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  • 16 Jan 2015 11:58 AM | Anonymous

    ARK Development, LLC, an affiliate of leading real estate company Racebrook Capital, announced today it has signed a 30-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to develop, finance, construct, operate and manage The ARK at JFK, a $48-million, 178,000 s/f  state-of-the-art animal handling and intelligent air cargo facility.

    The ARK will be the world’s only privately owned animal handling cargo terminal and USDA-approved, full-service 24-hour airport quarantine facility for the import and export of horses, pets, birds, and livestock.

    The ARK at JFK will be constructed at the current site of Cargo Building 78 at JFK, with 14.4 acres of surrounding ground area, which includes direct airside access to the taxiway and large aircraft ramp parking. It will be divided into three complementary sections: the air cargo wing, a central administrative and business center with 24-hour veterinary hospital, and the main animal handling facility with pet boarding, animal import and export center, and livestock export handling system.

    “We developed The Ark concept to address the unmet needs for the import and export of companion, sporting and agricultural animals,” said The ARK at JFK Founder and Racebrook Chairman John J. Cuticelli, Jr. “The animal terminal will set new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services.”

    The $48 million project will create more than 180 jobs and generate revenues for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey estimated at $108 million over the span of the project’s 30-year lease. The completed facility will significantly increase cargo throughput at the airport.

    “Redeveloping cargo infrastructure and growing the cargo pie at New York and New Jersey’s airports is vital to supporting thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity for the region,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “ARK’s investment of $48 million into JFK will transform an airport structure that has been vacant for nearly 10 years into a world-class specialty cargo facility, and the agreement guarantees the Port Authority more than $100 million in revenue without any additional capital investment.”

    Financing will be facilitated by Build NYC, the City’s conduit bond issuer, which will issue bonds underwritten by Goldman Sachs, as well as equity partner Westport Capital Partners LLC, and construction lender The Union Labor Life Insurance Co., Real Estate Investment Group. “Build NYC bonds are a crucial tool in the City’s overall efforts to drive the economy, encouraging business growth and job creation in all five boroughs,” said Jeffrey Lee, Executive Director of Build NYC. “The Air Cargo industry at JFK is an important component of New York City’s greater economy, directly responsible for over 17,000 jobs, and The ARK at JFK will help bolster JFK’s competitive advantage as an international air cargo gateway, a major New York City Economic Development Corporation priority.”

    The ARK at JFK has been designed by leading architects, designers and engineers, including master architect Gensler, equine-specialty architect Gralla Equine Architects (GH2), construction manager Holt and Grandin Livestock Handling Systems (GLHS), with guidance from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    “Gensler is accustomed to designing airports with an eye to fostering wellbeing for people, yet The ARK at JFK posed a unique design challenge for us: to create a place that could ease and simplify the sometimes complex process of transporting animals by plane,” said Gensler Architect and Senior Associate Cliff Bollmann.

    “For the animals who pass through The Ark, as well as the people who own them, air travel can be stressful and confusing.” He added that, “aligning the needs of quarantine with kenneling and elevating the experience for animals and their owners, our design team sought to create a comfortable, healthy environment for them all.”

    Holt Construction has been intimately involved in the construction planning of The ARK at JFK for the past several years. Holt’s President Christopher Asaro is “thrilled to be part of this unparalleled project. The importance of this project cannot be overstated, as it is the first of its kind. The ARK will stimulate the local economy while providing a wider range of services to a variety of animals, its benefit to the airlines as well as the local and global communities makes this a model project in our industry.”

    “The ARK at JFK represents an enormous leap forward in the care and comfort of horses and cattle that travel through the airport,” said Ms. Lachlan Oldaker, RA, Specialty Practice Leader/Senior Equine Architect, GH2 Gralla Equine Architects. “The design allows planes to taxi directly to the building, so horses can be transported in a seamless fashion that reduces stress.”

    Oldaker added that there is a large animal departure lounge, where horses for export have access to comfortable stalls, food and water. There is also an arrival area where the horses’ vitals are taken before they are placed in individually climate controlled units equipped with bedding and natural light. The cattle handling facility is similarly designed for optimal ease.

    “This really is a worry-free, one-stop shop for passengers and animals, thanks to the various on-site offerings, including Paradise 4 Paws, an aviary and a veterinarian,” she said.

    The ARK at JFK will provide both airside and landside services to board, kennel, quarantine, import, export and transport large and small animals. Additional services will include transportation in dedicated climate controlled vehicles from aircraft, terminals, cargo facilities and other airport locations. A livestock export handling system designed by Professor Temple Grandin, the leading authority on livestock movement, will allow for the safe and efficient handling of cattle, goats, pigs and sheep from truck to aircraft.

    Racebrook is subleasing approximately half of the facility to Consolidated Aviation Services (CAS), North America’s leading air cargo ground handler, which will serve as the anchor tenant. CAS will handle non-animal airfreight for the terminal including the receipt, storage and distribution of air cargo.

    “We are excited to partner with Racebrook on such a monumental and visionary project that will utterly transform the way other airports approach their animal handling responsibilities,” said Mike Duffy, CEO of Consolidated Aviation Services, which will serve as the exclusive ground handler for the ARK and Sky team, including Air France, the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France; Alitalia, the national airline of Italy; and KLM, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands.

