• 21 Aug 2015 4:15 PM | Anonymous

    AT AgQuip in Gunnedah this week, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay encouraged regional councils to participate in the NSW Livestock Loading Scheme, on the back of recent findings of an independent review.

    The review found the Scheme could save producers up to $10.2 million a year in livestock transport costs and reduce more than 7,000 annual truck trips on regional roads and highways if it was taken up by a greater number of shire councils.

    "The NSW Government introduced the Livestock Loading Scheme in 2012 to boost regional productivity, help stimulate more jobs in agriculture, and reduce the number of smaller truck movements on state and council owned roads," Mr Gay said.

    "The Livestock Loading Scheme has enabled the use of safer and more productive freight trucks, helping to reduce 'wear and tear' on local and regional roads.

    "Since March 2013, more than 800 professional livestock carrier drivers have also benefitted from practical driver training courses, which go a long way to improving safety on our roads.

    "Drivers are provided with information on rules for operating under the Scheme as well as learning about how to prevent truck roll-overs by better understanding how the loading of livestock impacts the centre of gravity of a laden vehicle.

    "Feedback from industry and local councils through the independent review has confirmed the positive impact of the Scheme for businesses and regional communities."

    The Livestock Loading Scheme was developed in consultation with meat and livestock industry groups as well as local government. It allows for slightly increased weight limits for livestock trucks contingent on the adoption of additional vehicle standards, safety measures and driver training.

    "Sensible truck weights result in increased levels of freight productivity and fewer truck movements, which in turn means 'less wear and tear' on our roads and highways. To date, 21 regional councils have enrolled in the Scheme," Mr Gay said.

    "The Scheme is yet another example of the NSW Government's commitment to improving freight productivity for the agricultural sector in regional NSW.

    "Since 2011, we've invested almost $1.9 billion in grants to help councils build and repair local roads, including our $43 million Fixing Country Roads initiative.

    "The Scheme has the potential to deliver considerable productivity gains for the entire livestock production sector as well as improving safety, animal welfare and the overall condition of regional roads and highways.

    "The evidence is in for the benefits of broader take-up and it will be our task now to ensure councils are aware of the Scheme's value to regional businesses and economies."

    The Review of the NSW Livestock Loading Scheme summary is available online at 

    Full story here:

  • 21 Aug 2015 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture is the primary agency responsible for policing the exotic animal trade. But other state and federal agencies play a role. 

    Understate law, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources only regulates native species — which cannot be removed from the wild — and several species that have been deemed too “harmful,” including wild and feral swine and bears, according to DNR communications director Jim Dick.

    The agency issues captive wild animal farm licenses to those who wish to keep native wild animals such as skunks, cougars and wolves. The USDA allocates licenses for non-native species.

    Other agencies are responsible for regulating the interstate and international transportation of animals.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcesthe Lacey Act, which prohibits the import and interstate transport of “injurious species” such as Burmese pythons, mongooses and fruit bats, and restricts the transportation of captive-bred big cats, according to Tina Shaw, public affairs specialist for the Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest region.

    The agency also enforces the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits interstate sale and transportation of species listed under the act including the gray wolf, American alligator and whooping crane. However, there are some exemptions for institutions like zoos, which are able to donate and move the species among themselves, Shaw said.

    The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection lists several species — prairie dogs and tree squirrels among them — that may not be imported into Wisconsin because they are known to carry highly contagious diseases.

    In addition, the department requires people transporting an animal across the Wisconsin border  — even a pet dog — to have the animal inspected by a veterinarian, who completes a certificate of veterinary inspection.

    If the animal is a common household pet such as a dog, cat or ferret, the veterinarian makes sure the animal is up to date on all vaccinations. That certificate is then sent to the state veterinarian of the origin state, the destination state and every state that the animal passes through, said Bekah Weitz, a humane officer for Monroe County.

    In theory, the requirement for animal owners to obtain such certificates creates a paper trail to track animals crossing state borders. But Weitz said the illegal, undocumented transportation of animals across state lines happens “more often than we’d like to admit.”

    “I can pretty much guarantee that most agencies and most individuals don't (obtain certificates),” Weitz said. “I mean, when I take my dog on vacation to Michigan I don't do that.”

    She added, “I think there's probably a lot more transportation of animals, exotic or otherwise, than we have any idea of, and being that Wisconsin is a state where there is no regulation for the keeping of exotics, I would imagine that it's probably ... pretty attractive to certain people.”

    Full story here:

  • 21 Aug 2015 4:09 PM | Anonymous

    The French Ministry of Agriculture has consulted the industry stakeholders: ranchers, veterinarians, as well as non-profit organizations.

