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The Queensland government has reiterated its commitment to a deal that subsidises livestock freight moving by rail, and is looking to add a third destination into the equation.
The present contract between the government and Aurizon allows for up to 325 livestock rail services a year from stations in regional Queensland to one of two buyers.
Transport minister Jackie Trad says the next contract renegotiation – the present deal nominally expires at the end of this year – could include an extension to a third buyer, Oakey Beef Exports in the Darling Downs region.
One of Australia’s largest beef processing businesses, Oakey Beef says the negotiations have been complex but positive.
General manager Pat Gleeson says a deal will be "a positive win-win for producer and processor".
"Access to the freight line will ensure greater competitiveness," he adds.
But the deal is yet to be signed off on, and few are making any assumptions. The state government provides a subsidy but it is up to the freight owners and Aurizon to still come up with a deal that satisfies both parties.
A spokesperson for local member of state parliament Pat Weir says he is "very hopeful of a positive outcome".
"Transporting western cattle to the east by rail has positive benefits, so the partnership is obviously very welcome.
"But we are taking a wait-and-see approach at this stage."
A spokesperson for Aurizon said the matter was still one for the Queensland government – "and we have nothing more to add at this stage".
Full Story here: http://www.fullyloaded.com.au/logistics-news/1507/livestock-rail-deal-up-for-renewal/
Kenyan startup Mifugo.trade is seeking to raise US$100,000 in angel funding, with the funds set to enable the company to digitise livestock trading in Kenya.
Speaking to Disrupt Africa, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Mifugo.trade, Taylor Tully, says the livestock trade provides livelihoods for over six million pastoralists in Kenya, however, the fragmented and inefficient processes involved in livestock exchanges limit the income of traders.
“The Kenyan livestock industry provides livelihoods for approximately 6 million pastoralists. However, pastoralists in remote areas have limited or no direct access to terminal markets due to poor infrastructure. Consequently, pastoralists are forced to rely on an inefficient network of local markets and middlemen,” Tully explains.
“This long chain of middlemen generates substantial transaction costs which are passed onto producers through low prices for their livestock. These low prices reduces income and negatively impact pastoralist livelihoods,” he says.
Tully believes technology can change this.
In particular, he says the boom in mobile adoption across East Africa presents the possibility for the whole livestock market to be digitised, and as a result has the potential to completely change the way livestock is traded.
“In the past decade, Africa and particularly East Africa has experienced a massive surge in mobile usage and ICT. This technological evolution has fundamentally transformed the economies of many African countries, most exemplified by M-Pesa and its impact on the financial sector and money transfer ecosystem. Mobile technology can have the same impact on the livestock sector, particularly with the increasing popularity of smartphones and expansion of mobile broadband,” Tully says.
“We see a large and growing opportunity to leverage mobile technology and transform the entire livestock value chain, from livestock inputs and production to transport, processing, and distribution.”
The Mifugo.trade platform is an online livestock exchange that directly connects livestock producers and buyers. The startup uses a network of trained assessing agents equipped with smartphones, who visit livestock sellers, evaluate animals, and upload relevant information on a sale to the platform. Buyers can then bid for animals online.
Mifugo.trade goes further, and is in the process of integrating a range of payment solutions – such as mobile money payments, escrow options and invoice discounting – to facilitate payments and cut out cash transactions; as well as assisting in the arrangement of transportation following a purchase.
According to Tully, bringing the world of livestock trading into the digital space will benefit traders by increasing access to information and services, but also by connecting rural and urban players working in the same industry.
Overall, he says Mifugo.trade has the power to increase livestock prices for sellers by 20 per cent; while buyers also benefit from not having to travel country-wide to source livestock, and as such can concentrate on their core business.
Launched in May this year, Mifugo.trade is already working with groups representing over 2,000 pastoralists, but hopes to roll out across Kenya on the back of more fully developed platform which it hopes to launch in the coming months. Eventually, Mifugo.trade hopes to digitise the livestock market across the whole of Africa.
