Thursday, 20 February 2014
The pig health situation becomes ever more depressing on both sides of the Atlantic.
Britain's pig industry, with their accompanying band of veterinarians, continue to issue media releases insisting that the risks to pig health are swill (ie including pig meat -which is banned anyway) and ham sandwiches accidentally fed to pigs by the East Europeans that provide the cheap labour keeping a low productivity industry afloat.
The occasion is the anniversary of the 2001 FMD epidemic, which they continue to suggest was caused by swill. (It wasn't 2001, but 2000 and it wasn't swill!) Media Release here
America, at the same time, faced with PEDv, is feeding bits of piglets to sows in the desperate hope it will provide some kind of immunity. New York Times article here
So, one side of the Atlantic sees pig meat fed to pigs as the hazard, the other as the salvation. They are both wrong with no science anywhere, just bluster in an ever deteriorating international situation.
And no mention anywhere of the ever increasing volume of live pigs, semen and embryos crossing borders accompanied by recklessly issued health certificates: and little mention of the health risks to people and pigs arising from the antibiotic resistance arising from the frantic attempts to deal with co-infections.
Rich veterinarians and dead kids! It is a bleak future.
Sunday, 16 February 2014
Just as during the Foot and Mouth Disease catastrophe in 2000-1, Britain has had to call in the British Army because they cannot trust the agricultural ministry then Maff, now renamed Defra.
Defra, through their front organisation, the Environment Agency are supposed to do the job of flood defence, but they spent it all on self-seeking twitchers (bird fanatics) and self-praising public relations.
Correctly, the government does not trust the management of their own ministry - Defra.
During the animal health crises of 2000-2001, Britain's Maff-Defra veterinarians were equipped with mobile phones. They were using them in front of us, whilst faking test results and trying to involve us in criminal deception.
When they were deployed to deal with Foot and Mouth Disease a month later, they had none. The army, in the body of their brilliant commander, Brigadier Alex Birtwistle, had to go to the local telephone shop to remedy the deficiency.
He gave the government veterinarians phones to replace those they had "lost". It is all well documented. The vets were seeking to frustrate the military by failing to be found and lost their phones to facilitate their independence.
So Britain can sleep tonight. The military are on the flooded streets offering aid and also doing an independent assessment of the defences, before Britain's crazy veterinary establishment can flood the country to make way for their favourite ducks.
This is the scandal of the century. All really big scandals have an element of insanity. This one more than most.
Full BBC report, with photographs, here
UK floods: Army to carry out 'rapid inspection' of defences
The Army will check 150,000 flood defences across England over five weeks
The Army is to carry out a "rapid inspection" of England's flood defences within five weeks to assess the damage left by unprecedented flooding.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the work would normally take two years...
Tuesday, 28 January 2014
Under the strains of a massive PEDv epidemic, pig farming in the USA are getting part way there
"We move pigs around a lot, which increases risk,'' added Torremorell.
"Our production model is a disadvantage."
Their problem, as in Britain and elsewhere, is a massive infrastructure: intellectual, financial, sales and physical committed to the current production model.
It is going to be a major problem to change course to something safer and more resilient.
If they solve PEDv with vaccines, as they hope eventually, there will still be a dozen more disease disasters lined up to exploit the same weaknesses in a dangerous failed model.
And that is a model reliant on huge quantities of antibiotics to keep co-infections under control and any semblance of a successful industry.
Full report here
PEDV discussed at length during Minnesota Pork Congress
Lisa Young / Agri News
Lisa Becton, Dave Wright and Montserrat Torremorell answered audience questions on PRRS, influenza and PEDV during a moderated panel at Minnesota Pork Congress on Jan. 14.
Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014 10:02 am |Updated: 10:02 am, Mon Jan 27, 2014.
MINNEAPOLIS - Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was the hot topic during the Minnesota Pork Congress.
Friday, 24 January 2014
The last three weeks have been exceptionally busy for those campaigning for state veterinary reform in Britain.
There is much to record, including a rebellion by Britain's younger veterinarians on the question of antibiotics used in livestock farming...
...an admission that export pig semen from Britain is extended by antibiotics
...and yet another new disease killing Britain's dogs, probably Alabama Rot, covered up for over a year, some sources claim it is the same as that found over the couple of years on the Queen's estate at Sandringham and elsewhere in the east of England
...Britain's biggest farm veterinarians and antibiotic suppliers selling out to venture capitalists
...Swine Dysentery reported in Cornwall, as well as Yorkshire, possibly antibiotic resistant
...Britain's third largest pig consolidator going bust
...PEDv found in Canadian pigs
...The pig pricing system in Britain breaking down under competitive pressure
but that can all wait, perhaps the most serious farm problem impacting on human health remains antibiotic resistance on pig farms.
Maryn McKenna tells us that there are very real risks to living near a large intensive pig farm.