    In addition, Paradise 4 Paws will bring award-winning service in the form of a 20,000 s/f 24-hour pet resort with overnight accommodations for cats and dogs, dog daycare, grooming, training, and airport parking.

    “Paradise 4 Paws has been expanding significantly over the past year, with our most recent opening at Denver International Airport, and we are thrilled to now be able to offer our services to travelers out of JFK Airport,” said Saq Nadeem, Top Dog and CEO at Paradise 4 Paws.

    A key component of The ARK at JFK will be state-of-the-art veterinary services available 24/7, 365 days per year, including general medicine, emergency, critical care, internal medicine, surgery and advanced diagnostics provided by LIFECARE, a new veterinary hospital system committed to providing the most advanced medical care options and treatments to pets across the country.

    The LIFECARE Veterinary Health System also includes several renowned veterinary specialty practices in the northeast, including Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey, VRC in southeastern Pennsylvania and East End Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center in Long Island, NY.

    “LIFECARE’s partnership with The ARK at JFK is a perfect fit for our growing organization as we are committed to providing state-of-the-art and comprehensive veterinary care for pets whenever and wherever life takes our clients,” said John Payne, CEO and Founder of LIFECARE.

    “We are excited to embark upon such a game-changing development, which will revolutionize the care of animals in an aviation environment,” said Dr. Aaron S. Perl, Founder and Managing Director of The ARK at JFK and General Counsel of The Racebrook Portfolio Companies. “We are proud to have brought together one of the most prestigious project development teams in the field to bring this vision to life.”

    Full Story Here

  • 09 Jan 2015 4:21 PM | Anonymous
    Armed with lessons learned from last year's polar vortex, the U.S. transportation and shipping network faces its first big test of the winter this week as harsh cold and dangerous wind chills buffet the Plains to the East Coast.

    Moving people and products has proved tedious but not impossible as upper Midwest temperatures topped out in the single digits to below zero Fahrenheit on Wednesday, with gusty winds making it feel like 20- to 40-below. Snow blanketed much of the eastern United States, with lake-enhanced accumulations of more than a foot in northwest Indiana and western New York.

    It is the coldest weather since the region was hit last year by a polar vortex, which is a mass of frigid air that typically only resides over the north pole.

    Midwest farmers delayed grain deliveries while hog farmers kept swine in warm barns. Plains feedlot operators sold cattle at higher-than-expected prices in weekly auctions early this week as beef packers scrambled to secure livestock struggling to retain weight in the bone-chilling cold.

    Commuter railroads warned passengers of service delays and advised riders to allow for extra travel time, while freight rail carriers prepositioned needed equipment and shortened trains to keep air brake systems working effectively.

    Chicago's Metra commuter line upgraded its passenger alerts system and spent more than $2 million on additional rail switch heaters and equipment to clear snow and ice from tracks. Still, the carrier warned of delays this week due to "temperature-related speed restrictions."

    Major freight railroads appeared more prepared after unprecedented service issues last year that impeded shipments of coal, grain and other goods.

    CSX Corp moved extra equipment into position ahead of the cold snap and had no problems, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. BNSF Railway Co is running shorter trains to ensure air brake systems work properly, a practice introduced after the western U.S. carrier experienced the brunt of service issues last winter, its spokesman said.

    Barge shippers hauling goods on the Mississippi River and its tributaries moved fleets further south to avoid getting stranded on ice-clogged waterways, shippers said.

    Ice is building on the Illinois River, which typically remains partially open to commercial navigation year round. "By the end of the week it will become an issue that will deter most barge lines from heading back into the river," one barge broker said.

    The Mississippi River at St. Louis has receded more than three feet since Monday because of upriver ice, prompting concerns that shippers may soon be forced to lighten loads or risk groundings.

    Midwest farm belt elevators and agricultural processors saw a slowdown in truck deliveries of grain, although no spot shortages were reported as many had accepted grain contracted for January delivery in late December.

    A Cargill Inc corn mill in Eddyville, Iowa, with the capacity to unload more than 500 truckloads a day reported daily deliveries of around 300 trucks on Monday and Tuesday.

    Many farmers kept swine buildings closed to conserve heat, which has contributed to heavier animal weights, an Iowa dealer said. But some processors were still working through a glut of animals following year-end holiday plant closures.

    Beef packers on Tuesday spent more for cattle and bought them earlier in the week than usual. Feedlots have been holding animals which have been losing weight due to cold and snow.

    "Weather has become an issue in feedlots from Texas through Nebraska. The extreme cold will cause cattle carcass weights to decline at a much faster rate than in prior years," said Hales Cattle Letter author David Hales in Amarillo, Texas.

    Full Story here:

  • 09 Jan 2015 4:16 PM | Anonymous
    APHIS gets $49.5 million bump, but spending bill still prohibits funding for horse inspection activities.

    If you didn't have time during the holiday rush to comb through the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress, here's your chance to quickly get caught up. Most notably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which houses the majority of the veterinary and agriculture programs identified as high priorities by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), received $1.9 billion more than fiscal year 2014. Here's how the budget shakes out for key agencies according to the AVMA.

    The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

    >NIFA will be funded at $1.3 billionundefined$12 million more than in fiscal year 2014undefinedto support research, extension and higher education in partnership with American universities.

