• 07 Aug 2015 2:50 PM | Anonymous

    Researchers at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues at Iowa State University and Texas Tech University, have discovered a novel fatigue syndrome affecting feedlot cattle. The syndrome is similar to one affecting the swine industry.

    The researchers' landmark paper, "Description of a novel fatigue syndrome of finished feedlot cattle following transportation," appeared as a special report in the July 15 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

    Co-authors are Dan Thomson, Jones professor of production medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University; Jamie Henningson, a diagnostic pathologist, and Bhupinder Bawa, a former pathology resident, both with the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; Guy Loneragan, professor of food safety and public health at Texas Tech University; and Steve Ensley, a veterinary clinician and toxicologist at Iowa State University.

    "This syndrome has been identified in the swine industry and had not been identified in cattle until our work that started in 2013," Thomson said. "Our landmark paper places an emphasis on cattle stress at the end of the feeding period with items such as heat load, animal size, cattle handling at shipping, time of day of shipping, animal transportation and other issues that could be causing stress of large cattle during the summer time."

    The study was spurred by observations made during summer 2013. Abattoirs throughout the United States reported concerns about slow and difficult-to-move cattle and other mobility problems that developed soon after arrival at the facilities. Affected cattle had various clinical signs, including rapid breathing with an abdominal component to respiration, lameness and reluctance to move. Many of the cattle affected with mobility problems had clinical signs similar to those of pigs with fatigued pig syndrome, a multifactorial condition in which affected pigs become nonambulatory without obvious injury, trauma or disease, and refuse to walk.

    "I think this paper is the first publication of the interaction between beta-agonists and lameness issues in cattle," Ensley said. "The beta-agonists are widely used in cattle and pig feeding and there is very little information about adverse effects. More work needs to be done, but this is a great start."

    Beta-agonists are supplements fed to cattle.

    Part of the pathophysiology points to a metabolic overload of sorts that result in or from respiratory insufficiency and muscle damage, Loneragan said.

    "While we don't know the cause, it appears to be multifactorial in nature, but warrants further investigation," Loneragan said. "It is important to be able to share case reports like the ones described. While it is not always as thorough as a case report of hospitalized animals, these field-based observations are nevertheless of value and under Dr. Thomson's leadership, we were able to dig relatively deeply into these events and provide a report to share with our profession."

    Also described in the manuscript is a problematic condition — possibly an extreme endpoint of the fatigued cattle syndrome – where animals sloughed one or more hooves. 

    "Based on microscopic examination, this appears to be a distinct condition and is likely not laminitis resulting from dietary disturbances," Loneragan said. "It is clear this results in intense pain for the animals. The abattoir companies have decided that events like these are unacceptable, and I applaud their dedication and commitment to protecting the welfare of the animals they depend on for their business and we depend on for food."

    The study concludes it would be imperative for the beef industry and affiliated veterinarians to learn quickly as much as possible about fatigue cattle syndrome so measures can be implemented to prevent the condition, or at least minimize its impact on cattle welfare.

    The study was funded internally.

  • 31 Jul 2015 2:42 PM | Anonymous

    Agricultural lorries and trailers were stopped in south Somerset as part of a joint rural crime operation.

    Officers from Avon and Somerset police worked with Trading Standards, Animal and Plant Health Agency and VOSA to check vehicles and the conditions of animals being transported.

    They also checked drivers had correct paperwork relating to livestock.

    A total of 15 vehicles were pulled in during the morning operation and no concerns were found relating to the health and welfare of any animals being transported.

    But Trading Standards made referrals to their Dorset colleagues for an advisory relating to the length of journey of one Animals Transport Certificate and also for one driver not having the correct authorisation form for animals transportation.

    VOSA made several bans meaning drivers could not leave the site without rectifying the problem or dealing with the issue in a limited period of time.

    They included a bald tyre, faulty mirrors, a trailer handbrake fault, insecure scaffolding and a faulty light bulb on a trailer.

    PC Katy Drabble from the Rural Crime Team said: "We were stopping vehicles yesterday to ensure that large vehicles, carrying a lot of weight - in some cases animals - were road worthy and weren't presenting a danger to themselves or other drivers.

    "We were also working with our partners to check on the condition of the animals and to look for any stolen livestock, as there has been an increase in this area over the past few months."

    She added: "We understand the impact that livestock and equipment theft has on our farming and equestrian community.

    "We will continue to work with our partners and our rural communities to tackle rural crime, ensure the safety of our roads and deal with the issues that local people and businesses are citing as their priorities.

