President Chris Bratton. “We remain committed to freedom of speech as fundamental to this institution, but we have to take people’s safety very seriously.”

The exhibit that sparked the controversy was a one-person show by Paris artist Adel Abdessemed called “Don’t Trust Me,” which opened March 19.

Along with a variety of other elements, the show included a series of video loops of animals being bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer in front of a brick wall. The animals killed included a pig, goat, deer, ox, horse and sheep.

Animal welfare groups had attacked the video clips as degrading and cruel, and accused Abdessemed of killing animals for the sake of art.

Click here for the full article.

Lawmakers moving on bill for pork, veal animals

March 18, 2008

Under threat of a petition drive for a ballot question, Colorado lawmakers and state Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp are moving forward with a bill to increase regulations on confined animals that are raised for pork and veal.

Senate Bill 201, sponsored by District 6 Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, would prohibit the confinement of gestating sows or calves raised for veal in a way that does not allow the animal to stand up, lie down and turn around without touching the enclosure’s sides.

“My concern is to avert a ballot initiative, which I feel this does,” Stulp said during testimony last week before the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This recognizes the need … to address future husbandry issues and hopefully get out ahead of the curve.”

Unlike the potential ballot measure, the bill does not include regulation of caged egg-laying hens.

Stulp said the bill also deals with confinement of milk calves, even though Colorado as yet has no veal production facilities. He said veal producers have expressed interest in moving to the state at the invitation of dairy farmers.

“The dairy industry has been involved in some of the discussions around how we will treat veal calves if that industry does come to Colorado,” Stulp said.

The committee, which Isgar chairs, unanimously approved the bill for full Senate debate.

Click here for the full article.

A new future for small-town homeless cats

March 14, 2008

Best Friends Animal Society

Dear Members and Friends,

Future of cats in the balance in small Iowa town
Click Here!What’s to be done with the feral cats of Randolph, Iowa? Kill them … or set up a well-managed trap/neuter/return program? It’s a question that often arises in towns and cities when people don’t know how to care for homeless cats in the neighborhood. We’re working with the town and with other humane groups to provide spay/neuter and continuing care for all the homeless cats.

>>Read the story

Another sign of The Times for Vicktory Dogs?
Click Here!
New York Times sports columnist Bill Rhoden called us to talk about the Vicktory dogs. His interest had been piqued by hearing that the folks at PETA had favored destroying the dogs. “I thought you guys agreed on everything,” he said. After hearing both sides, he came to his own conclusion in his newspaper column. You can read it on the blog.

>>Read the blog.

Desert kitties rediscover trust at Best Friends Feline Finishing School.
Click Here!There’s lots of socializing, a real-life room, even sleepovers. It’s playtime with a purpose for the cats who were rescued from the Nevada desert in The Great Kitty Rescue. And Miss Sherry, the school principal, runs a tight ship.

>>Check it out.

Perky piglet’s double surprise.
Click Here!Buying a baby pig as a surprise gift is not a good idea. For starters, they squeal. Loudly. All night. (Find out why pets don’t make good surprise gifts here.) But then Sprocket the piglet got a new life at Best Friends, complete with sanctuary walkabouts – on a leash, no less!

>>Read Sprocket the Rocket’s story.

Why Harrison Fjord shouldn’t “burro” trouble.
Click Here!Harrison the fjord horse has instant star quality, like his celebrity namesake. Back when this sturdy fellow had a home, Harrison lost an eye, and no one seemed to want him after that. Now he’s here at the sanctuary, and we’ve discovered his secret fear in life. Hmm …

>>More about Harrison, and how you can sponsor him.

Daisy seeks Filet Mignon. Cesars, please. In the purple package.
Click Here!High blood pressure, tick disease, glaucoma. Seems like there are more things wrong with Daisy than right. But at Best Friends, she’s being treated for all her woes … including her finicky eating habits.

>>Catch up on Daisy’s journal.

Lots more on the website at, including

* a “fountain of youth” for homeless pets in North Carolina

* a landmark bill for dogs in Virginia

* and our favorite photo of the week. (What’s that parrot doing on the …?)

You make all these good things possible through your generous donations … so thank you, as always, from the heart of Best Friends.

Have a very good weekend, and a happy first day of spring.

Michael Mountain
Best Friends

Oral contraceptives for animals = no more coyotes pestering ranchers?

March 11, 2008

A birth control pill for animals being developed at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences may offer help to land owners who want to humanely reduce the numbers of animals such as coyotes, wild pigs or cougars on their ranches.

Researchers are testing oral contraceptives, used in much the same way as in humans, and the results are promising, says Duane Kraemer, a professor in veterinary physiology and pharmacology and a world leader in embryo transfer who has been involved in cloning four different species in recent years.