    >The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, a program within NIFA to provide student debt relief for veterinarians willing to work in shortage areas, received a funding bump from $4.7 to $5 million. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, which aims to eliminate the 39 percent federal withholding tax from the annual awards, was not brought before the last Congress for a vote, but will surely be reintroduced to the 114th Congress.

    The Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

    >ARS received a $10 million budget increase for 2015. It will now be funded at $1.1 billion to conduct basic and applied research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of national priority in a number of fields, including animal health. The AVMA says the spending bill rejected President Obama's request to terminate and redirect research programs and close certain research stations. Extramural research will continue to be funded at fiscal 2014 levels.

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

    >APHIS gains $49.5 million with its $874 million budget for fiscal 2015. The agency conducts inspections and quarantine activities to protect animals and plants from diseases and pests. Appropriators recommend $288 million for animal health, $305 million for plant health and $109 million for wildlife services. The bill includes $6.7 million in funding for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

    >APHIS’ budget also includes $29 million to carry out key animal welfare activities. The spending bill upheld the prohibition of funds to pay for any horse inspection activities continuing the ban on horse slaughter and transport in the United States.

    >Although the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act was not brought for a vote in the last Congressional session, AVMA says in fiscal year 2015 APHIS has been instructed to provide more written communication to judges who are conducting horse inspections at walking horse shows regarding the “scar rule,” which is when horses show evidence of previously being sored.

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

    >FSIS, which works to ensure that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products is safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged, will be funded at $1 billionundefineda $5.8 million increase over last fiscal year’s spending level.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    >FDA will be funded at $4.5 billion to regulate food, cosmetics, human and animal drugs, and medical devices, in fiscal 2015. This includes both $2.6 billion in direct appropriations and monies collected through user fees.

    >Animal Drugs and Feeds funding will receive $147.5 millionundefineda $6 million increase.

    >Three million dollars is allocated to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), which serves as the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s post-approval safety monitoring system for food animal antibiotics. The AVMA says FDA commissioner has also been directed through the spending bill to finalize its Veterinary Feed Directive rule prior to April 1, 2015.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    >NIH will receive $150 million more than in fiscal year 2014. In addition to its $30.1 billion funding, the bill provided NIH with $238 million in funding to help the country fight the global Ebola virus epidemic.

    Full Post here:

  • 09 Jan 2015 4:13 PM | Anonymous
    Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center is pleased to announce the arrival of Nila, a California Sea Lion to the Aquarium. She was found malnourished, dehydrated and emaciated at the Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, CA on March 17, 2014.

    At approximately 9 months old and weighing only 18 pounds (a healthy pup of this age should weigh about 40-50 pounds), Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) rescued her and provided immediate care. Although she did gain weight, CIMWI’s veterinarian and the National Marine Fisheries Service deemed her non-releasable. Her timid temperament and behavior indicated that she would not successfully forage for food, or survive in the wild.

    Candy Paparo, the Director of Animal Training at the LI Aquarium, was contacted by The National Marine Fisheries Service to see if the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center could provide a home for this young sea lion. The Aquarium agreed to take her and Paparo, along with Nicole Izzo MacDonald (another member of the Animal Training Team) traveled to Santa Barbara to retrieve the little sea lion. Utilizing FedEx’s Animal Transport Program, Paparo and MacDonald traveled with Nila almost 3,000 miles to Long Island, NY.

    Although determined healthy by CIMWI and Long Island Aquarium veterinarians, Nila is behind the scenes while she gets adjusted to her new home and acclimated to New York winters. She will be gradually introduced to the Aquarium’s resident sea lions Java and Bunker and ultimately be presented to the public in the Sea Lion Coliseum.

    California sea lions (Zalophuscalifornianus) are members of the otariid family(eared seals). Unlike true seals, sea lions have external ear flaps and large flippers they use to walk on land. Males can weigh up to 850 pounds and reach up to eight feet in length. Females, usually a lighter brown color than males, can weigh up to 250 pounds and up to six feet in length. Although not an endangered animal, for the past two years, there has been an increase in the amount of distressed sea lions pups washing ashore in California. Research is ongoing, but it is thought that a change in the availability of normal sea lion prey, especially sardines, is a factor in the number of strandings that were seen last year and again this year.

    About Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center
    This privately-owned aquarium features one of the largest all-living coral reef displays in this hemisphere, a 120,000-gallon shark tank, year-round sea lion shows, numerous touch tanks, butterflies from all over the world, and more than 100 exhibits and interactive experiences, including Butterflies & Birds, Shark Dive, Penguin Encounter, Pirate Snorkel, Shark Keeper, and more! Located in Riverhead, on the east end of Long Island, guests are encouraged to learn about what lives within the local waters, with exhibits showcasing local flora and fauna, as well as exotic, tropical displays.

    Named a Top 10 Aquarium for Children by Parents Magazine, Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center is open daily 10:00am to 5:00pm year-round (Closed Christmas & Thanksgiving Days). You can add to the fun with an overnight stay at the waterfront Hyatt Place East End & Resort Marina located adjacent to the Aquarium property. For more information, please visit

    About Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI)
    CIMWI (pronounced “sim-wee”) is dedicated to making a difference through marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation, research and education to promote ocean and human health. They are a part of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program under the direction of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. CIMWI is the only authorized organization to respond to and rehabilitate pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) and cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) for Ventura County.