    "We are really grateful to the farmers and drivers who were very patient while we were stopping people and doing the checks."

    Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "Livestock rustling is a concern residents are raising with me and I am delighted that the police have been able to carry out this day of action.

    "Rural crime is already a focus for the police, with a dedicated rural crime team and a rural crime forum.

    "Yesterday's operation highlights the efforts the police are going to tackle this crime, which affects the lives and livelihoods of farmers. I would encourage anyone with any information to contact the police."

    Anyone who would like information or advice regarding vehicle safety or crime prevention tips for securing your home or business, or to join our Farm and Horse Watch schemes should can visit the website or contact local policing teams via the website or by calling 101.

    Full story here:

  • 31 Jul 2015 2:36 PM | Anonymous

    When Melissa Grippin arrives at a festival or celebration with a ZooMobile, she looks forward to teaching those at the event about the creatures inside.

    The ZooMobile is a mobile educational program that brings live animals and zoo education staff and volunteers to parks, libraries, schools, nursing homes and community events. Three vans emblazoned with the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park logo transport zookeepers, trained volunteers and a variety of animals to events around the community.

    ZooMobiles are busiest in the summer, said Grippin, 29, who is the education coordinator at the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park.

    They can be seen at most of the major community events in the summer, including Johnson City’s Carousel Day this past Saturday and the Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally, this Friday through Sunday.

    But fairs are just the start: The ZooMobiles also make stops at summer camps, family events in public places, museum events and many local libraries that are participating in annual free summer reading programs. A ZooMobile has traveled as far away as the Pennsylvania Apple and Cheese Festival in Canton, Pennsylvania.

    There are two forms of ZooMobile presentations — formal and informal, Grippin said.

    For the formal presentations, she or a trained volunteer will give a 30- to 45-minute presentation educating the audience about the animals inside the ZooMobile. Five animals are brought out during the presentation for participants to see and interact with. Topics include animal habitats, misunderstood animals, animal classification and any questions that participants may have.

    “It is so great to see that inquisitive nature come out in people,” she said.

    Informal presentations are often given at community events and festivals, Grippin said. She or one of the volunteers will bring out up to six animals out for participants to ask questions and observe on their own time, over a period of up to three hours.

    Usually only two animals are out at a time, Grippin said, and typically for 15 minutes or less so they don’t get overly stressed.

    “They are definitely our priority,” she said, adding that when they aren’t being presented, the animals are kept in their carriers so they get some down time.

    At high-attendance events, they always ensure the van is not near loud music or speakers that can overstimulate the animals.

    ZooMobile animals also must be rotated throughout the day to make sure they aren’t too stressed by the transport and human interactions. There is a three-hour limit for animals to be out traveling and participating in ZooMobile presentations.

    Visitors to the ZooMobile could see a variety of animals, including an Amazon parrot, several types of snakes, turtles, an opossum, armadillo, skunk and a fennec fox.

    Crowds love the animals that can be touched, such as the reptiles, but they still enjoy getting an up-close look at some of the animals that can only be observed, such as the rescued owls, Grippin said.

    ZooMobile animals must be kept separate from other animals in the zoo to prevent any outside pests or diseases from infecting other animals.

    Zoo Director Steve Contento said the ZooMobile program began in the 1980s as an educational outreach tool to help the community to learn about wildlife. The ZooMobile program was created and sponsored by a Junior League of Binghamton grant in 1982.

    “It started with just one van,” Contento said. “We have come a long way since then.”

    More than 10 docents, or trained volunteers, work with the ZooMobile program. Grippin said some are retired teachers who already have experience with public speaking, but most must be trained to present and work with animals, Grippin said.

    Grippin said many experiences have led to her job as a head of the ZooMobile.

    She said she has an associate’s degree in animal management from Niagara County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior, ecology and conservation from Canisius College in Buffalo. She added that she has participated in many informal international education programs through Canisius that taught her about the best ways of delivering information.

    Many of the animals that go out on the ZooMobile are already domesticated, so they do not require much additional training to be coaxed into crates and transported to events. She said their Amazon parrot in particular, with a yellow head, green body and naturally social demeanor, seems to really enjoy the ZooMobile experience.

    “She gets very excited when it is time to go out, and she talks a lot,” she said.

    Grippin said the calm demeanor of reptiles makes them well-suited to the ZooMobile. She said she loves it when she can make people think differently about animals they may have been scared of or disliked before experiencing them on a more personal level, such as snakes and other reptiles.

