No Excuse For Small Guinea Pig Cages
FDA Petitioned to Lower Ractopamine Limits for Meat, Review Health Impacts
Animal rights and food safety groups are petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to immediately lower the allowed residue limits for ractopamine – a controversial drug used to boost growth and leanness in meat production – and to study the drug’s effects on human health and animal welfare. The petition comes just days after the drug escalated trade tensions between the United States and Russia, which recently adopted a zero tolerance policy for ractopamine in imported meat, jeopardizing around $500 million in U.S. exports to the country. The petition contends that the FDA needs to do a more thorough job of assessing the potential harmful effects of ractopamine, a beta-agonist that mimics stress hormones and increases the rate at which animals convert feed into muscle.
The drug is fed to animals in the last few weeks, right up until slaughter. There is no mandatory withdrawal period for ractopamine, but when FDA approved the drug, it set safe maximum residue limits for ractopamine in meat products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service does very limited testing for the drug, but the agency has never found levels that violate the established MRLs, according to the data posted online. A recent test conducted by Consumer Reports of 240 pork samples found that about one in five were positive for very low levels of the drug – under 5 parts per billion, which is well under the FDA’s established MRL of 50 ppb for pork.
Though ractopamine is approved as safe in more than two dozen countries, including Canada and Brazil, there is still sharp disagreement over the safety of the drug. The European Food Safety Authority has determined the science backing ractopamine is insufficient to determine what amount, if any, of the drug is safe for human consumption. China, Russia, and others have expressed similar worries and ban the drug from being used by their own meat producers. While it was approved as safe by the FDA more than a decade ago, the petition claims the agency did not thoroughly review all of the potentially negative consequences of the drug. Animal welfare advocates are particularly concerned about the number of pigs that have reportedly had adverse reactions to the drug.
OUTBREAK: Chinese Pigs Infected With Swine Flu
Last week, China reported its first ever outbreak of African swine fever at a farm in Shenyang. Chinese pig-related stocks then slumped after the world’s biggest pork producer and consumer reported its first ever case of highly contagious hemorrhagic fever. In Hong Kong, WH Group Ltd., the world’s largest pork company, retreated 2.1 percent. Muyuan Foodstuff Co. dropped 8.7 percent, Guangdong Wens Foodstuffs Group Co.
fell 6.3 percent and Tangrenshen Group Co. declined 4 percent in the aftermath of the announcement of the outbreak, according to Bloomberg. The outbreak of the African swine fever is spurring a cull, a ban on transportation, and a quarantine for the neighboring areas. The hemorrhagic disease is highly contagious and mortality rates can be as high as 100 percent, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health. China had more than 433 million pigs at the start of the year, more than half of the world’s total food/pork pigs.
The first case of African Swine Fever virus in China was reported on Friday, August 3, according to the Swine Health Information Center. The outbreak was located in the northeast part of the country, in the city Shenyang, district of Shenbei New, in the province Liaoning, SHIC said in a news release. This is a swine dense area of 130 miles along the North Korean border. According to Pork Business, The Global Agricultural Information Network reports that pork producers and animal quarantine officials in Bulgaria are currently monitoring for African swine fever, as recent outbreaks of the virus have occurred just over the border with Romania, and elsewhere in the region. Pork remains the most widely produced and consumed meat in Bulgaria.
Guinea Pig Sounds And The Meanings Behind Them
Guinea pigs express their feelings and thoughts not only with their behavior and body language but also by making different sounds. The most common situations are when your are stroking your pet or it is groomed by another guinea pig. If your guinea pig is cooing, then it is a sign of being content. Naturally, cooing is a sound that mother guinea pig does to her babies. Rumble is a high-pitched vibration sound that male guinea pig produces in attempts to woo a female.
Rumbling is usually accompanied with the male guinea pig wiggling his hips around the female. If you hear that a guinea pig is making a high-pinched noise, then it is feeling frightened or is in pain. Usually you can hear a squeak when a young guinea pig is taken away from a mother. Guinea pigs can start to chatter to communicate to other guinea pigs or people to stay away. Guinea pig who is chirping is associated with being stressed.
The noise resembles a bird chirp and is most commonly heard when a baby guinea pig communicates to the mother that it is hungry or wants to suckle from her. If you hear your guinea pig growling, the best way to cam it down is to pet it and to speak in a soft manner.