Showing posts from July, 2017

Two Weeks with No New PED Cases in Manitoba Cause for Optimism

Farmscape for July 31, 2017 New tools being used in Manitoba appear to be helping bring the spread of PED in the province under control. Since the end of April almost 60 swine production sites in Manitoba have been confirmed infected with Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea. On Thursday Manitoba Pork hosted a PED information session in Steinbach to update producers on the situation. George Matheson, the Chair of Manitoba Pork, says there have been no new cases since July 14. Clip-George Matheson-Manitoba Pork: We're organizing a manure management group for the infected farms. Of course equipment can become infected and we don't want a positive farm infecting a negative farm just by the transfer of manure equipment and spreading must be done soon. Lagoons get full. That's one approach we're taking. Manitoba Pork has decided to employ a Swine Health Officer, a full time position, just to manage the situation with the help of the Manitoba CVO. We've had three staff members, M

A New and More Virulent Hog Infection Invades Manitoba

Dr. Blaine Tully   - Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians Farmscape for July 28, 2017 The President of the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians says swine veterinarian in Manitoba have stepped up their focus on addressing a new more virulent strain of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome. A new more virulent strain of PRRS, a viral infection that affects pigs of all ages and stages of growth, has been identified in Manitoba. Dr. Blaine Tully, the President of the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians and a partner with Swine Health Professionals in Steinbach, says genetic sequencing to determine whether it's related to strains experienced in Manitoba or other parts of the country have shown that its kind of a lone wolf. Clip-Dr. Blaine Tully-Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians: We have about 12 or 15 farms, the majority of which are in southeast Manitoba but we do know there's farms in the Interlake and out into central Manitoba that h

Thanks to climate change, forest fires will likely become more common and widespread in Canada.

Environmental Research Letters Control fire -- NWT, Canada. (USDA Forest Service photo.)  As summer weather becomes increasingly drier and warmer, the risks of forest fires increase and their manageability decreases. A new study has modelled the key forest fire factors in boreal forests within the framework of changing climate models, and the results aren't hopeful: future forest fires will likely rage stronger and be much more difficult to contain than ever before. Researchers looked at three main predicting factors in forest fires: forest fuel types (in other words, what burns up in a forest fire: species of trees in the forests, type of forest and shrub cover, presence of lichens, wood chips or mosses on the ground surface); weather scenarios for the next 80 years; and fire behaviour (how the fire will spread, how fast it will travel, how intense it is, etc.) Their findings showed that the proportion of days in fire seasons with the potential for unmanageable fire w

More evidence on link between antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance

ScienceDaily Health Authorities in Europe are concerned about the impact of use of antibiotics on the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The report presents new data on antibiotic consumption and antibiotic resistance.  Story here. Hogs in a "confined animal feeding operation." Feed for such animals often contains antibiotics, not to treat sickness, but to promote growth and add value at market time. Wikimeida Commons photo. 

Industrial hog production is leading to devastating issues for Manitoba

Vicki Burns and Janine Gibson. For the last three decades, hog production in Manitoba has become increasingly industrialized with the number of pigs per barn jumping to the thousands and the number of actual pig producers dropping from over 14,000 in 1971 to a mere 200 today. The pigs that are the basis of this industry are often referred to as animal units. The production system is under constant pressure to produce more piglets at less cost, resembling an industrial assembly line. The pigs never see the light of day or have the opportunity to root in straw or breathe fresh air. How far we have moved from family farming to this industrial model, where thousands of animals are kept inside buildings with minimal human contact, feed is automated and they must live above pits of their own feces and urine. This industrial hog production that dominates the Manitoba landscape is resulting in devastating issues that are in the headlines now. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) has n

Is big oil committing fraud to stay in business?

National Observer Canada’s oilsands  have been sucked into the bitter legal fight around Exxon and climate change. Story here. Overburden removal - Suncor Mine - Alberta.  Photo by Beautiful Destruction.

Residents Near Mount Polley, BC Disaster Fear Time Running out for Justice

TheTyee Days before deadline to lay provincial charges, authorities have not completed investigation. Story here.