    About FedEx
    FedEx Express has a long history of transporting rare and delicate cargo. FedEx has shipped many unusual animals, including two giant pandas Washington D.C.’s National Zoo in December 2000, polar bears, white tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, lions, gorillas, eagles and even a 13-foot tiger shark used in filming the movie “Jaws.”

    Full post here:

  • 09 Jan 2015 4:11 PM | Anonymous
    MOGO Zoo has taken delivery of two 4000kg rhino.

    “Wow, after waiting 15 years I can’t believe they are finally here", said Mogo Zoo owner, Sally Padey, as the precious cargo was gently lowered into position ready for the Rhinos’ first introduction to their brand new home at Mogo Zoo.

    “It’s such relief to finally have them here safe, these are always tense and nervous moments for me” said Sally and understandably so given the enormity of the cargo in question.

    Weighing up to 4000kg and standing up to 1.8metres tall, the Zoo's newest and largest residents, “Kei” and “Jabari”, a pair of male Southern White Rhino made the long journey south to Mogo early this week travelling through the night from Australia Zoo, located at Berowa on the Queensland Sunshine Coast.

    Operations manager Paul Whitehorn said Kei and Jabari handled the trip extremely well.

    “The planning for the move began a few months ago with every precaution and safety measure taken into account, including periodic veterinary checks along the way,” he said.

    The move, part of the Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP), will see the pair of rhino play an important role in the future population of this threatened species.

    “Who knows what the future holds, it would be dream come true if we could establish a breeding herd here at Mogo Zoo,” Sally said.

    “To think that rhino were nearly hunted to extinction for its horn is unconscionable to me and Mogo Zoo will play any role necessary to ensure the ongoing conservation and preservation of this magnificent creature.”

    For now Kei and Jabari will go through a settling in period getting acquainted with their new surroundings and their animal neighbours.

    All going to plan, the rhino exhibit will be open to the public on January 10.

    When asked about the scale of the project Sally said, “In the 25 year history of Mogo Zoo this would have to be one of the biggest projects the Zoo has ever embarked upon and would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all the team at Mogo Zoo.

    Sally also wanted to express a special thank you to NSW Forestry, Euro Civil Safety Barriers and King Bros Transport for their amazing generosity and ongoing support.

    Full Post here:

  • 08 Jan 2015 4:19 PM | Anonymous
    The Livestock Exporters Association will hold the fourth annual Livestock Exporting 4.0 seminar Feb. 16 at the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Louis, Missouri, in conjunction with the United States Livestock Genetics Export annual meeting. This seminar is designed for experienced exporters, LEA members and industry affiliates interested in marketing livestock abroad.

    “The exporting business continues to grow worldwide as do the challenges we face on virtually every transaction,” says LEA President Renee Strickland. “The fact is that we have lots of tools that can help U.S. exporters be competitive, but to be successful you have to know how to tap into those resources.”

    The day-long session will give participants an in-depth look inside the procedures associated with shipping livestock overseas and educate exporters on the sweeping changes taking place in the industry. Officials from the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Services, Veterinary Services will be present to review the latest rule changes and provide exporters on country by country update on protocol negotiations.

    In addition to updates on the overall livestock economic picture and updates from Washington D.C., special segments will focus on genomic testing in today’s export environment and provide exporters with a clear understanding of how genomic testing can be an asset for livestock exporting in certain countries, and what it can and cannot prove.

    The biggest hurdle for most exporters is the ability to meet the disease and testing protocol required of the foreign customer. Livestock Exporting 4.0 will provide industry experts to discuss the various diseases and testing options available. As new markets become available in countries that are not formally open to U.S. livestock exporters, exporters face unique and sometimes specific challenges to complete the process. The segments on ‘Testing’ and ‘Doing Business Outside the Boundaries’ will help exporters with answers for those challenges.

    The LEA has developed extensive standards for the safe handling for livestock during export and will provide exporters the opportunity to complete the initial training required, which will help qualify themselves for future audits.

    Strickland encourages everyone with an interest in marketing livestock, including seedstock producers and breeders, veterinarians and freight providers to attend.

    “There is a real opportunity to producers who wish to market their animals abroad, and we hope those interested will join us for what we plan to be an educational and engaging seminar.”

    Attendees of Livestock Export 4.0 will have the opportunity to network with some of the top exporters and allied supporters of the industry. Vendors will have on display a wide range of services from freight forwarders, insurance companies and transportation service companies.

    Advanced registration is available on the LEA website with a cost of $150 for LEA members and $200 for non-members. The registration fee includes all meals for the day. For more information regarding LEA and marketing livestock abroad or to register for the seminar, visit the LEA website ( for details.

    Hotel reservations can be made directly with the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa by calling 636-940-4301 to make their reservations. To receive the discounted rate, make sure you identify the group as USLGE Annual Meeting 2015.

    Full Story here:

  • 02 Jan 2015 11:23 AM | Anonymous
    PITTSBURGH, LONDON––Alerts to the risk that animal shelters, shelterless rescues, and adoption transport may spread rabies came simultaneously in December 2014 from no-kill organizations on both sides of the Atlantic.

    “He was a kitten. He came in at four weeks old,” Washington Area Humane Society shelter manager Laurelle Dicks told Mary Robb Jackson of KDKA-TV, CBS Pittsburgh.