    “We hope that we make lasting impressions on everyone,” she said. “We want to make sure that we harbor that love of animals and conservation of the planet.”

    Full story here:

  • 31 Jul 2015 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    Przewalski’s horses, a species that traces its origins to the Mongolian steppe, has seen its wild population plummet so low it is considered to be endangered. However, many have lived in captivity and thanks to an project run in conjunction with the Czech Army and the Prague Zoo, several horses have been transported back to the region their ancestors called home to run wild and free.

    View the full Photo Essay here:

  • 31 Jul 2015 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    Dnata, Emirates’ ground handling and travel services unit, is expanding its European business.

    It said yesterday that it was acquiring Aviapartner’s cargo handling operations at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam even as an economic slowdown in China and other emerging markets is expected to affect cargo volumes this year.

    The Dubai-based company, which had cash reserves of Dh3.1 billion at the end of last year, declined to disclose the cost of the acquisition.

    Dnata will own and operate Aviapartner’s 44,000 square metres of cargo warehouse space in the Dutch capital.

    The Brussels-based company handles about 360,000 tonnes of cargo a year at Schiphol with 430 employees. Dnata said it would retain the staff.

    “Dnata is committed to ensuring the impact of this acquisition to the day-to-day activities of employees is minimal,” said a dnata spokeswoman.

    The acquisition expands dnata’s operations to 10 European airports – including Geneva, Zurich, London Heathrow and London Gatwick – from four airports two years ago. It now expects to handle 2 million tonnes of cargo across 26 airports globally a year.

    Dnata said the acquisition would “enhance our growing international cargo network”.

    The deal is expected to be completed in September pending regulatory approvals.

    Dnata will also handle the Schiphol animal centre, the temperature control centre and the freighter ramp handling operations.

    “The purchase by dnata not only gives them a huge presence in one of Europe’s busiest airport, it further de-risks dnata’s revenue stream,” said Saj Ahmad, an analyst at StrategicAero Research.

    The cargo volume between the Middle East and North America in April grew 30.4 per cent from the year-earlier period, making it the fastest-growing cargo route globally, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata). The Europe to Middle East route was in second place, with a 12.5 per cent growth rate.

    The growth rates, however, trail behind previous months because of fleet capacity expansions, the strengthening US dollar and a global slowdown in the manufacturing sector, according to Iata.

    An economic slowdown in China and other emerging markets could adversely affect the cargo sector this year, Iata said.

    Last year, dnata made a profit of Dh906 million, its most in its 56 years of operation. Revenue rose 36 per cent to Dh10.3bn from a year earlier, with foreign operations accounting for about 60 per cent of that.

    Full Story here:

  • 31 Jul 2015 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    If you dread the prospect of sitting next to a small child on an airplane, you may want to think again. 

    There’s an increasing likelihood that your next seatmate could be a dog -- or a cat -- or a turtle -- or a chicken or a pig or even a kangaroo – and there’s really not much you can do about it.

    They’re called Emotional Support Animals – ESAs. Almost anybody can bring one, or two, or three -- or even more - on board a plane, and virtually all species (other than snakes) are allowed. All you need is a letter from a licensed mental health professional, saying that you would benefit by having an ESA during plane travel. That allows your animal sit with you for free, and you don’t have to pay the $125 fee that you’d otherwise likely be charged to bring your pet on board.

    NBC5 Investigates has learned that some flight attendants are concerned with the growing number of ESAs on flights, to the point that they fear the animals could potentially pose a safety hazard – especially in the event of an emergency evacuation.

    And NBC5 has also found an online cottage industry of websites where doctors are willing to write ESA letters, for a fee. In fact, an NBC5 producer easily obtained her own ESA letter by answering a few questions and paying a fee, which allowed her to take two flights accompanied by her dog Bailey -- plus a Sulcata Tortoise named Xena, on loan from AnimalQuest in north suburban Lake Villa, a company whith offers exotic animal exhibitions and educational presentations to local schools and organizations.

    “It really is getting to the point where it’s become uncomfortable for other passengers,” says Laura Glading, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. “And flight attendants are getting put in the middle.”

    Glading adds: “We’ve had over fifty documented cases … dozens of instances where planes have returned to the gate; passengers have unruly pets; dogs maybe snapping at other passengers, or barking at other dogs and causing disruption.”

    “A couple of weeks ago I was on a delayed flight because a dog had relieved himself in the bathroom,” she says. “We took a delay so the service people could come on and clean the toilet with their hazmat materials.”

