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  • 05 Dec 2014 4:03 PM | Deleted user
    Discussing food safety in Lebanon is pointless without the adoption of proper legislation, particularly the animal protection bill recently submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture to the Council of Ministers, which will later be voted on by parliament, if approved.

    In conjunction with the current food safety campaign, Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb referred the Animal Protection and Welfare Bill to the Council of Ministers, three years after it was first submitted by Animals Lebanon and undergoing thorough review by a committee charged by the ministry to present remarks and recommendations.

    The bill ultimately aims to establish a comprehensive system aimed at protecting animals and ensuring their welfare, while limiting cases during which it is allowed to inflict pain or subject them to danger or torture. The bill sets in place general guidelines regarding the treatment of animals, regulates the establishments that use animals, and punishes violators in compliance with international conventions, mainly the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the recommendations issued by the World Organization for Animal Health.

    Lebanon currently lacks legislation to provide legal protection for animals, except for a small number of articles mentioned in the penal code and provisions stipulated in a legislative decree pertaining to sites classified as hazardous, dangerous to public health or causing a nuisance, and in other resolutions issued decades ago that no longer apply to the current situation on the ground.

    In fact, the Animal Protection Law is an integral part of a comprehensive legislative initiative aimed at guaranteeing food safety, whether through the food safety law or other legislative and administrative resolutions issued by local municipalities or governorates. The law creates criteria that the establishments subjected to this law, such as farms and slaughterhouses, have to meet, which include suitable heating, lighting, ventilation and humidity equipment, in addition to committing to safety, preserving public peace, hygiene, and other environmental conditions, using the adequate infrastructure to provide animals with food and water, and establishing a quarantine for sick and injured animals in order to prevent the spread of diseases.

    The bill also includes an article regulating animal transport, which calls for complying with IATA regulations during live animal aerial shipments, and complying with the recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health when transporting animals by sea or land, in addition to using the most appropriate means of loading and unloading, transportation and providing veterinary procedures during import, export, and transit.

    “Animals are tossed around brutally with their feet, heads, horns, and ears tied up, and then slaughtered in an incorrect manner … these things are happening right now in Lebanon and they should stop for good.” – Jason Mier, Animals Lebanon executive director Chapter four of the bill sets in place regulations regarding breeding of animals and animal use in work, and regulates livestock slaughter which should be restricted to licensed slaughterhouses and establishments. A regulatory decree is to be issued to determine technical and health conditions in slaughterhouses and establishments that are equipped to slaughter farm animals.
    In his referral letter to the Council of Ministers, Chehayeb said the bill would give the Ministry of Agriculture broad powers to implement these regulations that are in compliance with international conventions. He also mentioned the proper ways to stop violations, seize animals, shut down establishments, and escalate sanctions so they fit with the nature of the violations.

    Chehayeb stressed the need for cooperation between his ministry and the private sector in order to implement the law, and hoped that concerned ministries would present their remarks soon for the Council of Ministers to approve the bill and refer it to parliament.

    Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Jason Mier, the executive director of Animals Lebanon, said this draft law is the result of years of hard work, and called for the bill to become law as soon as possible for the sake of people’s health and the safety of their food, since it constitutes a major shift in the modus operandi of slaughterhouses, farms and other establishments that deal with animals, particularly in the light of documented video footage showing livestock slaughters that disregarded the minimum recommendations by the World Organization for Animal Health.

    The constitution of the World Organization for Animal Health sets precautionary measures regarding the import and export of meat and live animals meant for slaughter. It stipulates that the beef should be derived from cattle less than 30 months of age, free from all symptoms of infectious diseases, and having undergone a test for mad-cow disease.
    “Animals are tossed around brutally with their feet, heads, horns, and ears tied up, and then slaughtered in an incorrect manner,” Meir said, adding “these things are happening right now in Lebanon and they should stop for good.”

    Full Story here:

  • 05 Dec 2014 4:00 PM | Deleted user
    When US Airways passenger Robert Phelps first saw the woman coming down the aisle of the plane, he thought she had a "really big dog" or a stuffed animal thrown over her shoulder.

