We Pigs News for 08-30-2018

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. 

Keywords: [“Drug”,”ractopamine”,”Animal”]
Source: https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/12/fda-petitioned-to-lower-rac…

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. 

Keywords: [“reports”,”outbreak”,”pigs”]
Source: https://rightwingtribune.com/2018/08/07/chinese-pigs

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. 

Keywords: [“Guinea”,”Pig”,”sound”]
Source: https://www.allguineapig.com/guinea-pig-sounds

We Pigs News for 03-22-2018

World Health Organisation wants to ban names of diseases offensive to animals

Experts want to change the names of diseases that can lead to stigma Monkey pox, Cooke’s disease and German measles are facing abolition The new guidelines are designed to reduce the name’s ‘negative impact’ Spanish flu was ‘unfairly’ blamed on the Iberian country between 1918-20By Martin Delgado for The Mail on Sunday. The World Health Organisation wants to deal with the problem of ‘offensive’ disease names. They are supposed to be at the forefront of fighting disease and saving lives all over the world. In an astonishing example of political correctness, World Health Organisation officials have called for terms such as swine flu, bird flu and monkey pox to be banned – in order to protect animals from needless slaughter. WHO – a UN body to which Britain contributes £35 million a year – says the aim of the new guidelines is to minimise the ‘negative impact’ of such terms as German measles or Lyme disease on travel, tourism or animal welfare. ‘The World Health Organisation is a political organisation – an arm of the UN – which got badly burned by not acting fast enough on ebola. Well-known diseases have to be called something and changing names causes public confusion and might even be harmful. If governments and doctors around the world follow WHO advice, familiar terms such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, swine flu, legionnaire’s disease and paralytic shellfish poisoning will be dropped and replaced by names judged more politically correct. The guidelines also call for the words ‘unknown’, ‘death’, ‘fatal’ and ‘epidemic’ to be avoided in descriptions of human disease because they can ‘incite undue fear’. Swine flu will also be dumped because the designation led to the unnecessary culling of pigs which had no connection with the 2009 pandemic, according to a WHO spokesman. He said certain disease names had created a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities and had erected barriers to travel and trade, as well as sometimes triggering the needless slaughtering of animals. The WHO was founded in 1948 with the aim of protecting populations around the globe from the scourge of infectious disease.

Keywords: [“disease”,”flu”,”names”]
Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3075230/Swine-flu-banned-Q-upsets…

Additive Used in U.S. Meat Production May Be Too Dangerous Even for Codex: An All-Creatures.org Vegan Health Article

The latest session of the U.N. Codex Alimentarius ended without final adoption of a maximum residue level for ractopamine, a feed additive widely used in pork and beef production. Although this is very good news for meat eaters, the U.S. delegation to Codex expressed disappointment in the commission’s decision to delay adoption of a minimum residue level for ractopamine, and urged that the review of information from China be completed by the Codex meeting in July, 2010. The National Pork Producers Council has been pushing the commission to adopt a minimum residue level for ractopamine, even though no evidence has surfaced to suggest its use is safe for animals or for the humans that consume products from animals bulked up with this drug. Ractopamine’s only benefit is to fatten up meat producers’ bottom lines. No long term studies documented the safety of ractopamine prior to its approval for hogs or cattle. Animals can dine on ractopamine laced feed right up until they enter the slaughtering chute. If a clearance period were required for ractopamine, the animals’ unnaturally produced weight gain would evaporate and so would the extra profits. Although there have been no long term studies of the effects of ractopamine in humans and no data exists to determine the outcome of long-term exposure to the chemical, short-term animal studies have shown destabilization of heart rate, reduced testicular and uterine weight, and heart weight increase. Ractopamine has not yet been studied after passage through animal livers in the form in which it would be present in the tissues of animals fed with it. There may be no clearing period required before turning ractopamine fed animals into dinner, but the Paylean label suggests significant hazards for humans using the substance. Imported meat is tested and turned away if traces of ractopamine are discovered. This is an industry admission that fully three weeks of clearance time is needed to export meat that will pass the standards of China for being ractopamine free, a conclusion that is inconsistent with the stance of Codex.

Keywords: [“ractopamine”,”Paylean”,”animal”]
Source: http://www.all-creatures.org/health/additive.html

Antibiotic ‘last line of defence’ breached in China

Bacteria resistant to an antibiotic of last resort have been found in pigs, meat and a small number of hospital patients in China, setting off alarm bells for doctors and researchers. Scientists discovered bacteria with a gene that makes them resistant to an old antibiotic called colistin. For doctors, colistin is last line of defence against some infections. The Chinese researchers found the new resistance gene, called mcr-1, was easily spread by plasmids, a portable form of DNA. Prof. Jian-Hua Liu with the South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou and his co-authors found the mcr-1 gene had the potential to spread to bacterial species such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause diseases ranging from pneumonia to serious blood infections. In Wednesday’s online issue of the Lancet Infectious Diseases, the researchers report finding the gene in 166 of 804 pigs at slaughter across four provinces, and from pork and chicken sold in 30 open markets and 27 supermarkets in Guangzhou between 2011 and 2014. It was also found in 1 per cent of 1,322 samples they tested from hospitalized patients in China, which the researchers called a relatively low proportion. ‘Sorry, there is nothing I can do to cure your infection’. The links between agricultural use of colistin, colistin resistance in slaughtered animals, colistin resistance in food, and colistin resistance in humans are now complete, the pair said. China is one of the world’s largest users and producers of colistin for agriculture and veterinary use. Worldwide demand for the antibiotic in agriculture is expected to reach almost 12,000 tonnes per year by the end of 2015, rising to 16,500 tonnes by 2021, according to a 2015 report by the QYResearch Medical Research Centre. Lin and other doctors suggested people can do their part in curbing antibiotic resistance by only taking the drugs when prescribed, taking the full course and returning unused antibiotics to the pharmacy for proper disposal rather than fostering the spread of resistance genes among bacteria in the sewage system.

