Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Officials Worry Yet Another Lethal Pig Disease May be Coming to Canada

by Larry Powell
The Manager of the "Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network" warns, now that African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed in China, the risk of it spreading to North America, has increased. 
Dr. Jette Christensen, veterinary epidemeologist.
Dr. Jette Christensen (above) describes ASF as "a serious and trade-limiting viral infection." Speaking on the industry-sponsored radio program, "Farmscape," she assured listeners, if  the Canadian industry follows import regulations, "they should be safe." But she also warns that the virus can survive for months outside the host in pork products.

The swelling around the kidneys and the muscle hemorrhages shown here are 
typical of pigs with African swine fever. Karen Apicelli USDA
Dr. Christensen warns Canadian producers, that workers they hire, could bring the disease home with them after vacationing in China or Eastern Europe. And they should even be careful when bringing in exchange students, for the same reason.

AFS does not affect humans, so is not considered a food safety concern. But it is described as one of the deadliest diseases of pigs.

The World Health Organization warns that crowded, confined and intensive livestock"factories" (used widely in Canada and around the world), increase the risk of such infectious diseases. 
Delia Grace Randolph, veterinary epidemiologist.
And, in the words of Delia Grace Randolph of the International Livestock Research Institute (above), "The evidence seems quite clear that intensification, especially of pigs and poultry, is associated with emerging infectious zoonotic disease, foodborn disease and antimicrobial resistant pathogens."

Monday, 27 August 2018

Livestock Producers Temporarily Allowed to Cut Hay & Graze Animals on Crown Land

News release - Gov't. of Manitoba
Cattle graze on parched pasture. A PinP photo.
Livestock producers will temporarily be allowed to cut hay and allow animals to graze on Crown land not normally designated for agricultural use due to dry conditions across parts of the province, Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler announced today. More here.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

'No grass': Europe's livestock sector stricken by drought

A parched crop in the Netherlands. Photo by Rasbak

"Our cows hav been living off hay cut in June, there isn't any grass," says a French farmer who, like his counterparts across much of northern Europe, is wondering how he will feed his animals this winter.  More here.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Effective fisheries management can reduce extinction risk of marine fish stocks

Science News - University of British Columbia
Fishing boats docked in Canada's Bay of Fundy.   
Dillon Kereluk from White Rock, Canada.
Effective fisheries management plans, coupled with actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions, both separately, but especially in tandem, would have an immediate effect on the number of marine species that face extinction. More here.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Global warming will expose millions more to floods


East Village in Calgary during epic flooding in Alberta in 2013. Ryan L. C. Quan

Global warning is expected to unleash more rain, exposing millions more people to river flooding particularly in the US and parts of Asia, Africa and Central Europe. Read more here.

Rural Americans’ struggles against factory farm pollution find traction in court. Will it happen in Canada, too?

A Manitoba animal factory. Photo credit - Mercy for Animals, Canada.

As U.S. livestock farming becomes more industrial, it is changing rural life. More here.

"In Hogs We Trust."  
A critique of Manitoba’s runaway hog industry.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record

 The Guardian
Image Credit: NASA/Operation IceBridge
Usually frozen waters open up twice this year in phenomenon scientists described as scary. More here.

Assessing the dwindling wilderness of Antarctica

Nature Antarctica. Aerial photo by Astro_Alex. Less than 32% of Antarctica is made up of areas that are free from human interfere...