    It was about 6:10 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving, and Phelps was waiting to take off from Connecticut's Bradley International Airport for Washington. He thought it could be a service animal, but service animals are usually in crates, he thought to himself.

    As she got closer, there was no denying that the woman was carrying a big brown pig, perhaps between 70 and 80 pounds, Phelps said.

    "Everybody was trying to surmise what it could be, because no one thought it was a pig," he said. "Other than a Fellini movie, where would you see a person with a pig?"

    The passenger was allowed to bring the pig on board as an "emotional support animal" under Department of Transportation guidelines, a US Airways spokeswoman said.

    Apparently, it was not meant to be. Before the plane took off, the passenger and her pig were kicked for being "disruptive," spokeswoman Laura Masvidal said.

    How disruptive? Fellow passengers told the Hartford Courant that the big brown pig stank up the cabin of the tiny D.C.-bound aircraft and defecated in the aisle.

    Phelps watched in amusement and horror as the pig began "dropping things" in the aisle while his owner stowed her belongings. When she tied him to the armrest and tried to clean up after him, he began to howl.

    "She was talking to it like a person, saying it was being a jerk," he said. "I have no problems with babies, but this pig was letting out a howl."

    A flight attendant asked her to move to the front of the plane, and eventually she left, he said. He took a photo of her as she walked past him.

    "I understand dogs and cats on planes. They come in crates, but this was way too big, and it had no container," he said. "It looked heavy. It was not a tiny, cute little pig."

    Why was the animal allowed on the plane to begin with? People have been bringing "emotional support animals" on planes in increasing numbers in recent years, as well as to restaurants, museums and stores.

    In 2003, the Department of Transportation updated its policy regarding animals in air transportation (PDF) to say that "animals that assist persons with disabilities by providing emotional support" qualify as service animals.

    It's up to airline personnel to determine whether an animal is a service animal. They can do so by seeking "credible verbal assurances"; looking for physical indicators on the animal, such as a backup or identification tag; or requesting documentation for service animals.

    When it comes to emotional support animals, airlines may require supporting documentation from a mental health professional. The documentation should state that the passenger has a mental health-related disability and that "having the animal accompany the passenger is necessary to the passenger's mental health or treatment or to assist the passenger."

    It is not clear whether the passenger on Wednesday's flight provided such documentation.

    Full Story Here:

  • 28 Nov 2014 11:16 AM | Deleted user
    Farmers in a restricted zone around an East Yorkshire farm hit by bird flu will be allowed to move their animals.

    Transportation of livestock and eggs was banned following the outbreak at Nafferton on Monday.

    The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it would grant licences for movements out of the 10km (six-mile) surveillance zone under "certain conditions".

    Thousands of birds have been culled to prevent the outbreak spreading.

    The strain of avian influenza has been indentified as as H5N8, the same type seen in recent outbreaks in Europe.

    'Disease control'
    In statement, Defra said: "The advice from the chief medical officer and Public Health England remains that the risk to public health is very low.

    "The Food Standards Agency have said there is no food safety risk for consumers."

    Defra's Animal and Plant Health Agency said licences for animal transport would be granted on a case-by-case basis and each would be "be subject to certain conditions based on disease control risk".

    The licences would cover the movement of animals to slaughter and allow eggs to be taken to packing centres or to hatcheries.

    Read more:

  • 28 Nov 2014 11:11 AM | Deleted user

    The count of recovered cold-stunned turtles was more than 500 on Friday, well past the 2012 record of 413.

    WELLFLEET – Seated on the hard concrete floor of the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary’s maintenance barn, veterinarian Kelly Sattman lifted turtle No. 491 to eye level.

    She pressed a small speaker that looked like an old transistor radio up to one ear while holding a sensor to the turtle’s neck.

    Sattman tried to parse out the heartbeat from the white noise crackling from the speaker, and the roar of a heater struggling to keep the barn, set up as a turtle triage center on Friday, at 55 degrees.

    “Any time buddy,” she urged. “Show them that you’re living.”

    The count of recovered cold-stunned turtles was 520 on Friday, well past the 2012 record of 413. With survival rates at 80 percent, the sheer numbers of this year’s strandings taxed Audubon sanctuary staff and volunteers and overwhelmed the capacity of the New England Aquarium’s Quincy Animal Care Center, which can handle 70 turtles comfortably, and 120 in a pinch.