“Mifugo.trade wants to fundamentally transform the livestock supply chain in Kenya, and hopefully throughout Africa. We are following a global trend of digital marketplaces disrupting existing sectors. We want to bring the same transformative power of digital marketplaces to the livestock sector in Kenya. In the future, we see online livestock exchanges becoming the preferred way to trade livestock and an industry standard throughout Africa,” Tully says.
To achieve this goal, Mifugo.trade is currently seeking US$100,000 to build out the platform, adding new functionality and improving the interface; as well as providing the funds to fuel expansion across Kenya.
Full Story here: http://disrupt-africa.com/2015/07/mifugo-trade-seeking-100k-to-digitise-livestock-trading-in-kenya/
South Africa's largest airline, South African Airways, lifted a ban today that had prohibited the transportation of hunting trophies like the heads or carcasses of elephants, rhinos, and lions, Bloomberg reports.
SAA, which is state-owned, had formerly imposed the ban to much fanfare in April. Fewer than three months later, it lifted it without explanation.
The Professional Hunters' Association of South Africa (PHASA), a nonprofit organization that supports the professional hunting industry and liaises with government entities and NGOs on trophy hunting issues, said in an applauding statement that South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs had stepped into the discussions on the ban since it was put in place in April. Adri Kitshoff, PHASA's chief executive, said the reversal was "in line with the South African government’s policy of 'sustainable utilisation' of its natural resources." With 1,200 members, PHASA says it is the largest association of its kind and claims that hunting and "the trophy hunting industry, in particular, has a significant role to play in conservation in South Africa."
Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, told Fast Company that hunting lobbies like PHASA were responsible for the government crackdown on SAA. The cargo divisions of other airlines, like KLM and Lufthansa, have active bans on hunting trophies, but given trophy hunting's prevalence in southern Africa and SAA's stature as South Africa's largest airline, pressure was "immense" to remove the cargo ban after only three months, he says.
"There is a clear distinction between illegal wildlife products, such as poached rhino horn or ivory, and legitimate hunting trophies. The export of trophies is strictly regulated by both the country of origin, the country of import and, where applicable, Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)," Kitshoff said in the statement.
"If it's really contributing to the scientific management of herds, then why are we in the situation that we are in? Clearly something needs to change."
But Downes said the benefits of trophy hunting are ambiguous at best and often exaggerated by figures in the industry. "The first reason that they give is that it’s a critical part of conversation in the sense of wildlife management. But the fact of the matter is that trophy hunters don’t want sick and infirm trophies. They want the best of the best, so they’re looking to remove specimens from the wild that (have) a trophy. That’s not how nature works," he says.
The second argument is money—that trophy hunting generates money that is put toward animal conservation. But Downes says that's also not necessarily true: Only 3% to 5% of funds generated by hunting operators tends to make its way back to local communities in Africa, according to research by Economists at Large.
"The argument that trophy hunters are providing is that they provide money to care for them by killing. Let’s not get tangled up in arguments about how to make ivory trade better or rhino trade safer—let’s just move beyond it," Downes says. "If (trophy hunting is) really contributing to the scientific management of herds, and it’s been going on for a century, then why are we in the situation that we are in? Clearly something needs to change."
Since only two states - West Bengal and Kerala - allow cow slaughter, cows from all over India are transported to these two states for slaughter.
Four years after the Food Safety Act clearly laid down the conditions in which animals meant for consumption are to be kept and transported to the slaughterhouse, the Transport Ministry has finally laid down rules for the transportation of such animals.
Earlier this month, the ministry notified changes in the Motor Vehicles Act that require animal transportation vehicles to be registered as such with the respective Road Transport Offices (RTOs) and equipped with welded cages of specified sizes for transportation of specific animals. The move comes after a series of petitions from animal rights activists about the harsh conditions in which animals are transported. The notification issued on July 8 came after Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi took the issue up with Union Minister for Road Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari.
The notification that is to come into effect from January 1, 2016, requires animal transport trucks to adhere to standards set by the Bureau of Indian Standards and to have permanent cages to ensure that it cannot transport more than the allowed number of animals — six buffaloes or 40 goats per truck. It lays down cage sizes for transport of bovines, horses, sheep and goats, pig and poultry.