Be sure to read the whole article, here
Almost Three Times the Risk of Carrying MRSA from Living Near a Mega-Farm
BY MARYN MCKENNA 01.22.14 2:06 PM
In the long fight over antibiotic use in agriculture, one of the most contentious points is whether the resistant bacteria that inevitably arise can move off the farm to affect humans. Most of the illnesses that have been associated with farm antibiotic use — resistant foodborne illness, for example — occur so far from farms that opponents of antibiotic control find them easy to dismiss. So whenever a research team can link resistant bacteria found in humans with farms that are close to those humans, it is an important contribution to the
A team from the University of Iowa, Iowa City Veterans Affairs, and Kent State University have done just that. In next month’s Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, they survey 1,036 VA patients who lived in rural Iowa and were admitted to the Iowa City facility in 2010 and 2011. Overall, among those patients, 6.8 percent were carrying MRSA, drug-resistant staph, in their nostrils. But the patients’ likelihood of carrying MRSA was 2.76 times higher if they lived within one mile of a farm housing 2,500 or more pigs.
The increasing populations of swine raised in densely populated CAFOs and exposed to antibiotics presents opportunities for drug-resistant pathogens to be transmitted among human populations. Our study indicates that residential proximity to large numbers of swine in CAFOs in Iowa is associated with increased risk of MRSA colonization.
Some important things to unpack here:
MRSA (formally, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) often “colonizes” people — takes up residence on the skin or in the nostrils — before it causes an infection. Studies have shown repeatedly that
being colonized with MRSA increases the risk of contracting a difficult-to-treat infection.
Because of that risk, and because MRSA spreads easily in hospitals, the VA since 2006 has required facilities to screen all incoming patients to see whether they are carrying MRSA and thus are posing a
risk to other patients.
MRSA is frequently found in the vicinity of pigs: not just MRSA ST398, the specific resistant variety that was first identified in pig farmers in the Netherlands in 2004, but the garden-variety community forms as well.
And Iowa has a lot of pigs: 19 million, according to the US Department of Agriculture, housed in about 7,000 “CAFOs” (for confined or concentrated animal-feeding operations), which the US Environmental Protection Agency defines as a facility of at least 1,000 pigs, though most are many thousands larger.
(If you’d like to know more about MRSA, including the “livestock-associated “pig MRSA” variety, I wrote a book. OK, back to this paper.)...
Be sure to read the whole article. (the book really is very readable too, spelling out, as it does, the human costs of doing nothing.)
Sunday, 12 January 2014
Swine Dysentery has been a reoccurring problem in Yorkshire for the last few years. One outbreak was blamed on infected weaners from Scotland by veterinarians.
Some details of previous outbreaks are on the blog detailed below (use the search box.)
If the report of swine dysentery arriving from Scotland was accurate, and it sounds plausible, it is merely another example of movements of live animals and semen being the main vector for the movement of diseases in, out and around the UK.
Scotland has imported piglets from Denmark too, suggesting a lack of confidence in the health of local stock.
The movement of live pigs and semen worldwide has increased massively in recent years. It should be no surprise that increased animal and zoonotic outbreaks become more frequent.
Free trade in such items seem to bring more dangers than benefits to both farmers and public health: benefits to the few, disaster to the many.
The report from the Pig Site is short, but can be viewed in full here.
Swine Dysentery Outbreak in Yorkshire10 January 2014
Thursday, 9 January 2014
We have never believed the official explanation for the arrival of Schmallenberg Virus to Britain.
The facts at the very beginning did not match the explanations.
Defra's veterinarians even got the geography of their own country round their necks in their rush to find an explanation that suited them.
You have to remember the motto of Britain's hapless government veterinarians for every incursion of animal and zoonotic disease into the British Isles:
"Blame someone else, preferably innocent."
That's not say that SBV does not travel in midges, merely it did not arrive in Britain in midges over the route stated.
That's a very different thing. You can find our objections from the beginning in the archives here (use the search box above).
Anyway, it looks like SBV can travel in bovine semen.
Britain cannot and does not control the movement of germplasm from EU countries at the borders. It relies on veterinary certification, and we all know that veterinary practice is often to sign anything and everything put under their noses recklessly without much regard to the consequences.
Now this suggests a much more likely route!
"…In conclusion, we demonstrated that SBV RNA-positive bovine semen could contain infectious SBV. However, the actual risk for transmission of SBV by insemination of dams with SBV-containing semen
remains to be evaluated. Although SBV infection of the developing embryo is unlikely, venereal transmission would lead at worst to viremia of the dam, facilitating vector transmission. To prevent venereal SBV transmission, sensitive PCR testing of semen batches from SBV-infected bulls is the method of choice (1,10)."
Tuesday, 7 January 2014
That's a lot of pigs. It becomes increasingly clear that the PEDv is not airborne.
The Americans correctly deduce that humans are the main vector of carriage.
There is too much traffic through the average pig farm of people going from farm to farm, everywhere
That's nothing new. During the Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and, Foot and Mouth (FMD) epidemics in Britain, government veterinarians were going from infected farms to clean ones and not always taking the appropriate precautions.
If you allow government veterinarians to edit or fake the data to remove them from any possibility of fault, you will never get to stop the national and international movement of animal and zoonotic disease.
The remedy is clear, supervise them and if you catch them: sack and prosecute.
If that had been the policy in Britain in 1999, intensive livestock farming would not be in the mess it is in now.
Government also needs to tackle the associated disinformation campaigns.
Full National Hog Farmer report here
Three Million Pigs Possibly Lost Due to PEDV
Jan. 6, 2014
Source: South Dakota State University
Three million pigs may have been lost to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) during 2013, according to some estimates, says Bob Thaler, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension swine specialist...