    Elaborated Jackson, “She was referring to a cat named Chance who was brought to the Washington Area Humane Society in May 2014. Found along a road by a volunteer, at the time the kitten had a couple of puncture wounds on his head, but otherwise seemed healthy.”

    The puncture wounds may have been from a rabid bite by another animal, but usually rabies symptoms from a head bite appear within days. In any event, a kitten––or puppy––who is under 15 weeks of age is too young to vaccinate successfully, since the animal’s immune system is not yet mature enough to develop antibodies in response to vaccination.

    The Washington Area Humane Society nursed Chance to recovery, and offered him for adoption. But whether the puncture wounds Chance came with were the source of exposure, or some other incident, he exhibited rabies symptoms in early December.

    Said Dicks, “He was banging his head, could barely walk, and was just attacking anything he saw.”

    Continued Jackson, “The rabid cat was immediately isolated, the state Health and Agriculture Departments alerted, and 28 other cats were quarantined. Three staffers who were scratched or bitten were treated with post-exposure prophylaxis shots.”

    Second Pennsylvania case

    A similar case emerged almost simultaneously at the opposite end of Pennsylvania, in Montgomery County, west of Philadelphia.

    “The Montgomery County Health Department has received confirmation that a cat who was being fostered by Green Lane Veterinary Hospital has tested positive for rabies,” the county office of communications announced on December 15, 2014. “The rabid cat has been identified as Jinx, a male tabby who was brown with black stripes and had his tail and both rear legs amputated.”

    “The cat had been in the care of the veterinary hospital since November 1,” the announcement continued. “On December 11 the cat became unusually aggressive and exhibited neurological signs indicative of rabies. He was humanely euthanized that same day.”

    The cat’s head was sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Laboratories. Fluoroscopic examination to find the negribodies (brain cinders) symptomatic of rabies infection confirmed the diagnosis on December 13, 2014.

    Why the cat’s tail and both hind legs had been amputated was not disclosed. Of relevance, however, is that weakness and paralysis in the hind quarters are among the symptoms of rabies.

    Virginia case

    About as far south of the two Pennsylvania rabies cases in cats as they were from each other, the Halifax County Animal Shelter in southern Virginia “has revised its adoption rules since sending a family home with a rabid dog,” Justin Ward of WBDJ-7 News reported on December 9, 2014.

    In November 2014, elaborated Ward, “the animal shelter was overcrowded with dogs and cats, so a local animal rescue group asked to foster a stray dog with six puppies. The animals had just been impounded at the shelter two hours before.”

    Halifax County animal warden Todd Moser allowed the mother and pups to be released for fostering, but two days later, Ward continued, the mother dog displayed rabid behavior. Rabies was confirmed after the dog was euthanized, decapitated, and slides of her brain were examined by fluoroscopy. All of the pups were euthanized as a precautionary measure, since the nursing pups of a rabid mother are almost certainly also infected.

    Seven people received post-exposure rabies vaccination, “including the foster family and shelter staff,” Ward said.

    “Now when an animal is impounded,” Ward continued, “the animal is monitored for signs of any disease, and the animal welfare groups are not given immediate access to the animals.”

    Dogs Trust finds forged rabies certificates

    While rabies emergencies percolated at shelters in Pennsylvania and Virginia, Dogs Trust released undercover video showing veterinarians in Hungary and Lithuania creating false documentation pertaining to rabies vaccination and quarantine, in order to export dogs for adoption in the United Kingdom.

    Said Dogs Trust veterinary director Paula Boyden, “We found that there are breeders, traders and even vets who are quite prepared to
    falsify documents and bring in underage puppies into the U.K.”

    The largest no-kill shelter chain in the world, operating 20 shelters in the U.K. and Ireland, Dogs Trust rehomes about 15,000 dogs per year.

    “We are seeing evidence of animals being fraudulently introduced under the pets passport scheme, and that needs to stop,” U.K. chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens told BBC News.

    “There were 2,102 dogs from approved carriers entering the UK from Lithuania in 2013, nearly nine times the number in 2011 (239),” BBC News reported, citing Department of Environment, Food, & Rural Affairs data. “At least 3,044 dogs arrived in the U.K. from Hungary last year, up from 399 in 2011.”

    Change of import rules

    The surge in imports of dogs from Lithuania and Hungary followed amendments to the European Union Pet Travel Scheme introduced in January 2012. Under the new rules, animals brought into the U.K. from other EU and approved non-EU countries, including the U.S. and Australia no longer need a blood test and need only be quarantined for 21 days following vaccination, before being imported. The 21-day quarantine is reduced from the six month quarantine formerly in effect.

    Until under 20 years ago, few animal shelters imported animals for adoption from other shelters, let alone from abroad. Most animal shelters did not allow rescuers and the general public to have access to impounded dogs and cats until after the expiry of mandatory holding periods. And few individuals other than shelter staff and volunteers were involved in rehoming impounded animals. The concept of shelterless rescue, common today, barely existed before the advent of online communications and, in particular, online adoption advertising.

    Holding time

    Shelter holding periods, typically ranging from just 24 hours up to two weeks, serve the dual purposes of allowing people who had lost a pet time in which to find and reclaim their animals, and––while far short of a complete quarantine––of providing shelter staff some observation time in which to see whether impounded animals were healthy and temperamentally suitable for adoption.