    France noted axial guidance in animal welfare to 2020. Although animal welfare is already strongly regulated by both the European Union and the French Legislations, the French Agriculture Ministry has gone one step further by issuing an ambitious strategy for animal welfare, considering that it is an essential component of sustainability in agriculture.

    This five-year strategy has been developed with the aim of better integrating the issue of animal welfare into agricultural practices. To this end, the French Ministry of Agriculture has consulted the industry stakeholders: ranchers, veterinarians as well as non-profit organizations.

    The different objectives of the 2015-2020 Animal Welfare Strategy:

    To develop and share knowledge while stimulating innovation. A National Reference Centre will coordinate research and develop a technical expertise on the subject.

    To involve stakeholders at all levels of the strategy; especially ranchers, veterinarians as well as employees of animal transport companies, and slaughterhouses

    To pursue the efforts towards more humane practices at every stage of animal production: during farming, transportation and at the slaughterhouse

    To prevent and address animal abuse

    To communicate on the progress of the program

    Better understanding of animal behaviors and enhanced estimations of non-specific risk factors in animal health became integrated to the conception of farm buildings. More specifically when new barns are built, the geographical exposure takes into account the climate and the dominant winds considering the fact that the cattle can’t bear airstreams. Moreover, a natural air flow is set up above the animals in order to renew the air and avoid the condensation of water on the animals– thus reducing the risk of respiratory diseases. Natural light also is a critical factor to animal well-being and is provided to animals thanks to transparent materials and skylights. Not only is this practice good for the animal’s comfort, but long photoperiods also improve reproductive functions and milk production.

    In addition to “on farm practices”, good practices in specialized animal transportation and at the slaughterhouses have been developed for cattle. “ The on-going efforts that are being led by the different agricultural sectors are consistent with the French Strategy for Animal Welfare 2015-2020 that will provide a back up to these actions.

    Full story here:

  • 21 Aug 2015 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” This phrase describes the mission of nonprofit Wings of Rescue.

    Founded six years ago by Yehuda Netanel, a general aviation pilot residing in Malibu’s Monte Nido neighborhood, the organization takes dogs and cats in imminent danger of being euthanized in high-kill, overcrowded animal shelters in the L.A. area and transports them by private plane to Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana, where there are shortages of pets available for adoption. 

    The organization now has 31 pilots that volunteer their own time and airplanes to provide regular transportation of animals to facilities outside of L.A. They have also begun picking up animals from the Bakersfield area, as well as South Carolina, and have taken them as far away as New York and Canada. As of last week, the group had rescued a total of 13,843 animals. Wings of Rescue has a network of 29 receiving shelters and 26 sending shelters that they work with to coordinate their transports. 

    A PBS documentary, “Shelter Me: New Beginnings,” portrayed a special Wings of Rescue transport that took place about four months ago, flying 128 dogs from L.A County Baldwin Park Animal Shelter to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on nine private planes that took off from Long Beach Airport.

    Many of the selected dogs had to be spayed or neutered, groomed, photographed and microchipped in the days leading up to the trip. On the day of the flight, they were rousted from their cages beginning at 4 a.m. by volunteers, walked, put into travel crates with labels and photos, lined up, and put into transport vans by 7:30 a.m.

    Once at the airport, the dogs had to be loaded onto one of nine planes for the three-hour flight. Upon arrival in Idaho, a team of nearly 100 volunteers met the planes on the tarmac, took the dogs off the planes and out of their crates, and walked them on leashes to representatives of the proper receiving shelter. A dog “parade” and adoption events took place right on the airport grounds, with many of the dogs being adopted right on the spot. 

    Within two weeks, every dog had found a new family. 

    Debbie Jeffrey, director of the Kootenai Humane Society — one of the Idaho receiving shelters — said in a phone interview with The Malibu Times that Wings of Rescue has brought them 1,500 animals so far. “The majority of what we get is small dogs because we don’t have many of them here,” she said. “Just last Friday, we had another flight, and all 16 of them were adopted by the time we got through processing. We’ll keep taking them as long as they want to bring them.” She lets local people know about incoming transports through social media and Facebook. 

    It’s a very happy ending — all of the dogs that had been not been adopted and headed for euthanasia in the crowded shelters of L.A. found a new home and a new life in the country atmosphere of Idaho. And the story repeats itself over and over again with every flight made by Wings of Rescue.

    Netanel said his organization provides the link between having too many dogs and cats in one place and not enough to go around in other parts of the country.

    “Air transport is being used to bridge the long distances,” he said. “I became aware of how dogs get euthanized routinely after just two or three days in a shelter. And we as volunteer pilots in the general aviation world can do something quite meaningful about it.”