With More Ships in the Arctic, Fears of Disaster Rise

THE NEW YORK TIMES  When the Crystal Serenity, a 1000-passenger luxury liner, sails in August on a month-long Arctic cruise through the Northwest Passage, it will have a far more utilitarian escort; a British supply ship.     Story here.

A decades-long drought on the Canadian Prairies? It's possible, says author!

The Western Producer A 50-year-long drought may not be as crazy as some people think. According to a new book, it actually happened on the Prairies and not that long ago. Story here.

'The entire species could become extinct': Crowdfunding underway to save Manitoba butterfly

CBCnews The rapid decline of a tiny butterfly living in an equally small patch of Manitoba has prompted the Nature Conservancy of Canada to take action in hopes of saving the species from extinction.  Story here.

Satellite snafu masked true sea-level rise for decades Revised tallies confirm that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating as the Earth warms and ice sheets thaw. Story here. RELATED:  Angry Oceans. How Sea Level Rise is Impacting the World, including Atlantic Canada. (Story & Audio Podcast) Angry Oceans...the Second in a Series Looking at the Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Atlantic Canadians. (Video)

Rush hour pollution may be more dangerous than you think

ScienceDaily In-car air study of commuting cars finds dangers to human health. Story here. Traffic jam in Jasper Nat'l. Park CA. PinP photo.

Oilsands insider wanted for questioning in Exxon probe

National Observer A Canadian oilpatch insider has suddenly become a key figure in a high-profile investigation of a possible climate change "fraudulent scheme" at fossil fuel giant Exxon Mobil. Story here.

Exxon Fined $2M for 'Reckless Disregard' of Sanctions During Tillerson Era

EcoWatch "It's time  Rex Tillerson  step down or be removed," said Gigi Kellett of  Corporate Accountability International , following an announcement on Thursday that  ExxonMobil  will pay $2 million for violating U.S. sanctions against Russian officials while the now-secretary of state was the company's CEO. Story here.

Ancient Italian fossils reveal risk of parasitic infections due to climate change

ScienceDaily Rise in trematodes could occur much sooner than thought, according to new study. Story here. Yellow papillae flatworm or trematode  in Micronesia.  Photo by  Betty Wills .

Study Calls for Rapid "Negative Emissions" as Scientist Warns "Shit's Hitting the Fan"

Common Dreams New study, led by James Hansen, is meant to bolster climate kids' case against the federal government. Story here.

There’s literally a ton of plastic garbage for every person on Earth

The Washington Post More than 9 billion tons of plastic has been produced since 1950, and the vast majority of it is still around. Story here. Plastic waste on a beach in India. Photo by  Hajj0 ms

Hog Barn Fires – Where’s the Humanity?

By Vicki Burns About a month ago, three thousand, five hundred pigs died horrible deaths in a hog barn fire near New Bothwell, in southern Manitoba. Sadly, it was just the latest in what has become an all-too-familiar occurrence in this province. Trapped in a fiery inferno, the animals would have likely suffocated in the smoke before the flames actually took over. It’s hard to imagine the terror and panic that must have gripped them in those moments. Firefighters battling such disasters say they’re often haunted for a very long time by the sound of their screams. The animals that perished there, bring the total number of pigs to be burned alive over the past decade in Manitoba to 64,000. Surely you’d expect a rational, caring government to respond by immediately tightening fire safety regulations. Instead, it’s doing just the opposite. It’s moving to change building codes to allow for fewer fire alarms, fewer smoke detectors and cheaper fire walls! And surely you’

B.C. wildfire smoke triggers air quality statement for southwestern Manitoba

CBC news Smoke could cause issue for people living with asthma, irritate eyes. Story here.

Will God Save Us From The Wildfires?

by Larry Powell Did you hear them interview Walt Cobb on CBC Radio this week about the BC wildfires?  They asked him if he thought, as the world's leading climate scientists do, that wildfires have become "the new normal." Here's his response. “I don’t necessarily agree with that. There’s always been changes…Like my wife said the other morning…this is in somebody else’s hands… God has lined up what’s going to happen. And we’ll have to live with that." So who is Walt Cobb, you ask? Some ordinary guy off the street? Not exactly. He is the Mayor of Williams Lake, B.C. (l.) That's a city of 10 thousand - now almost a ghost town. It was ordered evacuated due to unprecedented fires burning in the region. Does he strike you as a guy who has a clue about the science? I can't really see him being on the front lines of efforts to wean ourselves off fossil fuels toward more sustainable, renewable energy sources. Can you? If that is the most h

Could Rudolph and friends help to slow down our warming climate?