    The most common holding period, required for animals sold to laboratories by the federal Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966, was five days.

    The National Institutes of Health no longer fund experiments using shelter dogs and cats. As far back as 1971, when the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act was expanded into the Animal Welfare Act of today, only a dwindling minority of shelters transferred animals to laboratory suppliers on a regular basis.

    But the five-day hold had already become standard throughout the shelter industry. Only after five days, at most animal control shelters, could an animal either be killed, be adopted, or be released to another shelter or adoption agency.

    Capacity vs. intake

    Most shelters built during the latter half of the 20th century were designed around the idea that their holding capacity should be approximately equal to intake in an average week, with enough cage space open at all times to immediately accommodate emergency impoundments.

    Shorter holds prevailed where shelters became overcrowded in less than five days. As the volume of dogs and cats arriving at shelters dropped to about a seventh of the volume of circa 1971, longer holds became more common.

    Holding periods ranging from 24 hours up to two weeks never fully met the need to quarantine animals to prevent disease transmission. Neither did the shelter architecture prevailing until recent years allow for much use of isolation-and-quarantine procedures. Most shelters built during the 20th century originally had no isolation-and-quarantine facilities at all for preventing incoming animals from transmitting airborne disease, or disease transmitted in fecally contaminated runoff from hosing out cages.

    The only quarantining that most older animal shelters were designed to do was keeping dogs and cats who had bitten someone for two weeks of observation for rabies symptoms, absent proof of vaccination.

    Since all that was necessary in such cases was to prevent the suspect animals from biting anyone else, ordinary shelter caging was sufficient. At the end of the two-week quarantine interval, animals who remained healthy might either have been killed or been returned to their homes. Rarely, however, were they offered for adoption.

    Changing realities

    These longtime realities of animal control sheltering have changed with the advent of no-kill sheltering as a widespread community goal, and with rising numbers of increasingly competitive rescue agencies lobbying to gain immediate access to impounded animals, in order to place “holds” on any they wish to try to rehome.

    Along the way, concern about rabies has receded––prematurely, as the recent Pennsylvania and Virginia cases demonstrate.

    Canine rabies had been eliminated from the U.S. by the end of the 20th century, but dogs are still infected from time to time by bites from wildlife, including foxes, skunks, raccoons, and bats. Like dogs, these species have “native” rabies strains, which they can carry and transmit for weeks or months in the “dumb” phase, before evident symptoms emerge.

    Cats & bats

    As with dogs in the U.S. the risk of rabies transmission from an impounded cat is relatively slight, but for different reasons, and the potential consequences of overlooking a rabies case are unchanged: undetected and untreated rabies infection in invariably fatal. Only promptly post-exposure vaccination can prevent a rabid bite from becoming fatal.

    Rabies does not have a long latency interval in cats; there is not a rabies strain native to cats. While any mammal can become infected and die of rabies, those without a native rabies strain––like cats––almost always die within days of exposure, and can only transmit rabies when in the terminal “furious” phase.

    This raises the question of what really happened to Chance, the rabid cat found at the Washington Area Humane Society––a question which may be answered when the specific rabies strain that afflicted Chance is identified.

    Either Chance had a highly atypical infection from the head wound he had when he arrived at the shelter in May 2014, or was infected while at the shelter. If infection at the shelter occurred, a bite from another rabid cat might have been the vector for transmission, but contact with a rabid bat would be more likely.

    Usually in cases of cats becoming rabid despite having been kept indoors, the source is found to have been a bat who somehow entered the cat’s living space from the attic or eaves of the building, or from a hollow tree just outside an open door or window.

    All bats native to the U.S. are air-feeding insectivores, who rarely if ever descend to the ground or even cat-grabbing level if healthy. A rabid bat will descend to the ground or floor, however, and a cat will play with the bat.

    Bat bites look like pin pricks, almost undetectable on human skin, and even harder to find on a furred animal. The remains of the rabid bat in such cases also may not be found. An injured or rabid bat may crawl into any dark crevice to die, and not be discovered for years. Sometimes cats eat the recognizable remains of bats entirely, as they do the remains of mice.

    Where there was one rabid bat, there will almost certainly be more.

    Other disease issues

    Meanwhile, rabies is only one of the disease transmission issues that animal shelters and rescuers need to be aware of in an era when a “90% live release rate” is an increasingly common shelter management goal. Fewer animals today are euthanized to prevent disease transmission, yet disease remains among the most frequent reasons why dogs and cats come to shelters. Most shelters still lack adequate isolation-and-quarantine facilities.

    Longer holding times mean more crowding, and most shelters remain disease incubators, with little or nothing to prevent healthy animals from coming into contact with airborne and waterborne pathogens shed by infected animals.

    Earlier in 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Health first quarantined and then temporarily revoked the license of the Fayette County SPCA, issuing more than two dozen citations against the organization and staff for failure to promptly vaccinate incoming animals and failure to maintain sanitary conditions during outbreaks of multiple canine disease in late July and early August.

    The State of Maine Animal Welfare Program almost simultaneously imposed a quarantine on the Coastal Humane Society, of Brunswick, Maine, “after five puppies rescued from a shelter in Alabama tested positive for ringworm,” reported Brunswick Press Herald staff writer Dennis Hoey.