    ESAs are not service animals, which provide specific and much-needed assistance to people with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities. Service animals are highly trained and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which ensures they have full access to accompany their companions anywhere – including planes. It is against federal law to misrepresent an animal as a service animal.

    Glading points out that true service animals are consistently well-behaved on airplanes, and provide real help in the event of an evacuation, by assisting their companion as needed.

    In contrast, ESAs are regulated by the Air Carrier Access Act – which does not grant them the broad range of access allowed by the ADA. It simply allows them on a plane – provided the passenger provides has a letter.

    Another flight attendant and union representative tells NBC5 that these ESAs could truly jeopardize an emergency evacuation, because they are not trained for an emergency, and could get in the way of passengers – especially as their numbers increase. (She says she sees at least one ESA on nearly every flight she works.)

    That same attendant tells NBC5 that her airline discourages attendants and gate staff from challenging the validity of an ESA or an ESA letter, for fear of a lawsuit.

    “The same people who ‘game’ the system are also the same people who are most likely to make a scene if you try to challenge them on their animal or animals, so we are strongly encouraged to ‘just deal,’” the attendant says.

    She does not want her name used by NBC5 because she does not want to reveal the airline she works for.

    A spokeswoman for the airline industry takes issue with the idea that more people are flying these days with ESAs, but at the same time she says the industry does not keep track of the numbers. “We trust our passengers are honest in communicating their need for service assistance animal support,” she said in a statement.

    The two flight attendants who spoke to NBC5 say that individual airlines track ESA – and ESA problems – internally.

    But NBC5 Investigates has examined the few figures that are on file with the U.S. Department of Transportation, which show that complaints about assistance animals in general have risen steadily over recent years, and nearly nine out of every ten of those complaints now relate to animals traveling with people with “unspecified” disabilities – not any of the variety of disabilities commonly associated with true service animals. Although it cannot be confirmed that these “other” animals are ESAs, it may indicate a trend.

    Here’s the breakdown of the assistance animal complaints to U.S. airlines in 2011 – the most recent year these reports have been tracked:

    • Animals with vision-impaired passengers – 9 complaints

    • Animals with hearing-impaired passengers – 8 complaints

    • Animals wheelchair-bound passengers – 9 complaints

    • Animals with passengers with other assistive devices – 11 complaints

    • Animals with mentally-impaired passengers – 17 complaints

    • Animals with passengers with allergies – 1 complaint

    • Animals with passengers with “other disabilities” – 411 complaints

    And here’s how assistance animal complaints have increased over the most recent eight years of reporting by U.S. airlines. Note that those complaints related to people with “other disabilities” now account for most all the complaints each year:

    That’s an increase of more than a thousand percent, for problems reported concerning animals who are traveling with people not with sight or hearing problems, or seizures or mental issues, but passengers with “other” disabilities.

    The flight attendants who spoke to NBC want a crackdown on the dozens of websites marketing ESA letters. They also would like to see airlines reduce the fee to travel with pets in approved containers, so that more people would be willing to go through the regular process of flying with their pets on planes.


  • 31 Jul 2015 2:08 PM | Anonymous

    When a concerned passenger took a photo of thin cattle aboard a Cook Strait ferry in March, public outcry ensued.

    When New Zealand's largest ever shipment of livestock headed to Mexican shores in June, concerns were raised about the well-being of the 45,000 sheep and 3200 cattle on board.

    And when, last week, a cow climbed over the barriers of a stock trailer and fell on to Auckland's Southern Motorway, spectators asked: how is it possible this can even happen?

    Any farmer or transporter will tell you these incidents are few and far between.

    In any case, Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) investigators found no evidence of animal harm regarding the ferry cows, and says MPI, nothing unexpected happened in terms of the animals' health and welfare on the Mexico voyage -- 191 sheep (0.42 per cent of stock) and one cow (0.03 per cent) died on the trip.

    MPI, Massey University senior veterinarian Alan Thatcher, Labour's Primary Industries spokesman, Damien O'Connor, and even SAFE's executive director, Hans Kriek, concur: the vast majority of farmers and trucking operators transport animals safely.

    As Thatcher says, "The buyers and sellers have a vested interest in the stock so of course most do their best to ensure the stock arrive at their destination in good condition."

    But does that mean there's no room for improvement?

    When codes are broken

    Between 2010 and 2014, MPI received 2947 complaints about welfare at commercial farms, lifestyle blocks, saleyards, transport carriers and other holders of farm animals.

    Prosecutions followed just under 100 of the complaints, with thousands more resulting in verbal advice, education letters, written warnings, and other "investigation outcomes". Up to two outcomes could be recorded for one complaint.