    Unfortunately, the flagship plane crashed on a test flight several months ago, and its absence is compromising Wings of Rescue’s goal of rescuing 7,000 animals in 2015.

    “We’re still feeling the aftermath of this devastating loss, and we need the community’s support to continue our mission of airlifting shelter pets to their new homes,” Netanel shared. “We’re looking to purchase a plane that will make it possible to save an additional 100,000 shelter pets during its lifespan.” 

    He encourages any pilot with access to a cabin-class turboprop or corporate jet to join the volunteer air corps.

    “The rescue flights are easy and fun, the logistics are handled by volunteers, the cost is tax deductible, and the satisfaction is immense,” he said.

    Netanel hopes to buy a pre-owned Pilatus PC-12 pressurized turboprop plane for approximately $2 million, and will personally donate the $1 million insurance payout from the previous plane to kick-off the fundraising challenge.

    Full story here:

  • 21 Aug 2015 4:03 PM | Anonymous

    Helen Hester spent the months after Hurricane Katrina sitting in front of a cage, reading the newspaper to a dog named Chaz.

    He'd been wandering the streets, and it wasn't safe for anyone to interact with him. Hester was determined to get him used to people again. She went to the New Orleans SPCA shelter every day, sat right in front of his cage, and read.

    "He didn't remember that humans were his friends," she said.

    She would read The New York Times and sometimes The New Orleans Times Picayune. She mostly read about the storm and the recovery, but sometimes, just for something lighter, she'd read him the arts section too.

    Chaz was in the crate for months. The SPCA had lost its building in the storm so the shelter was housed in a coffee warehouse with no running water and no air conditioning. There were tarps on the roof but it still leaked. Hundreds of rescued dogs came in every day.

    "I remember just being amazed at the commitment and dedication of the staff and the volunteers that were there around the clock," said Ana Zorrilla, CEO of the New Orleans SPCA. "[They were] just doing everything they possibly could to make the animals comfortable and to help them get over the stress. "

    As time wore on, the dogs around Chaz were adopted, but he was continually passed over because he still seemed too aggressive. Hester kept hoping his real family would come back for him.

    No one was sure where Chaz had come from, but he'd been found in one of the most flooded neighborhoods.

    About 1.2 million people were evacuated from the New Orleans region before the hurricane hit. Those evacuated were told they couldn't bring their pets.

    After the storm, the New Orleans SPCA embarked on the largest animal rescue operation ever seen in the U.S. Volunteers took rowboats to the flooded streets, picking dogs off the roofs and cats out of the water. It's estimated 15,000 pets were rescued.

    But nearly 90,000 New Orleans-area pets have never been accounted for, and some reports estimate that 600,000 animals died or were left without shelter as a result of the hurricane.

    The rescued animals were kept in crates. If they had become too wild, like Chaz, they went into a special area, called the "rehab tent."

    The packs of dogs running through New Orleans after the storm, and the news reports of heartbroken owners searching for their animals, garnered national attention.

    In 2006, the Senate passed the the Pet Evacuation & Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which authorizes FEMA to rescue, shelter and care for people with pets and service animals. This could save not only the lives of pets, but people too -- about 44% of the 100,000 who did not evacuate stayed because they didn't want to leave their pets behind, according to a report by the Fritz Institute.

    Chaz's owner never came to claim him. Once Hester knew he wasn't going to be claimed or adopted, she had to make a decision. The shelter was only getting more crowded, and some animals had to be euthanized.

    "Gradually it came to me that his real family had found him, and it was myself," Hester said. Now together for ten years, and she says he's a loving dog who still gets terrified during thunderstorms.

    Hester, who was a cat person before Katrina, now has three dogs, including Chaz.

    She also has a van -- just in case.

    "I can fit both the cats and the dogs in there safely," she said. "And maybe a neighbor or two." 

    Full story here:

  • 14 Aug 2015 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    When moved to the weaning facility, one of the first things a pig should do is look for water and take a drink. Unfortunately, the stress of movement, new surroundings and new penmates can delay adequate hydration. Without prevention or support, this dehydration can delay performance and cause significant setbacks in young pigs.

    Dan McManus, DVM, swine specialist for Purina Animal Nutrition, points to dehydration as one of the largest challenges young pigs face at weaning. A lack of water consumption is clear when looking at the numbers. In fact, estimates show only 51 percent of newly weaned pigs consume water in the first 25 hours post-weaning.

    "The young pig is made up of about 70 percent water, so keeping him hydrated is very important in getting him started," McManus says. "At weaning, we need to do everything we can to get pigs drinking and eating."