Environmental Research Letters Reindeer photo by  Arild Vågen Reindeer may be best known for pulling Santa’s sleigh, but a new study suggests they may have a part to play in slowing down climate change too. Story here.

Insecticide found in same B.C. hummingbirds that are in decline

CBC news A rufus hummingbird, one of the kinds in decline. Dean E. Biggins 'No one has ever measured pesticides in hummingbirds before. So we decided to try it,' says scientist. Story here. RELATED:  "Will New Research Nudge Canada Toward a 'Neonic" Ban?" " Environmental groups back in court over pollinator-killing pesticides "

Most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed

Science Daily Governments and schools are not communicating the most effective ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints, according to new research. Story here.

Insecticides damage bee socialization and learning skills, study reports

ScienceDaily Wikimedia Commons Researchers find that bees fed with thiacloprid  (a neonic) significantly reduces their social interactions,  suggesting that foraging bees that encounter  high  doses of insecticide in the field may be less likely  to recruit others to nectar sources.  Story here. RELATED:  Will New Research From Europe Nudge Canada Toward a "Neonic" Ban? New research suggests “Neonics,” the world’s most widely-used family of insecticides, can decimate bee populations.

2.1 billion people lack safe drinking water at home, more than twice as many lack safe sanitation

World Health Organization Some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation, according to a new report by WHO and UNICEF.  Story here.

'When Rising Seas Hit Home': Hundreds of Towns Threatened by 2100

Common Dreams Daunting new report shows coastal communities are at-risk and unprepared for flooding caused by climate change. Story here. RELATED: "Angry Oceans - Pt. #1" and "Pt. #2."

The cycle of mercury pollution in the Arctic tundra

Nature Human activity has been a major source of mercury pollution in  the Arctic, and a new  study   has identified the form most often  taken by the pollutant: gaseous elemental  mercury  (GEM). The  present  News & Views  article discusses how the Arctic tundra  acts as a major sink for mercury, as the local plants uptake GEM  from  the atmosphere; and  what this means for the global mercury  cycle as  global temperatures warm. Isotopic data  collected in the  original study  by Obrist  et al.  reveal that GEM accounts for 90% of  the  mercury in plants,  and the uptake of GEM by plants is  especially  high in the summer. Since  plant matter decomposes  into the soil,  the Arctic soil may soon become  a substantial  mercury sink. ======== Editor's summary Anthropogenic activities have led to large-scale mercury pollution in the Arctic, but it remains uncertain whether wet deposition of oxidized mercury via precipitation and sea-salt-induced ch

Iceberg almost the Size of Lake Winnipegosis breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

theguardian Satellite data confirms ‘calving’ of trillion-tonne, 5,800 sq km iceberg from the Larsen C ice shelf, dramatically altering the landscape. Story here. The Larsen ice shelf as it was in 2004. NASA photo.

Parisitic birds use oil and gas infrastructures to prey on prairie songbirds - Study.

Royal Society Open Science  We're only beginning to find out all the ways in which industrial activity disrupts the ecosystem, and a new bird study gives yet another example of the unexpected ways in which human activity affects the local fauna. Researchers at the University of Manitoba have found that the presence of oil and natural gas infrastructure—such as fences, power lines, and transmitters around oil wells—in Canada's Northern Great Plains helped boost the number of brown-headed cowbirds by four times. Cowbirds are a parasitic species who lay their eggs in other birds' nests, forcing others to raise their brood. The parasitic species uses oil and gas infrastructures as perches, and the availability of perches makes it easier for these birds to find their brood hosts.  Savannah sparrow. Photo by  D. Gordon E. Robertson Cowbirds' abundance in the area could hurt another grassland bird species, the Savannah sparrow, which often falls victim to the parasitic