    Veterinarian Alan Thatcher believes there are times welfare codes are broken while transporting livestock -- with little consequence.

    "Welfare can be an issue if there is no veterinary involvement," he says. "However, no one really knows because there's no auditing. If animals arrive at a freezing works in unsuitable condition then there may be consequences. Otherwise, unless someone notices something amiss (for example, poor condition cows being transported on the [ferry]) there is no comeback."

    Thatcher, who specialises in pastoral animal health, says part of the problem is the lack of regulation.

    "In the vast majority of cases of animal neglect there's ignorance but that's no excuse. You never hear of anyone being prosecuted for transporting stock that aren't in good condition because MPI has minimum powers for prosecution."

    MPI refutes Thatcher's allegations, saying the transport industry is closely monitored along the transport chain.

    "Transport operators are monitored at saleyards by MPI staff and all export livestock premises have MPI veterinarians monitoring the welfare of animals transported to slaughter.

    "If there are significant breaches of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 related to the transport of animals these will result in a compliance response from MPI. This may include prosecutions of those persons identified as being in charge of the animals transported."

    Ken Shirley, chief executive of the Road Transport Forum, which represents many rural transport operators, likewise says there's very close monitoring.

    "We have a very active livestock safety section, which works with MPI, ACC and many in the transport industry. All our operators know that if the stock aren't fit for transport, it's simple: don't take them."

    Labour's Damien O'Connor says there could always be more monitoring.

    "Most drivers are very good at monitoring and sensing if something is wrong but, as we know in any part of our economy, there are rogues that might cut corners.

    "The law as it stands is probably adequate to protect animals but its implementation requires proper enforcement."

    Shorter the better

    Thatcher says the distance stock are transported, especially very young animals such as bobby calves, is also worrying in terms of animal welfare.

    "What's really dumb is that, for example, animals being transported from say Taranaki to a freezing works in Hawke's Bay may pass a truck taking identical animals from Hawke's Bay to a freezing works in Taranaki.

    "This also has biosecurity implications. The last outbreak of foot and mouth in the United Kingdom was discovered in pigs at a slaughter facility -- those pigs had been transported some distance and there were consequent outbreaks along the route they took."

    Ideally, animals would be carted the shortest possible distance, he says.

    "It makes sense logistically and is much better for the animals' welfare, but if you can get another $50 for your animal in Hawke's Bay when you're in Taranaki, Manawatu or Northland, why wouldn't you?"

    International transportation consultant GHD says there would be huge savings if NZ stock were processed closer to the farm they came from.

    GHD estimates the average cost of carrying sheep and lambs to the nearest slaughterhouse to be $3.20 a head but, as around half of export kill go past the nearest plant, the average national cost of transport is about $5.50 a head. If half that stock were redirected to the nearest plant there would be immediate savings of $12 million.

    Limiting how far animals can travel could be seen as anti-competitive, but Labour's Damien O'Connor says the GHD findings, which were reported by the Meat Industry Excellence group in March, show "pretty clear benefits".

    "If better co-ordination within the meat industry were able to cut down some of the unnecessary transportation, it would not only benefit farmers but also benefit the animals."

    However, Ken Shirley, of the Road Transport Forum, says a ban on how far stock can travel would be hard to prescribe.

    "If you ban it, how do you ban it?

    "As it stands, there's strict animal welfare requirements relating to distance including stopping if it's a particularly long journey, ensuring stock are watered and so on, so there shouldn't be more welfare concerns just because stock are going further."

    Hide for cover

    By law, the maximum height any vehicle on NZ roads can be is 4.25m, with another 25mm allowed for tarpaulins, lashings, straps, chains, covers and related connectors and tensioning devices that aren't permanently or rigidly fixed to the vehicle. If an animal sticks its head out the top of a truck the truck can thus be in breach of the law.

    Putting covers on stock trucks isn't a legal requirement, and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss said any changes would likely apply only to new vehicles.

    Shirley says many transporters today have covers anyway.

    "You can't go around legislating every single thing. If covers were made mandatory, there would probably be more instances of smothering and suffocation. I think in this case, the current best practice ethos is best."

    But Hans Kriek, of SAFE, believes there's plenty grounds for continuing to push for change.

    "There's a lot of common sense to fixing the issue of restraining animals," he says. "We only hear about the more spectacular cases like if a truck drives under a bridge on a busy road and the head of the animal gets taken off.

    "It's hard to know how many instances of animals falling off or hurting themselves happen on rural roads because we don't hear anything about it.