    "Feed intake the first few days post-weaning is highly correlated to water intake," he adds. "The faster we get them eating and drinking, the better the performance is going to be in that first 40 days postweaning - and beyond."

    Following are three tips to help keep pigs hydrated pre- and post-weaning to set the stage for a successful finish.

    Provide adequate water space and flow.

    A target water consumption for weaned pigs is 0.3 gallons of water per pound of feed consumed, equating to 0.7 gallons of water per day throughout the weaning period. To allow pigs adequate access to water, provide one waterer for every 10 pigs.

    Test the water quality, temperature and flow rate prior to introducing pigs to the facility.

    "We need to provide plenty of water space and plenty of water availability," McManus says. "I like to see a flow rate of about 1 pint per minute through the waterers in the nursery and grow phase and about 1 quart per minute in the finishing phase."

    Provide support at weaning.

    Due to new surroundings, penmates and transport, stressed pigs will often drink low amounts of water during the weaning transition. Hydration support can help minimize the stress by providing essential nutrients and lessen performance lag during the transition.

    Before the transition, add electrolytes to the waterers through a water medicator. To help transition onto solid feed, provide gel and highly-palatable starter feeds both pre- and post-weaning.

    "Electrolyte solutions and gel can help keep pigs hydrated and performing well in that first week postweaning," McManus says. "Look for a product that provides sodium, chloride, magnesium, vitamins and pH acidifiers. These nutrients help balance the gut and keep the pig drinking and eating."

    The added nutrients and palatability of electrolytes have proven effective. In a study evaluating the first three days post-weaning, early weaned pigs drank four times more water with electrolytes (3.748 L/pig/24h) compared to untreated tap water (836 mL/pig/24h).[3] Similarly, feeding gel has led to higher feed consumption the first 4-7 days post-weaning.

    "I typically encourage producers to provide electrolytes to pigs the first 5-7 days after weaning and during times of stress; and to mat-feed gel two days pre-weaning and five days post-weaning," McManus says. "This early hydration is critical in creating eaters and promoting long-term performance."

    Provide support through challenges.

    Dehydration is also likely during health challenges or other times of stress. Critical times in the pig production cycle include: transport, disease and vaccination.

    "A sign of stress in pigs is diarrhea. If a pig has diarrhea, he's losing electrolytes and the water balance in the pigs can reach critical levels. This imbalance can damage the villi in the pig's digestive tract, resulting in decreased nutrient absorption long-term."

    "I've had really good luck with gel and electrolytes when pigs have diarrhea, because of the added nutrients gel and electrolytes provide," McManus says. "These tools are a very good adjunct to help pigs through challenges and help set them up for long-term performance. Through all phases, hydration is critical." 

    Full story here:

  • 14 Aug 2015 3:59 PM | Anonymous

    China has ratified an export agreement which gives unprecedented market access to the Australian live cattle industry.

    Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says China's signature on the cattle health protocol agreement takes Australia a step closer to the first shipment of Australian export feeder and slaughter cattle into China.

    Mr Joyce said the exporters would now need to ensure all animal welfare standards under the ESCAS system were in order.

    He said the first trial shipment of cattle from Australia to China would go by air.

    "This is a process that allows you to basically test the supply chain, and it allows for immediate transport in one day," he said.

    "I think we'll see more of this in the future.

    "It won't be the norm. It will be a very small part of the market, but it's a vital part of the market."

    The Australian Government believes the Chinese market for live cattle can eventually become as big as the largest current market, Indonesia.

    Full story here:

  • 14 Aug 2015 3:57 PM | Anonymous

    Heat and humidity place an added burden on horses during training, competition, and transportation. Especially during the busy summer travel and show season, it’s important to make sure your horse is not becoming overheated, stays sufficiently hydrated, and remains comfortable, even when temperatures soar.

    “Horses are better equipped to work in cold weather than in the heat,” said Katie Young, PhD, equine nutritionist and manager equine technical services for Purina Animal Nutrition. “They build up a tremendous amount of body heat as a result of fiber digestion and muscle exertion, plus insulation from their haircoats and body fat, and hot, humid weather can make heat dissipation extremely difficult.”

    Young and Karen Davison, PhD, equine nutritionist and sales support manager, shared the following tips for horse owners to help ensure a healthy summer season.

    1. Head off heat stress. A horse’s main cooling mechanism is evaporation of sweat from the skin surface. Increased humidity reduces this evaporation, decreasing the horse’s ability to cool down. Under extreme heat, especially with high humidity, the body’s cooling mechanisms might not work well enough to dissipate the heat generated. This can lead to heat stress, which is hard on the body and can impair performance.