    On Thursday, the aquarium was able to transport 20 turtles from Quincy to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay and another 31 were flown to a turtle rehab hospital in Georgia and to the South Carolina Aquarium. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries staff were also working to arrange air transport for those animals that had been stabilized.

    The Quincy facility took 70 Friday, but with hundreds sitting in crates awaiting transport and treatment, the aquarium sent veterinarian Leslie Neville to Wellfleet Friday to begin treatment.

    The metabolism of hypothermic sea turtles can be so depressed that their heartbeat slows to as low as one beat per hour.

    It can be hard to tell the dead from the living, but No. 491, a 5-pound Kemp’s ridley taken off Cold Storage Beach in Truro on Thursday, had a heart that was virtually racing at 12 beats per minute. He, or she, (it’s hard to tell the sex of juveniles) was returned to a towel-lined banana crate, then loaded into volunteer driver Dave Horton’s car for the trip to Quincy.

    Cotuit artist Anne Boucher had just delivered a painting to Provincetown on Tuesday when she heard about the turtle strandings and decided she’d stop by the Wellfleet Audubon sanctuary to help out. She never left, renting a room at an Eastham hotel, walking beaches from Wellfleet to Provincetown day and night. Friday morning, she pulled up at the front door of the sanctuary with a car filled with 17 turtles on front and back seats and in the trunk.

    “When I was just on the beach, I was aware that if I stayed another 10 minutes there would probably be 10 more turtles,” Boucher said.

    By the late afternoon, aquarium and Audubon staffs were setting up kiddie pools, filling them with water to rehydrate and gradually warm up the turtles. Sattman and Neville recorded statistics like heartbeat and weight that would help speed the process when the turtles reached Quincy.

    At Sattman’s feet was a cardboard box of the not-so-fortunate sea turtles that had died. They were awaiting transport to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where they would eventually be necropsied to study what factors may have contributed to their demise.

    Unfortunately, the 278-pound loggerhead that was recovered off Cole Road Beach in Eastham Thursday died at the Quincy facility. It was the largest loggerhead to ever come ashore during one of these stranding events.

    Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said it was likely there were some underlying issues - disease, a gastric blockage due to plastic, or something else other than the cold that contributed to this huge animal washing up. Its vital signs were viable, he said.

    “We’ll do a necropsy at a later time,” LaCasse said.

    Read more:

  • 28 Nov 2014 11:10 AM | Deleted user
    BOSTON - The U.S. Coast Guard said on Monday it would transport 193 endangered sea turtles by plane from Massachusetts to Florida after they got trapped in frigid waters off Cape Cod.

    The rare Kemp's Ridley turtles are being treated for shock at a New England Aquarium animal care center in Quincy, 9 miles south of Boston, after being rescued by the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in recent days.

    "A Coast Guard HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircrew will transport the turtles to Orlando, Florida, where they will go to several rehabilitation facilities before being released back into the wild," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

    The flight is scheduled for Tuesday.

    Kemp's Ridley sea turtles spend the warmer months in Cape Cod waters and migrate south for the winter. But some turtles get trapped by the hook shape of Cape Cod on their voyage south, and become hypothermic once water temperatures drop.

    Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary officials said it found 148 of the cold-stunned turtles on Nov. 19, the largest number it had processed in a single day in its more than 30 years of rescuing sea turtles.

    Read more:

  • 28 Nov 2014 11:08 AM | Deleted user
    Patna, Nov 25 (IANS): The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in Bihar has confiscated 1,410 animals and arrested 70 people along the India-Nepal border ahead of the ritual involving animal sacrifice in Nepal's Gadhimai festival later this week, police Tuesday said.

    Additional Director General of Police (SSB) S.K. Singhal of frontier headquarters here told IANS over telephone that so far 1,410 animals have been confiscated and 70 people arrested in this connection.

    "We are trying our best to prevent illegal transportation of animals to Nepal from Bihar along the India-Nepal border," Singhal said.

    He said all the border outposts' personnel were put on alert, and he had asked to sensitise the troopers on the movement of people and animals.