    Other shelter disease outbreaks of note were reported from California, Indiana, Texas, and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

    Short memories

    Already memories seem to have faded of the tragedies of spring 2010, when the staffs of five shelters cumulatively euthanized more than 400 exposed animals due to severe disease outbreaks.

    Most controversially, the Ontario SPCA announced in May 2010 that it would kill about 350 animals due to ringworm, after containment and treatment efforts begun in February had repeatedly failed. Six workers were also infected. Tests showed that every room at the Ontario SPCA branch shelter in Newmarket, Ontario had become contaminated. About 100 animals were actually killed before the Ontario SPCA outbreak was brought under control.

    Just a month earlier, parvovirus caused the Royal SPCA shelter at Townsville in north Queensland, Australia to euthanize more than 200 dogs, including 50 puppies.

    In between, the Humane Society of Carroll County in Maryland, was obliged to euthanize several cats due to an outbreak of feline calicivirus. In Michigan, the Shiawassee Humane Society fought feline infectious peritonitis–an incurable, invariably fatal form of coronavirus––by euthanizing about 35 cats and kittens. The Circle of Friends Humane Society in Grand Forks, North Dakota, had to euthanize 20 dogs after one impounded dog was found to be rabid. The others were believed to have had salival contact with the infected dog, a suspected mode of rabies transmission among dogs, raccoons, and foxes.

    Lied Animal Shelter case was worst

    The worst recent shelter disease episode, however, came at the Lied Animal Shelter in Las Vegas in February 2007, where outside personnel were brought in to assist in euthanizing more than 1,000 of the 1,800 animals in custody. About 150 of the animals were ill, and 850 were believed to have been exposed to both parvovirus and distemper among the holding kennels for incoming dogs, and panleukopenia among the incoming cats, along with a bacterial infection never previously found in shelters that caused a fatal hemorrhagic pneumonia.

    Originally handling only Las Vegas animals, the Lied Animal Shelter opened in February 2001. The Lied management almost immediately came under intensive criticism for purportedly killing incoming animals too quickly, after an incident in which a child’s dog was euthanized by accident.
    The shelter was expanded two years later to also hold animals impounded from Clark County, surrounding Las Vegas.

    A decade later the shelter tried to go no-kill––prematurely.

    “Our policies were written to save every animal we possibly could,” recounted Animal Foundation of Nevada president Janie Greenspun Gale.

    The Lied Animal Shelter either adopted or returned to homes 18,358 dogs and cats in 2006, killing 23,557––a record then slightly better than the U.S. national average shelter killing rate per 1,000 human residents of the service area.

    But the Lied Animal Shelter also lost 3,652 animals to illness and other causes of death besides lethal injection.

    By way of comparison, all shelters combined in the state of Virginia that year lost just 2,152 dogs and cats to “illness and other,” out of 183,828 dogs and cats handled.

    Virginia shelters in 2013 killed just 58,802 dogs and cats, down by nearly half from the 114,843 killed in 2006––but 3,514 dogs and cats, nearly half again more, died in Virginia shelters from “illness and other,” a reminder of the risks inherent in trying to save every animal without having adequate facilities and protocols in place to prevent disease transmission.

    Full Story here:

  • 02 Jan 2015 11:20 AM | Anonymous
    Changes to the pet travel scheme have been introduced today.

    Read our guidance: pet travel: changes to the EU scheme

    The pet travel scheme allows people to take their dog, cat or ferret in and out of the UK without quarantine, as long as they meet the rules of the scheme.

    The changes are in line with new European regulations and are designed to improve the security of the scheme and traceability of the pet passport, whilst also clamping down on abuse of the system.

    The changes include:
    • a new minimum age of 12 weeks before a pet can be vaccinated against rabies
    • new pet passports will include laminated strips and a requirement for more contact details to be provided by the vet issuing the document and certifying the veterinary treatments
    • a new requirement for all member states in the EU to carry out checks on their borders (the UK already checks all pets coming into the country through approved routes)
    • a tighter definition of non-commercial movement which will mean owners who cannot travel with a pet when they enter the EU, must do so within 5 days; owners can still authorise another person to travel with their pet, but again the pet and authorised person must travel within 5 days of each other
    • All pets are still required to have a microchip which confirms the animal’s identity.
    Existing passports will remain valid for the lifetime of the pet or until all treatment spaces have been filled on the document.

    All pet passports issued by vets from 29 December 2014 will be in the new format.

    More information on travelling with your pet

    Full Post here:

  • 02 Jan 2015 11:18 AM | Anonymous
    Researchers find well-conditioned cattle bear up well during transport

    A prominent animal welfare group calls it “transport torture,” but a new study has found conditions inside livestock trailers don’t normally have a significant impact on animal health.

    The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada study looked at trailer microclimates during cattle transport.

    “We thought they might have an impact on the health and morbidity rates once they got put in place at the feedlot,” said Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein, a senior researcher at the Lethbridge Research Station.

    “(But) no matter what the microclimate was inside the trailer undefined whether it was hotter than outside or colder than outside undefined those factors did not seem to affect the morbidity of the calves.”

    That runs counter to charges levelled by Mercy for Animals, which has garnered 100,000 signatures since October on an online petition calling on Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to overhaul “Canada’s woefully lacking transport regulations.”