A motor vehicle that is registered as an animal carrying vehicle cannot carry other goods. If it does, it will lose its registration, apart from being made to pay a fine far heftier than those prescribed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Since only two states — West Bengal and Kerala — allow cow slaughter, cows from all over India are transported to these two states for slaughter.
The long distance travel makes cows among the most abused during transportation, with animals sometimes stacked one on top of the other with their noses tied upwards to leave room for breathing. Many of these animals are pregnant as there is a belief that eating a pregnant animal helps produce babies.
While regulation of transportation of animals has been a long standing demand of animal rights activists, the regulations of the Food Safety Act (FSA) issues in 2011 clearly lay down that unnecessary stress to an animal during transportation may cause the quality of meat to suffer. It also requires livestock to be certified by a veterinary expert before slaughter.
“Livestock are transported en masse from the farm to the slaughterhouse, a process called ‘live export’. Depending on the journey’s length and circumstances, this exerts stress and injuries on the animals and some may die en route. Apart from being inhumane, unnecessary stress in transport may adversely affect the quality of the meat,” read the regulations under the FSA.
Injured animals, according to the regulations, are not to be slaughtered. This rule, however, is routinely violated.
Full Story here: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/govt-lays-down-rules-to-ferry-animals-meant-for-slaughter/
Airport joins small number of facilities approved by U.S. Department of Agriculture
Livestock now can get a lift overseas via Rickenbacker Airport.
For farmers who are in the animal-exporting business — like the one who shipped 20 pygmy goats to Kuwait last month — this is good news.
Rickenbacker recently became one of roughly 25 of the nation’s 550 airports to be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to transport animals.
Before the airport received its certification on Dec. 31, the closest airports that could handle such jobs were in New York, Chicago and Miami. Two regional airports, one in Kentucky and one Cincinnati, can only transport horses.
Larry Baker approached Rickenbacker with the idea because those larger airports were stressing out his animals.
He manages livestock operations for TLT Silver Tiger Logistics and heads the Ohio Livestock & Genetics Export Council in Greenville.
“The major hubs like JFK and O’Hare are so congested and confusing,” he said.
Animal transportation hadn’t been considered by Rickenbacker before because getting approval from the USDA used to be difficult.
The Obama administration’s national export initiatives, launched in 2010, have made it easier to file the necessary paperwork and become certified, said Bryan Schreiber, business developer for air cargo for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.
“I looked at it as an opportunity to delve into an area that we hadn’t served in,” Schreiber said.
He grew up around livestock in rural Ohio, but his enthusiasm for the initiative at the airport wasn’t immediately matched by his colleagues.
“They were having visions of having to wrangle a herd of cattle on a ramp, and it’s not like that,” he said.
Some voiced concerns about the airport developing a barnyard odor, but that hasn’t been a problem, either. The animals are housed on farms within an hour’s drive of the airport until they're ready to board the cargo plane, so there’s no traipsing through the airport’s parking lot or other areas.
Once onboard, the animals are placed in crates that are customized to fit each species’ needs, giving them enough room to stand or lie down during the flight. The flexibility of the crates also means there’s no limit to the types of animals that could be transported. As long as the crate fits inside the plane, they can ship it.
“Any limitations are actually between countries, depending on their procedures,” Schreiber said. “Some countries will accept a wide variety of animals and some will only accept certain animals."
Rickenbacker was already well-equipped to transport animals, Schreiber said. No renovations or additions had to be made to the airport. An old military hangar, already in working condition with water, heat and fire suppressants on board, was able to be reused specifically for that purpose.
So far, two animal transports have been handled. A cargo plane with 176 pregnant dairy cows flew to Thailand in March, and 20 pygmy goats were shipped to Kuwait in June.
“The United States has what they call superior genetics. Almost all of our animals are at the top of their class,” Schreiber said, explaining the market for American animals.
It’s easier to inseminate a herd here and ship them while pregnant, eliminating the chance of messing up the gene pool by mating the animals overseas. Plus, foreign buyers are getting two shipped for the price of one.