    Additional Director General of Bihar Police (headquarters) Gupteshwar Pandey here said the state police are not only helping the SSB along the India-Nepal border to seize the animals being smuggled out, but also making all efforts to check their transport into Nepal before the festival.

    Border checks have been increased in response to the Supreme Court's directive, asking animal protection groups to devise an action plan to ensure its order against animal sacrifice is implemented.

    Navamita Mukherjee of animal protection group Human Society International, India, said that security forces, mainly the SSB, have seized 2,422 animals till date in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttarakhand so far.

    The largest animal slaughter in the world takes place in the Gadhimai festival. It takes place every five years and 70 percent of the animals sacrificed come from India.

    The festival starts Sunday, with the sacrifice scheduled for Nov 28-29.

    Read more:

  • 28 Nov 2014 11:06 AM | Deleted user
    (Reuters) - Agriculture has helped make the Netherlands rich, but experts warn that the density of farms and the increasing number of animals in one of the most intensive agricultural sectors in the world make it vulnerable to diseases.

    The discovery last Sunday of a highly infectious strain of bird flu at a Dutch farm forced officials to impose a three-day lockdown on the transport of all poultry and related products.

    But the transport freeze, which cost the industry 100 million euros ($120 million), did not stop the discovery of similar or identical strains at two nearby farms, forcing the already expensive halt to be extended to a full week.

    "When there is a disease in the Netherlands, which is the country in the world where the concentration of farms is the highest, be it for poultry or pigs, it hurts," said Bernard Vallat, head of the World Organization for Animal Health.

    "The Netherlands are really vulnerable because of this density (of farms)," he told Reuters.

    Dutch agriculture defends its practices, with the poultry industry pointing out it has invested hugely in hygiene since the last bird flu epidemic 11 years ago.

    While the industry has become an incredible source of wealth -- agriculture amounted for 16 percent of 2013 exports -- efficiency has come at a cost. Experts said having so many farms and animals packed together has made the system highly vulnerable to disease.

    The farming industry runs at a rate that even the transport lockdown could not stop. In three days, around 7.5 million chicks hatched in incubation warehouses with nowhere to go.

    The latest infection of bird flu -- the ninth animal epidemic in the Netherlands in less than 20 years -- has already forced the culling of more than 200,000 birds.

    "It's this most amazing logistical system," said Clemens Driessen, a bioethicist at Wageningen University, a leading agricultural research center. "But as soon as you say you can no longer transport the animals, it all starts to unravel."

    Since 1997, 40 million hens, cows, goats, pigs and sheep have been slaughtered to contain outbreaks including swine flu, foot-and-mouth and "mad cow" disease.

    The Netherlands is the world's second largest agricultural exporter after the United States, selling more than 79 billion euros ($98 billion) worth of goods abroad last year. It is the world's leading egg exporter and largest supplier of poultry meat in the European Union.


    High-intensity farms house millions of animals -- 103 million chickens, 12 million pigs, 4 million cows and millions more sheep, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and goats.

    New technology has brought massive strides in productivity, with advances in the vast warehousing systems that hatch, feed, and water broiler chickens.

    The average number of hens per hatchery has doubled in 13 years, according to Statistics Netherlands, while the cow population has risen by a half to 1.5 million. There are now 83 cows per farm, up from 51 in 2000.

    The country's pig population, at 12 million, has changed little from 13 years ago, but the average number of pigs per farm has almost doubled to 2,200.

    The density is at its highest in the south east of the country, where at least 20 million chickens are found in a district called De Peel.

    Animal welfare groups say conditions go beyond being morally objectionable and that the farming practice has become an incubator for disease.

    "The intensive conditions in factory farming provide a pressure cooker in which diseases like avian flu can spread very easily and can also evolve very easily," said Geert Laugs, Netherlands director at pressure group Compassion in World Farming.

    Geert Jan Oplaat, president of the Poultry Farmers' Association, disagreed.

    "A chicken is seven times more at risk of flu if it goes outside," said Oplaat. "It's almost irresponsible to keep chickens outside during a high flu-risk period."