Keywords: [“gene”,”resistance”,”colistin”]
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/antibiotic-resistance-colistin-1.3325942

We Pigs News for 01-16-2018


Raising Pigs: Why We Use Pastures And Pens – Righteous Bacon

It’s not just pork either, “Grass-fed” which is a different but similar label for beef and lamb products, as well as pastured and even “Vegetarian” versions of poultry have been hitting shelves in increasing numbers. Due to the rising popularity of these products and an increasing awareness of pasture-based farming systems one of the questions we often field is why we don’t leave our pigs on pasture full time. The truth is we used to leave them on pasture full time during the summer, but as time went on we learned a lot about pigs and pig farming and have made adjustments with that knowledge. One of the things we’ve learned is that sometimes what feels good to us is not necessarily the most responsible choice to make for the stock or our land, and that’s pretty much the overarching theme to everything we do here, including the pasture and pen management. Cows, sheep, goats, even llamas and alpacas are masters at turning grasses and legumes into agricultural products – namely meat, milk, and fiber – pigs on the other hand, are not so much. Though fiber digestion does happen to some extent in the intestines of pigs it is limited in comparison to their ruminant counterparts and this is especially so for younger swine, precisely those of the ages and in the stages that are generally grown out for pork. The digestive tracts of younger pigs, on the other hand, are designed to run best on feedstuffs much higher in protein and fat, the kinds of things we can best provide in their feed bunks by hand. Whatever the reason however, pigs can turn a pasture or paddock to a rutted, muddy, and/or barren wasteland faster than any other class of livestock. Just because they can doesn’t mean they want to We may be biased, but we think pigs are pretty incredible creatures. Feral pigs are not a multi-billion dollar per year invasive species problem because hogs are tender and fragile creatures, after all. Quite to the contrary we’ve seen them show a decided preference for the “Finer” things in life; man-made shelter, comfortable bedding materials, hand-delivered feed. Over the years, as we’ve learned that the pasture isn’t necessarily of as much value to our pigs nutritionally as we may have originally liked we’ve also learned how it is of value. We’ve found that by managing how much time the pigs spend on grass and wooded paddocks we can protect the ground from destruction while simultaneously providing the pigs with everything they need to thrive – better shelter, closer management, safer accommodations for baby pigs, more individualized diet and health care – and we think that’s a pretty awesome balance between what feels good to us and what is best and most responsible for our land and livestock. So when our sows aren’t farrowing or caring for a young litter of pigs we rotate them in and out of pasture paddocks, paying attention to their natural cycles and the condition of the ground. We provide straw for them to root through and use as bedding, the pens are dirt floored so they can also dig in the dirt, and while I won’t say it’s perfect it’s a pretty good sweet spot that we’re very pleased with.

Keywords: [“pig”,”pasture”,”we've”]
Source: http://www.righteousbacon.com/pigs-pasture-only-supplement-feed

NLIKE THE U.S., China, Russia, Taiwan, and the European Union ban or limit the use of ractopamine, a drug that promotes growth in pigs, cattle, and turkeys. U WHAT IS RACTOPAMINE? Ractopamine is a controversial drug used widely as an animal feed additive in industrial factory farms that raises significant food safety and animal welfare concerns for U.S. and international consumers. The U.S. meat industry uses ractopamine to accelerate weight gain and promote feed efficiency and leanness in pigs, cattle, and turkeys. Most of the 196 countries in the world have banned or restricted ractopamine; only the U.S. and 25 other major meat-producing nations allow its use. A recent report by the research and testing publication Consumer Reports investigating 240 U.S. pork products found that one in five products tested positive for ractopamine residues. As with the vast majority of animal drugs used in the U.S. industrial meat system, FDA’s approval for ractopamine relied NATIONAL OFFICE: 660 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Suite 302, Washington, DC 20003 Furthermore, the U.S. has an abysmal track record on testing pork, cattle, and turkey products for ractopamine. In December 2012, the Center for Food Safety and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a petition with FDA calling for immediate action on the use of ractopamine in U.S. meat production. V ANIMAL HEALTH IMPACTS Ractopamine has significant known health impacts on animals. Fed to an estimated 60 to 80 percent of pigs in the U.S. meat industry, ractopamine use has resulted in more reports of sickened or dead pigs than any other livestock drug on the market. INTERNATIONAL BAN OF RACTOPAMINE Based on a lack of available evidence of ractopamine’s safety, most countries have taken a cautionary approach to the presence of ractopamine in their national food systems. The U.S. already has a certified ractopamine-free program in place to sell pork products to the E.U.vii Currently, it is estimated that 160 countries of the 196 in the world ban or restrict ractopamine. Annually, China’s ban on ractopamine will affect approximately $886 million in U.S. pork productsviii and Russia’s ban will affect approximately $500 million. Ix The U.S. argues that international bans on ractopamine are not based on scientific reasons, but are based on protectionist approaches to enable China, the E.U., and other countries to obtain greater market share. What the U.S. fails to acknowledge is that other countries are taking the lack of human health and animal welfare studies very seriously; ractopamine has not been conclusively determined as safe for humans and animals. POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS BAN RACTOPAMINE: The most efficient solution is to simply ban the use of ractopamine in the U.S. and lessen the need and expense of administering a verification system.

Keywords: [“ractopamine”,”U”,”animal”]
Source: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/ractopamine_factsheet_02211.pdf