Ohio is leading the nation in the export of livestock genetics, Baker said, and he doesn’t see why Rickenbacker can’t become the main airport for all flights departing from east of the Mississippi River.
As farmers and others develop a comfort level with the airport, the shipment process and the care given to the animals, they’ll use the airport more frequently, he says.
There’s demand for the service.
Lufthansa, a German international airline, works through John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and transports roughly 25,000 animals each year among 100 countries. That includes 2,000 horses, 8,000 farm animals and 150 zoo animals.
And the service evidently is profitable enough to justify building a $48 million terminal at JFK specifically for animals, called the Ark.
The terminal will include livestock-handling services, a large animal-departure lounge, a LifeCare veterinary hospital and a pet resort, according to a news report by the Associated Press.
Schreiber said that although shipping animals by sea can be up to 10 times cheaper than shipping them by air, flights are preferred because they’re easier on the animals.
“It’s about keeping the animals happy, and you don’t want to keep them on a ship for a month,” he said.
No further animal flights are on the books at Rickenbacker at the moment, but Baker said he’s organizing a shipment of exotic animals, including black bucks and camels, to New Zealand in the coming months.
Full Story Here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2015/07/22/when-pigs-fly.html
The Federation of European Laboratory Animal Sciences Associations (FELASA) recognises the role played by the use of live animals in fundamental biological research and in the development of new medicines, vaccines and surgical procedures. Such use makes a major contribution to the wellbeing of both people and animals, and to the environment. To this end, FELASA recognises that the carefully regulated use of live animals in research and education is a necessary activity, in the absence of validated alternatives. Animals intended for scientific use are mostly purpose bred, either by those using them in their own research or by licensed breeders and transported by the breeder or a licensed supplier to the user institution. Animals and animal models are thus shared between institutions. Importantly, this avoids unnecessary breeding of animals and promotes the 3Rs of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.
Domestic and international transport of animals is therefore essential to enable the production and sharing of animals in a responsible way for maintaining progress in advancing human and animal health, and protection of the environment. It is essential that any transport is conducted according to law, best practice and applying humane principles, thus assuring the safety and welfare of the animals.
You can view the official statement here.
When you’ve got 20 pregnant pygmy goats that just absolutely, positively have to get to Kuwait, your newest option for flying them out of the Unites States is in the heart of Ohio.
You may never have that issue, but Larry Baker has. He’s the livestock coordinator for TLT Silver Tiger Logistics, part of an international service provider based in Frankfurt, Germany. He was in charge of getting the goats to their new home in Kuwait and chose to fly them out of Rickenbacker International Airport, 10 miles outside of Columbus. Rickenbacker is the latest airport to join a select group in the country approved by the United States Department of Agriculture for international livestock transport.
According to Bryan Schreiber, who works for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, there are only about 20 airports in the continental U.S., Hawaii and Puerto Rico where livestock can be flown out of the country. Considering there are nearly 550 commercial service airports in the country, your options can be fairly limited for getting livestock out of the U.S.
Schreiber, the manager for business development and air cargo, says it was a one-and-a-half-year process to get approval. It involved coordinating with several federal agencies, and satisfying a number of criteria, from having certified inspection and quarantine stations nearby (the airport has two within an hour’s drive) to proving they had the facilities to safely handle the animals at the airport.
“We reactivated the water, heat and fire alarm systems in a large hangar that had previously been vacant,” Schreiber tells Modern Farmer in an email. “Other than that, we already had the appropriate equipment, scales and staffing in place to do the job very efficiently.”
The airport received approval Dec. 31 and has had two shipments so far. The first was in March and involved 176 pregnant cows that were sent to Thailand. The latest, in June, involved the pregnant pygmy goats. Both shipments of animals arrived safely and without incident. More shipments are in the works, according to Schreiber.
Baker says they chose to work with Rickenbacker for several reasons, including convenience, and, most importantly, because as a smaller, cargo-dedicated airport, it’s relatively quiet and stress-free compared with larger airports.
“Our main goal is to get away from the large hubs, such as Chicago and JFK (in New York City), because it increases the stress on the animals and we want to eliminate as much stress as we can,” he says in a phone interview. “They’re loaded on and it’s a minimal amount of confusion. With Chicago, or JFK, you haven’t seen confusion like the confusion there.”