    A simple calculation can help you determine your horse’s risk level for heat stress. Take the ambient temperature (measured in degrees Fahrenheit), add the relative humidity (%), and subtract the wind speed (miles per hour, or mph). So, if the ambient temperature is 98° F with a 55% relative humidity and wind speed of 5 mph (98 + 55 – 5), you’re left with the number 148. This value represents your horse’s risk of heat stress:

        130 or less: The horse’s own cooling mechanisms should work effectively.

        140 to 170: The horse has partial cooling capacity and might need some assistance cooling down.

        Higher than 180: The horse is at high risk for heat stress or stroke.

    2. Don’t hesitate to hydrate. Sweat generated during work robs the body of large amounts of fluids and important nutrients that must be replenished. So it’s very important to provide adequate clean water to help horses stay hydrated. In some situations, such as travel, it can be hard to persuade your horse to drink enough water. Compressed hay blocks soaked in water can be very helpful in these situations, as a horse will sometimes eat a hay block with water even when he turns up his nose at a bucket of water.

    3. Amp up electrolytes. Electrolytes are electrically charged mineral salts that play a major role in water balance and are integral to nerve and muscle function. An electrolyte imbalance can lead to heart problems, digestive dysfunction, muscle cramps, and nervousness. The primary electrolytes lost in a horse’s sweat are sodium, potassium, and chloride.

    Horses working at light to moderate levels will generally receive adequate electrolytes from a nutritionally balanced feed, good quality hay, and a salt block or a couple of ounces of loose salt each day. Even if these horses are sweating a bit, a good diet (including free choice or top-dressed salt) along with plenty of clean water is usually adequate to replenish the electrolytes lost in sweat. However, if your horse works very hard in hot, humid climates, and sweats a great deal, he will likely need additional electrolyte supplementation.

    4. Evaluate the environment. Pay attention to environmental conditions and try to avoid working your horse when the risk of heat stress is high. Be sure to provide adequate water for hydration and electrolytes to replenish sweat loss. Try to work in the shade, turn on some fans, and use cold water to wash down your hot horse.

    Summer is great time to enjoy and bond with your horse! Just remember to help him beat the heat through these late summer months by giving him the care and attention he deserves.

    Full story here:

  • 14 Aug 2015 3:54 PM | Anonymous

    Qatar Airways Cargo added a 747-400BCF heavy cargo aircraft to its fleet, completing its first chartered-service flight from Doha to Hong Kong. The aircraft will be used for the charter transport of oversized freight, using both belly freight and maindeck cargo capacity, with 39 ULD positions.

    The pressurized cargo cabin of the freighter will allow Qatar to carry livestock and horses. The cargo hold can also maintain a temperature range from 4° to 30°C for sensitive perishables. Other likely cargo will include heavy machinery, oversized equipment, oil and gas industry machinery, and humanitarian aid. The aircraft is capable of long-haul cargo flights of up to 10 hours.

    Use of the -400BCF will be brief, however. Qatar said it will take delivery of another 747-400F with a nose-loading door in October, to replace the existing 747-400BCF for charter operations. The airline committed to an additional four 777Fs at the Paris Air Show in June, expanding its fleet to eight 777Fs and two A330Fs.

    Full story here:

  • 14 Aug 2015 3:49 PM | Anonymous

    Prison guards in Costa Rica caught a pigeon with a bag of drugs attached to its chest in a bizarre attempt to smuggle drugs to inmates.

    Officers at La Reforma prison captured it with 14g of cocaine and 14g of cannabis stuffed into a black pouch which camouflaged against its dark feathers.

    They have previously caught other animals such as cats and iguanas trying to transport drugs into the prison in San Rafael de Alajuela, local websites have reported.

    The guards spotted the bird on Tuesday afternoon as it flew towards an open area of the medium security La Reforma prison, Teletica reported.

    Prison director Paul Bertozzi said: 'They observed the bulge on the animal so they captured it and confirmed that it carried a bag with zipper - and the drugs were inside... It seems the dove was trained for it.'

    The pigeon was examined by experts at the ZooAve Animal Rescue Centre who said the bag it was carrying caused some damage to its digestive system. 

    Reports from Costa Rica suggest it will be kept in quarantine for at least 40 days because they believe it will return to where it came from if they release it.  

    The head of the centre was 'stunned' by the incident and said it would be well looked after at the centre. 

    The prison is now investigating who was responsible for the drug-smuggling attempt. 

    Paul Bertozzi added: 'We have a warning that this method can be used again as it is not the first time in the history of La Reforma that a pigeon was detected with drugs.'

    Read more:

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