    "In any case, we shouldn't have the possibility of animals sticking heads out of trucks because it puts them at unnecessary risk."

    The possibility of animals getting out is also really unsafe for road users, he says.

    "If a vehicle had veered to avoid the cow that came off the truck [on Auckland's Southern Motorway] recently it could have crashed into another vehicle. There could have been six dead people on the road, not just a cow."

    Federated Farmers were contacted for comment but hadn't replied in time for publication.

    Did you know?

    * Every truckload or shipment of livestock must be accompanied with an MPI certified animal status declaration form which includes details such as the name of the stock's owner, the address the stock was moved from, the number and type of stock, the stock history and feeding, vaccination and treatment information, and the stock's destination.

    * The Police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) have a responsibility to carry out vehicle inspections at compliance stations and do roadside checks of loads to see they're correctly secured.

    Full story here:

  • 24 Jul 2015 1:58 PM | Anonymous

    An airport for animals, and sounding much nicer than the one for humans, is about to open at JFK—the pinnacle for a generation of pampered pets.

    Shallow pools, massages and pedicure services are things you expect from a traditional spa—not a holding terminal for animals.

    But at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York animals of all kind will soon be lapping up the kinds of luxuries most humans would love at an airport, if they were not being herded like cattle through security checks.

    The international airport is getting a $48 million first-of-its-kind luxury animal terminal as soon as 2016.

    The 178,000-square-foot facility dubbed The ARK will act as a shelter and quarantine facility for every animal on earth: cats with trees to climb, “pawdicures” and splash pools for dogs, and private hay stalls for horses.

    Even sloths, aardvarks, cows, sheep, goats, pigs—you name it—will have dedicated areas. There will even be a private mating area for arctic animals such as penguins.

    And you thought the free booze while flying first class was lavish.

    “With demand for pets and animals of all kinds transported by air escalating year on year, we recognized the need for a more humane and efficient model for this significant segment of the air travel industry,” Dr. Aaron S. Perl, managing director of The ARK at JFK, said in a press release.

    For the majority of animals, The ARK at JFK will offer a comfortable quarantine facility for incoming international transportation. Horses, for instance, have a holding period of three days to check for contagious diseases before heading off to racetracks, competitions, or new homes.

    For pets in transit or waiting for their owners return, The ARK will offer a luxury pet resort operated by Paradise 4 Paws, a nationwide high-end boarding resort with sleeping suites, spa services, and areas with specially designed activities, such as climbing and swimming.

    The new luxury terminal is only the most recent venue to offer human-scale luxuries to animals.

    Over the past decade high-end pet hotels have spawned in major cities around the globe; animal-only airlines have begun comfortably transporting our favorite furry creatures; and private chefs have cornered the market for gourmet pet grub to match whatever diet, whether its paleo or gluten-free.

    We can even dress and accessorize them with designer outfits by Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès.

    In 2013, Americans spent a record $56 billion on their pets—a figure that, according to Packaged Facts pet market analyst David Lummis, has roughly risen today to as much as $75 billion.

    Lummis estimates that approximately 10 percent of that is dedicated to luxury spending, while a broader 40 percent accounts for upper-end and premium purchases.

    “Premiumisation has been going on in the market for almost a decade,” Lummis told The Daily Beast—the term means turning existing consumers on to higher-priced products.

    “It happens across the market, but particularly in pet foods we began seeing organic and natural products. People are now willing to pay a multiple of what they have paid historically.”

    Food accounted for $21.57 billion of the 2013 figure, the largest expenditure out of diet, health care, recreational, and travel. In 1996, total pet spending only amounted to $21 billion ($31.3 billion with inflation).

    “People have always loved their pets,” Lummis said. “But a decade or so ago it started to change where pets started to be seen more and more as family members, so marketers started really tapping into the emotional bond that owners feel toward their pets through humanization.”

    For instance, many luxury spenders can now tailor their pet’s diet to their own.

    Chef Kevyn Matthews, also known as The Dog Chef, crafts gourmet meals for private clients and runs a café for dogs in Washington, D.C.

    Matthews specializes in seasonal menus (chicken with pear and kale; cod fish with green apple and cauliflower), homemade treats (coconut muffins and kale pretzels) and even froyo. All orders—roughly $20 an item—are made fresh daily and shipped on dry ice.

    “The bottom line is that people are seeing their pets more as their kids,” Kerry Brown, who owns the über luxury D-Pet Hotel in New York, told The Daily Beast. “There is so much new information about the health of animals and the best way of extending their life, particularly in food. Regular dog food isn’t necessarily the best thing so we have a lot of clients who use our private chef services.”