Considering the logistical issues involved in transporting live animals to other countries, such as U.S. and international regulations and health protocols, the less confusion, the better.
“Everyone you deal with will be different. Before you start, you have to know what the rules are or you can’t play the game. It’s really complicated,” says Baker. “I’ve been in this business for 25 years and I’ve never had a shipment go without a problem. But there’s never been anything that couldn’t be worked through by communication and cooperation.”
Baker, who is in Greenville, Ohio, about one-and-a-half hours from Rickenbacker Airport, usually deals with clients outside the United States looking to improve their livestock’s genetics by importing American animals—mostly cattle, pigs and goats, as well as horses, but sometimes the cargo is a bit more exotic.
“We’ve transported snakes, frogs, lizards, rabbits, and of course the deer—that was a little bit on the different side,” he says.
The deer he is speaking of were white-tailed deer that were shipped to Russia. He was told they were going to a game farm.
He says he is hoping Rickenbacker becomes “the place to ship livestock out in the Midwest and even Canada. It’s just as close and a lot less hassle to come to Rickenbacker,” he says.
Full Story here: http://modernfarmer.com/2015/07/pregnant-pygmy-goats-and-international-travel/
An infectious equine virus that can be fatal if transferred to humans has wreaked havoc on the German thoroughbred industry and thrown into doubt any hope the country had of claiming a Melbourne Cup double following Protectionist's triumph last year.
The confirmation of a case of glanders in Germany in January led to a six-month ban on the export of any horse that had been in Germany in the past six months. As well as thoroughbreds aimed at the Melbourne spring, the travel ban could affect whether Australian equestrian horses can be brought home from Europe ahead of the Rio Olympics.
The restricted period ends on July 30 and the World Organisation of Animal Health (OEI) declared on June 14 that Germany was glanders free. However, government protocols have to be followed before the travel ban can be lifted and the Department of Agriculture is not expected to decide how to proceed with the matter until next month.
This means leading international horse transport company IRT will have to wait for advice as to when it can open its quarantine facility in Germany and transport horses to Australia.
"It is going to be touch and go if they [the German horses] can get into the first shipment for the spring," IRT managing director Chris Burke said. "They have to be quarantined in England and be in there by September 9 for that first shipment. It comes down to if the clearances are made in time."
The horses cannot even be moved into quarantine until the ban is lifted because they would compromise all horses coming from Europe, so there are some nervous owners sweating on the decision. The Department of Agriculture has indicated "if there are sufficient surveillance data to confirm the country is again free from glanders, imports from Germany should be able to resume".
"The Department of Agriculture in Australia has to get detailed information from the German department to show that there is not a glanders risk," Burke said.
"Apart from the Melbourne Cup horses, there are dressage horses and showjumpers that are competing in Europe, which want to return to Australia to compete before Rio. At the moment, any horse that has been in Germany since last November cannot come out to Australia."
Within a month of Protectionist charging away with last year's Melbourne Cup, an isolated case of glanders was discovered in Germany. It was found in a showjumper when it was vetted after being sold to US interests. It had to be euthanised.
Glanders, which can be transferred to humans, has symptoms including coughing, fever and nasal discharge, which can lead to septicaemia and, in most cases, death. There is no vaccine for it.
Australian authorities will be guided by the OEI and its German counterparts in making a decision but have taken no risks with international horse transport since equine influenza from Japan shut down the majority of equine sport in 2007.
That came a year after Japanese raiders Pop Rock and Delta Blues finished first and second in the Melbourne Cup. It took until last year for quarantine protocols to be put in place that would allow horses from Japan to return to race in Australia.
Protectionist's trainer Andreas Wohler has earmarked three horses to travel to Melbourne for the spring carnival, all for Australian Bloodstock, who raced the Melbourne Cup winner.
Singing, a group 2 winner, is targeting the Caulfield Cup and possibly the Melbourne Cup, unbeaten Italian Derby winner Goldstream is eyeing the Cox Plate, while three-year-old Turfdonna will join them.