    The group launched the petition in the wake of an undercover video that showed sick and injured hogs arriving at Red Deer’s Western Hog Exchange, where they were then dragged, kicked, and hit with a plastic bat.

    “Transport trucks are not adequately enclosed or climate controlled,” states Mercy for Animals website. “During the summer, temperatures inside trucks can reach well over 40 C, particularly when at a standstill. This can lead to heat stress and heart attacks; combined with high ammonia levels, it can cause death by suffocation. During the winter, exposure to snow, frigid winds, freezing temperatures, and extreme wind chill can cause animals to become frozen to the floor or sides of the trailer and possibly freeze to death.”

    Schwartzkopf-Genswein’s study looked at the shipping of calves. While it found transport times, loading density, and outside temperature can affect the conditions inside a transport trailer “quite drastically,” the researchers didn’t find any major effect on the calves themselves.

    The first part of the study looked at 24 loads of calves, with loads divided into two groups based on the amount of space given to the calves. In six of the loads, the researchers also put sensors in the trailers to measure temperature and humidity and took blood samples from the calves to measure stress hormone levels and dehydration.

    Loading density did impact levels of dehydration in the calves, but the researchers did not find increased morbidity (incidence of sickness).

    The results were similar in a study of feeder cattle, said Schwartzkopf-Genswein.

    “We didn’t see much effect on the cattle in their condition at the time of off-loading.”

    Feeder cattle are generally overloaded between five to 10 per cent above the recommendations, she said, but even in those circumstances, the research didn’t show “any really negative effects.”

    The study, however, comes with a caveat.

    Because the sample size was so small, the results need to be “viewed with caution,” said Schwartzkopf-Genswein, adding further studies with more cattle are needed to confirm the findings.

    As well, the loads of cattle that were studied weren’t in transport for as long as the rules allowed, which is 52 hours for cows and other ruminants. (For hogs and other monogastric animals, the limit is 36 hours.) The calves that were studied were transported for 12 hours or less, while the cattle were in trailers for no more than 22.5 hours.

    “We did not set specific times within the study as we were tracking commercial loads of cattle and followed them regardless of their transport time,” said Schwartzkopf-Genswein.

    Mercy for Animals wants the maximum to be eight hours before animals are given food, water, and rest, saying anything short of that amounts to cruelty.

    “Increased time on the truck can result in greater shrink, (and more) downer and lame cattle regardless of animal type,” said Schwartzkopf-Genswein. “Of course, more vulnerable animals like cull cows and calves are more affected than fats, and particularly when the temperatures were below -15 C and above 30 C.”

    Still, her study doesn’t support the contention that any more than eight hours in transport is cruel.

    “The industry is pretty good at figuring out what works for the cattle,” said Schwartzkopf-Genswein. “From what I’ve seen, at least with the calves and the feeders, it seems that we don’t have any major problems.”

    But it may be a different situation for cull cows, she added.

    “Animals that are in good condition undefined that are fit for travel, that are ready for the trip undefined can manage it. Fat cattle have few problems managing the conditions of our transport,” she said.

    “Once you get to smaller calves and cull cows, I do think some of the conditions in which they’re transported are more taxing for them.”

    Producers need to focus on “taking care when putting the right kinds of animals on the trailer,” she said.

    “If you know they’re compromised in any way, take the proper precautions undefined keep them off the trailer, keep them segregated, give them more bedding, give them more space.”

    And while Schwartzkopf-Genswein is “waiting with bated breath” for new transport regulations that have been almost 15 years in the making, she said she hopes new regulations reflect scientific knowledge rather than pressure from special interest groups.

    “If there are welfare issues, absolutely,” she said. “I think we’re all on the same page in that we want good welfare for our cattle, but likewise, we also don’t want to impede commerce where there really are no problems.”

    Full Story Here:

  • 02 Jan 2015 11:15 AM | Anonymous

    Farmscape for December 31, 2014

    The barn manager with Starlight Colony is advising swine producers and transporters to take extra care in ensuring transportation equipment is working properly during extremely cold weather.

    With the colder weather now upon us concerns among pork producers over animal welfare during transport are heightened.

    James Hofer, the barn manager with Starlite Colony at Starbuck, Manitoba notes hogs face an increased risk of frostbite during transport when temperatures dip below minus 20.

    Clip-James Hofer-Starlite Colony:
    Hog are very susceptible to cold weather because having been in a controlled environment all their life they don't get to grow an extra coat of hair like the wild animals do in the wild to protect against cold so animals in transport have to be kept warm.

    The producer or the transporter has to make sure that he understands the loading densities and how many vents to keep open.

    When the temperature dips down to minus 20 degrees or lower then producers need to add straw.

    Straw is more fluffy and creates a better cushion along the corners and the outside perimeters of the truck.

    The responsibility is very clearly on the transporter.

    During loading and unloading they need to make sure that equipment, everything is serviced and works properly.

    The gating, sometimes after washes gates can get frozen and don't work properly so it's very good when producers can dry their equipment and make sure that everything works properly.

    Hofer says producers and transporters are very aware of potential hazards when transporting hogs during cold weather but it doesn't hurt to remind everyone to be a little more aware of the conditions.

    Full Story Here:

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