Kraemer, one of the pill’s creators, and other members of the research team are testing the contraceptive for use on wild animals, but the applications also could be used in pets, he believes.

Click here for the full article.

For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

Uganda: Residents Compensated for Lost Animals

March 7, 2008

Residents of northern and eastern Uganda who lost their animals during the war can now smile again.

The Northern Uganda Social Action Fund has distributed 192,000 animals and birds in a restocking exercise to replace those eaten by the rebels, the army or rustled by Karimojong raiders.

The fund’s education and communication specialist, Martin Okumu, said 33,557 heifers were given out to several groups in the regions.

According to him, Teso got 17,178 heifers, West Nile 2,700, Acholi 11,767 and Lango 1, 912 .

“We have also given to the communities 9,029 bulls, 18,476 goats and 10,434 pigs during the period the (compensation) project has been operational in the sub-regions,” said Okumu.

Click here for the full article.

More than animal welfare at risk during improper transport practices

March 1, 2008

Even the mental picture of a truckload of hogs on its way to market is enough to draw frowns from empathetic animal lovers, but researchers are taking a scientific approach to relieving the stress suffered by the pigs on those journeys.

Ensuring the welfare of the hog is one goal of Agriculture Canada scientists and members of the pork industry. But the bottom line is still the bottom line.

“There’s a huge economic impact. There is no one in the business that would intentionally try to harm animals, because there’s simply a huge economic loss associated with that,” explained Al Schaeffer, a research scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lacombe, Alta.

Click here for full article.

A wish comes true

March 1, 2008

Best Friends Animal Society

Dear Members and Friends,

Click Here!When the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked 11-year-old Jenny where she’d like to go – if she could go anywhere in the world – she said she wanted to come to Best Friends. And her visit wasn’t just a wish come true for her. The animals here had the best time ever. We have a delightful video of Jenny’s visit with her parents.

>>Read the story

>>Watch the video

Their kind of town.
Click Here!
Every week, cats from the Great Kitty Rescue graduate from their “finishing school” here at the sanctuary. This week, 25 headed out to the Windy City, where PAWS Chicago is helping place them in good new homes.

>>Check it out.

From pit stops to pet stops.
Click Here!
Racing car driver Andrew Prendeville goes off track, visiting rescue groups with his car to teach young people about kindness to animals. (They even get to sit in the car and have their photo taken!)

>>Watch Andrew at the track and meet his sponsor dog, Ballsy.

The Vicktory dogs.
Click Here!Tug doesn’t like sitting around, so he gets a new job. (Just please don’t say the c-a-r word in front of him.) And, incidentally, there’s quite a crowd at Best Friends Pittie City these days – lots of smiling faces inviting you to become their sponsors.

>>Pittie City

Lots more on the Best Friends web site, including:

  • Click Here!The latest from Pigtown – just look at baby Sprockett and his totally cute face!
  • A peregrine falcon does a crash landing (these birds can clock in at 270 mph!) … comes to Best Friends wildlife center … now ready to move into the big flight aviary. Follow his progress.
  • Helping a small humane society with its vital spay/neuter
    work at the Navajo Nation.

You make all these good things possible. Thank you, as always, for your kind and generous donations.

Michael Mountain
Best Friends

‘Stop live animals exports for slaughter’

February 12, 2008

A worldwide campaign aimed at banning the long-distance transport of live animals for slaughter has been launched in London.Animal charity workers shot secret film footage during a two-year long investigation of the global trade in live animals which they say is cruel and unnecessary.

The Handle With Care coalition is using shock pictures of animals being shipped around the world in overcrowded and filthy conditions before they are finally slaughtered.

They hope consumers will be so horrified by the images of sheep, cattle, horses, pigs and chickens moved in horrendous conditions in journeys that can take weeks they will embarrass governments into finally banning the trade.

Click here for the full article.

Piggies <3 Tigers 4 eva!

January 12, 2008

Look at these adorable pictures of a tiger frolicking with her stripe-clad pig friends!  It looks like a scene out of Winnie-the-Pooh.


Click here to see more!

Animal waste: Future energy, or just hot air?

January 7, 2008


Manure, when properly processed, can provide a reliable and clean source of electrical and heat energy. And as there is so much of it, many are pinning their hopes on it as the latest new renewable energy source, leading the New York Times to recently suggest it could be “the ultimate renewable source of fuel.”

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), there are about 1.3 billion cattle worldwide (one for every five people), slightly more than 1 billion sheep, around 1 billion pigs, 800 million goats and 17 billion chickens.

Between them, they produce a lot of fecal matter — around 13 billion tons of it a year, according to various estimates.

Within that matter is 55 percent to 65 percent methane, which when released into the atmosphere is bad news for us (it traps heat at 23 times the rate that carbon dioxide does) — but when burned is another matter entirely. It gives us energy.

Click here to read the full article.