"We are like anyone else at the moment, waiting to see what happens," Australian Bloodstock's Jamie Lovett said. "Andreas is very keen to come back with what we think are nice horses. If they can't get here for the spring, we would definitely have them out here for The Championships [in Sydney], provided the clearances are given."
There will be a strong European contingent coming for the Melbourne spring with or without the German horses, while up to six Japanese raiders are expected after Admire Rakti's win in the Caulfield Cup last year before his death following the Melbourne Cup.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/horseracing/melbourne-cup-and-olympic-horses-await-clearance-for-imports-from-germany-20150714-gibskc.html
A new livestock crash assistance hotline aims to improve animal welfare after road accidents.
National Transport Insurance and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) have set up a single phone number that livestock transporters can call if they are involved in a crash.
Once a call centre operator has been contacted, the centre will contact relevant authorities and co-ordinate a response plan on behalf of the operator at the scene.
National Transport Insurance (NTI) industrial relations manager Owen Driscoll said the hotline would improve both road safety and animal welfare.
He said the transport industry currently has an accident assist program in place that manages on-site clean up following a crash.
But Mr Driscoll said there was a need to have a dedicated response plan for incidents involving livestock, which posed unique safety and welfare issues.
"We have an infrastructure to look after the recovery of the vehicle. We have an infrastructure to look after the driver," he said.
"We're extending this program really to be considerate of where the animals are going to be placed post-accident, and what we're actually going to do, in the most humane way."
A truck crash involving livestock may require vet assistance, RSPCA involvement, animal health experts and support from local livestock companies to supply portable yards to contain stock, as well as other emergency services.
Mr Driscoll said the hotline would be designed to co-ordinate a response team catered specifically for the region and the circumstances.
Mark Talbot, who runs a transport business in Western Australia's south-west, said he had never been involved in a crash carrying livestock, but had helped out friends and colleagues who had rolled or crashed.
He said the scene of a livestock transport incident was very traumatic.
"The worst call you're ever going to get in our business is that a vehicle has been involved in an accident somewhere," he said.
"If it's rolled over with livestock on board, obviously that's going to be the biggest catastrophe you can have."
Mr Talbot it was vital for the industry to have a fast, co-ordinated response.
"[A livestock crash] is your worst nightmare," he said.
"To have something in place that we could call upon is certainly going to be a great initiative."
But Mr Talbot said transporters would have to work with the association to make sure each region had people ready to respond.
The livestock crash assist line will be officially launched in the next few weeks.
Full Story here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-10/livestock-crash-assistance-hotline/6608380
A new guide to help people sell fish responsibly online and transport them correctly to customers has been created by the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association.
The guide to the responsible distance selling of livestock was written in response to growing concern about the way live fish are being sold online and transported to customers.
"We firmly believe that bricks and mortar shops are the best place for people to buy fish. By offering customers the opportunity to watch and enjoy the beauty of live fish swimming around, we believe shops help to inspire and captivate people to become the next generation of fish-keepers. We do not believe that online-only shops are able to do this in quite the same way," said OATA Chief Executive Keith Davenport.
"But we also have to acknowledge that consumer habits are changing. Internet sales are here to stay and more people are buying live fish online. For some people living in more remote parts of the UK, travelling to their nearest aquatics shop may mean a very long trip so they turn to online shops to enable them to pursue their hobby.
"So we’ve produced a guide to the responsible selling of livestock online to help improve fish welfare and raise awareness and standards among both sellers and customers about the best way to buy and move fish.
"It gives advice on a range of issues from sales to packing and transporting fish. Our guide outlines the law on distance selling and also makes clear our expectations of what a responsible seller — whether business or private — should be doing when they sell fish and arrange delivery to customers. By knowing the standards that a responsible seller should be working to, we also think it will help customers to decide who the best people are to buy fish from online."
Key points within the guide include:
Buying fish online?
OATA has also created two leaflets aimed at customers buying fish and shops which sell fish to help consumers understand the issues of buying fish online. All documents, including the guide, can be found on OATA’s website.
Full Story here: http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=6815
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