    In addition to a private chef service, D-Pet Hotel also offers Bentley chauffeurs, a gym, a spa, and private luxury suites equipped with a full-size bed and 42-inch flat screen television. These Über Suites cost $200 a night.

    “We are very familiar with New Yorkers and how they travel and work all the time,” Brown said. “New York City has one of the highest number of dogs per capita in the world yet there is not a lot of outdoor space for dogs to play in.

    “There were only traditional kennels and no options for owners who felt guilty leaving their dog in a crate. D Pet Hotel fills that void by making boarding and day care less stressful and less guilt-inducing.

    The cage- and kennel-free franchise, founded by Alissa Cruz in 2008, also has locations in Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Arizona.

    “A lot of people are looking to do more with their pets,” Lincoln Dow, the owner of People and Pets Air, told The Daily Beast. “They want to travel with them and not leave them behind when they relocate.”

    Dow, who founded the pet-only airline last year, spoke from his experience trying to travel with his Doberman, who was large and had travel under the plane in cargo.

    “He didn’t enjoy the experience,” Dow said. “At the end of the flight you could tell he was very stressed out. He was not happy and the same thing happened on the return. So it wasn’t something I ever wanted to do again.”

    In the past decade, according to a report required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (PDF), 289 animals have died while being transported by commercial airlines. Another 158 have been injured and a 52 have been lost.

    “A lot of pet owners have this concern,” Dow said, “and if you know there is a chance that an animal is going to be harmed on a major airline, then that gives a lot of people the incentive to pay extra for safety.”

    Dow is expecting to have an official FAA certification within the next few months and begin offering flights shortly thereafter.

    Each flight, which keeps the animals in the main cabin instead of cargo, will be customized based on the route, animal, and special requests such as veterinary supervision. A standard flight from Houston to Denver, for instance, would cost around $400.

    People and Pets Air, which is based in Houston, is partnering with Pilots and Paws Pet Rescuing Service to get “some real, practical experience while working through the certification process,” Dow said, while also offering ground transportation.

    “Pet owners are pretty smart,” Lummis said, “and when they are paying those premiums, they want to make sure they are getting something out of it. It’s not just the prestige of having their pet dressed in a Burberry raincoat.”

    This, he says, is not as frivolous as it may look because some small dogs do need clothing, “but it does bring up the question of how much further we can go and what unmet needs remain in the pet market.”

    Full Story here:

  • 24 Jul 2015 1:44 PM | Anonymous

    Bureaucratic hurdles are holding back the exchange of animals between the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo and the Taygan Lions Park and the Skazka Zoo in Yalta.

    An agreement was signed between the Taygan Lions Park and the Skazka (Fairy Tale) Zoo in Yalta, Crimea and the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo to exchange animals. However, it has been on hold since February, after the Government of Kerala refused to allow the exchange, a source familiar with the negotiations told RIR. Officials from Kerala have asked the Crimean zoo authorities to directly contact the Indian Prime Minister to get permission.

    “By February of this year, we had obtained all permissions, except for the final go-ahead from the administration of the state of Kerala, and so we had to send a request to the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate of India,” the source said. “After six months of waiting, we were told that they could not issue the permits.”

    RIR gained access to the letter in which the Kerala officials said they could not allow the exchange without first receiving approval from the central authorities, and asked the administrations of The Taygan Lions Park and the Skazka Zoo to “meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the exchange.”

    “We should get prior sanctions from the Central Government. If Narendra Modi instructs the state to give the animals, then it will be easy,” the Kerala officials wrote in the letter.

    B. Joseph, Director of the Directorate of Museums & Zoos Department of Kerala, confirmed to RIR that the “exchange can only be carried out with the permission of the Central Government.”

    According to him, this rule applies to all animal exchanges involving zoos in India. “We are very interested in making these exchanges, but we cannot bypass this regulation,” he said.

    Dr. Alexander Jacob, Chief Veterinarian at the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, said, “Without permission from the government of Kerala, the zoo administration cannot turn to the central authorities.” He added, “In accordance with established procedures, permission is first given by the regional authorities, and only then by the central government... The official, who dealt with our request, does not seem to understand the rules. We are demanding that this matter be reviewed again, and will pursue this issue with the government of Kerala.”

    Recently RIR learned from Oleg Zubkov, the director of Skazka and Taygan, that the zoos had concluded an animal exchange agreement with the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo. Russia is supposed to get elephants, tigers and lions.