    But unease is also reflected in the shopping -- and voting -- habits of the Dutch. The Netherlands in 2006 elected the first animal rights party in the world into parliament.

    Party for the Animals leader Marianne Thieme has no doubt that the treatment of farm animals helped win her party the 120,000 votes needed to win its two seats.

    "You have an industry focused on keeping the costs as low as possible, giving as little feed as possible," she told Reuters. "We don’t see animals as animals any more but as products."

    Demand is also increasing for meat from free range farms, with Albert Hein, the country’s largest supermarket, and its competitors advertising more organic produce.

    "We've been waiting for this," said Hanneke van Ormondt of animal rights group Wakker Dier. "We've been saying for ever there's too many animals in the Netherlands, too much transportation, too big a scale."

    (Additional reporting by Sybille de la Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Giles Elgood)

    Read more:

  • 28 Nov 2014 11:04 AM | Deleted user
    Minister of Agriculture Michelle O’Neill has warned of the risks attached to buying illegally imported dogs.

    The Minister pointed out that illegally imported dogs increase the potential for serious diseases such as rabies or Echinococcus tapeworm to enter the country.

    The north of Ireland is free from these diseases and has strict importation controls for all animals including pets.

    Minister O’Neill highlighted the Department of Agriculture’s detailed guidance and information on the requirements for pet animals being brought into the north from countries outside Britain. This is available on the DARD website.

    The illegal activity of puppy smuggling is described in the Dogs Trust report ‘The Puppy Smuggling Scandal: An investigation into the illegal entry of dogs into the GB under the Pet Travel Scheme’.

    The report highlights in particular the smuggling of puppies with falsified passport documentation from Eastern Europe into Britain.

    The Minister said, “While the north of Ireland does not have the same direct transport links with the continent as Britain, my Department will take action to control any illegal activity that is identified.

    “DARD is currently liaising with Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) officials who are following this up with the Lithuanian and Hungarian authorities.”

    She added, “My Department has issued guidance for anyone considering buying a dog and the public can help stamp out the illegal puppy trade by sourcing pups from reputable breeders.

    “Dogs should be bought from a known breeder or source. The public should be vigilant when buying a dog that has been advertised in the media and if the dog was born outside of the north of Ireland or Britain it must have a pet passport and/or veterinary certificate.”

    Read more:

  • 28 Nov 2014 11:01 AM | Deleted user
    Construction is expected to begin in December for a mobile pet shelter scheduled to be in use by the 2015 hurricane season.

    "The evacuation, transportation and sheltering of household pets during disasters has become necessary as a lifesaving measure. What we have experienced in the past are victims who have refused assistance unless their pets were accommodated," Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said.

    The state agriculture department is designated by the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act to evacuate, transport and shelter household pets during declared emergencies.

    A $40,000 donation was made by the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), Dr. Walter J. Ernst, Jr. Veterinary Memorial Foundation and Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA) to help fund a project to develop a mobile pet sheltering system.

    LDAF's household pet plan includes 48-53 foot transport trucks with assembled pet cages and staff to assist parishes with the evacuation, transportation and sheltering of evacuees' pets.

    The LDAF's current pet sheltering plan can accommodate thousands of pets at mega pet shelters. The new mobile pet shelter unit will also be used in search and rescue missions and will be available, upon request, to other states during a disaster.

    The project includes a tractor trailer that will have a 60 pet capacity. It will be equipped with metal cages, feed, water bowls and a wash down system. It will have an air ventilation system to provide proper air circulation and temperature for the pets.

    The total cost of the project is approximately $80,000. The LDAF will provide the additional funding.

    Read more:

  • 21 Nov 2014 5:25 PM | Deleted user
    USDA Animal Care has posted a new factsheet that explains the requirements for individuals seeking to import live dogs into the United States. The factsheet, posted here , is arranged in a simple, question-and-answer format.

    On Aug. 18, 2014, we amended the Animal Welfare Act regulations to restrict the importation of certain live dogs to better ensure the welfare of these animals. This final rule prohibits the importation of dogs, with limited exceptions, from any part of the world into the continental United States or Hawaii for purposes of resale, research or veterinary treatment.

    The final rule went into effect Nov. 17, 2014.

    Read more:

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