    “We dreamt of having elephants for more than 15 years. We looked for opportunities to obtain these animals from zoos located in Europe and Africa,” he said, adding that during this period, “the first elephant house was built in the Taygan.”

    Finally, the management decided to focus on obtaining Asian elephants, which are smaller and more manageable than their African cousins.

    Under the agreement, in exchange for three elephants from India, the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo will receive two white lions, 15 coatis, two Siberian Tigers, two llamas, and five Sajmirs (squirrel monkeys).

    A source familiar with the negotiations said there are plans to bring in seven elephants from India, in exchange for zebras. 

    The elephants are to be accompanied by mahouts (handlers/keepers, as this is a requirement stipulated in the transport legislation of India.

    “This is an important step for rehabilitation of the animals. I would be glad if these mahouts stayed in Russia forever,” Zubkov said. “However, if that is not possible, then I hope they will teach our staff all they know about the care of these animals. A mahout, who usually takes care of an elephant from its birth, is difficult to replace.”

    Taygan was created in 2012 in the Belogorsky Region of Crimea, on the shores of the Taygansky Reservoir. It soon became not only the largest nursery in Europe for various breeds of lions and other species; mostly large mammal predators. It is the most unique animal park in Europe. More than 50 African lions roam free there, practically in their natural habitat, in an area of ​​over 30 hectares in the Crimean foothills.

    The Skazka Zoo was created at Yalta in 1995. It is now home to more than 100 species of animals and birds.

    According to Zubkov, around 350,000 people visit Taygan every year. Another 250,000 visitors come to the Skazka.

    “We expect that once the bridge connecting Crimea with the rest of Russia is completed, the attendance at each zoo will reach 500,000 people annually,” he said.

    The Sansarafan Company, an inbound tour operator in India, will provide assistance in organizing the transport of the animals.

  • 24 Jul 2015 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    Extreme hot weather and high humidity can present many challenges for horse owners, who must provide extra care during hot weather to decrease stress and maintain the health and well-being of the horse.

    Fortunately, horses can acclimate to hot and humid environments.

    Horses have the ability to cool themselves by sweating. Evaporation of sweat from the skin surface has a cooling effect. A horse that is working hard in a hot environment can lose two to four gallons of sweat per hour. Less evaporation occurs during times of high humidity.

    The most ideal temperatures for horses are estimated to be from about 40 to 77 degrees. While not much is known about the impact above the upper critical temperature on increase feed intake and extra calories, metabolic changes in nutrient utilization do occur. In addition, heat stress has a negative impact on feed intake, and most horses will not voluntarily consume as much feedstuffs on hot days, similar to other livestock and humans. If the change in feed intake causes body condition or weight loss, contact a veterinarian for assistance.

    To help reduce the effects of heat and keep horses comfortable:

    Provide turnout during cooler times of the day.

    Provide relief from the sun through access to shade from trees or buildings.

    Watch for signs of sunburn.

    Fans help to improve airflow; be sure to keep cords and plugs out of the horses’ reach.

    Ensure access to clean, cool water at all times. Depending on feed, an adult horse in a cool climate will normally drink 6 to 10 gallons of water each day while at rest, and much more while working or in hot conditions.

    Free choice access to salt will encourage drinking.

    Reduce riding intensity and length.

    Clip horses with long hair coats (i.e. horses with Cushing’s disease) to enhance cooling.

    Transport horses during the coolest part of the day. Ensure that trailers are well ventilated and offer water frequently. Do not park in direct sunlight with horses inside.

    To cool an overheated horse (rectal temperature exceeding 103 degrees), spray or sponge the horse’s head, back, neck, rump and legs with cool water and immediately scrape the water off, repeating continuously until the horse is cool. This is an effective cooling method because heat is transferred from the horse’s muscles and skin to the water, which is then removed to cool the horse. It is critical to scrape the warmed water off immediately, or the water may serve as insulation and might actually increase the horse’s body temperature.

    Finally, do not place a sheet or blanket on the horse while trying to cool it. Blanketing will block the evaporation of water from the skin and is not recommended during hot and humid conditions.

    A horse’s stomach can hold between two and four gallons of fluid without becoming excessively distended. Allowing a hot horse a few swallows of cool, clean fresh water every few minutes is necessary to combat the effects of heat stress. Fans work to increase evaporation and speed the cooling process.

    So with more hot temperatures in the forecast, keep an eye on your horses to ensure their comfort and safety.

    Full Story here:

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