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Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
Like Other Countries Do

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nationwide Recall of Hot-Pot Seasoning / Cattle-parts

Lion Pavilion, Ltd., based in Brooklyn, NY, is recalling approximately 16,213 pounds of seasoning products, which contain cattle by-products that were ineligible for import to the U.S.

The firm is recalling these products because China is not eligible to export beef products to the United States. The products subject to recall include:14-ounce packages of "Lion Pavilion HOT-POT SEASONING CONTAINING BOVINE CATTLE FAT."

The beef products were imported from China and sent to retail establishments nationwide.

APRIL-30-09: New York Firm Recalls Hot-Pot Seasoning Products [USDA: HOT-POT SEASONINGS RECALLED]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Jitters Spark Sell Off of U.S. Hogs

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. hog futures fell to a two-month low on Friday in a late sell-off amid nervousness over a swine flu outbreak that has killed up to 61 people in Mexico, a top export market for American pork.

The virus, a strain of flu never seen before, has spread into the United States, where eight people in California and Texas have been infected but have recovered.

"If they (consumers) decide to look at it, it can only be negative. There's nothing positive about it because it's (flu) on our property and then we have to worry about exports," said Gilbert Goodman, a lean hog futures trader.

"It's not a factor right now, but if they start changing their minds, you know how these markets move."

In 2008, Mexico was the top export market for U.S. beef, with sales valued at nearly $1.4 billion. It was the No. 2 market for U.S. pork, valued at $691.28 million.

Chicago grain markets that trade in corn, soybean and wheat showed no reaction to the outbreak of swine flu.

The World Health Organization said tests showed the virus in 12 of the Mexican patients had the same genetic structure as a new strain of swine flu seen in the eight Americans.

Traders said the market became more nervous late in the trading session -- even though the disease is not transmitted through hogs -- as news of the deaths in Mexico and infections in the United States spread on Friday.

Traders pointed to the slump in beef exports when the first case of mad cow disease in the United State in 2003 became a market factor as a lesson for their caution on Friday.

"You do have people spooked because of the swine flu," said James Burns, a lean hog trader.

"If the public starts to get involved with the market, and if they get wind of something that may or may not be rational, pressure is going to get out. I think you saw that pressure late in the day in the June," Burns said.

But futures did trade higher much of the day as cash hog markets have been trending higher on seasonal factors. Hog supplies ease in the spring, following reduced farrowings in the fall and as farmers focus on spring planting.

Expectations were for strong cash hog markets next week, despite negative packer margins, and even firmer cash markets next month.

May lean hogs closed off 0.550 cent at 69.000 cents per lb, while actively traded June was off 0.225 at 71.650 cents. May posted a new two-month low.

(Editing by Walter Bagley)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

ProMed Update: Swine Flu in NY?


This string of ProMed postings is arranged by the latest post first. In order to read them in order of the date of their publication you will have to read from the bottom up. As you page down, about midway, you will see a title, "Possible swine flu outbreak at NYC prep school." Although no cases in NY have been confirmed as of yet, all the test results arent in. The world health-watchers are waiting with bated breath. If any cases are confimred in NY, it would tend to support what they already suspect....that the virus or whatever the heck it is can be spread from person-to-person, which was unheard of before. Moreover, this hybred strain carries at least three different flu bugs, swine (two kinds of swine flu!), avian, and human. Meanwhile, below is the latest ProMed report;


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

[1] and [2] Strain identity
[3] Pandemic warning
[4] Outbreak in NY ?

[1] Strain identity
Date: Fri 24 Apr 2009
Source: CIDRAP News [edited]

Labs confirm same swine flu in deadly Mexican outbreaks
Samples from a deadly respiratory illness outbreak in Mexico match swine
influenza isolates from patients in the United States who had milder
illnesses, an official from the US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) said today [24 Apr 2009], fueling speculation that the
World Health Organization (WHO) could be on the verge of raising the global
pandemic alert level. Richard Besser, MD, CDC's acting director, told
reporters today during a press teleconference that the development is
worrisome. "Our concern has grown since yesterday, based on what we've
learned," he said. "We do not know if this will lead to the next pandemic,
but our scientists are monitoring it and take the threat very seriously."

The swine flu A/H1N1 strain has been confirmed in one more US citizen, a
child from San Diego who has recovered, raising the total number of US
cases to 8, Besser said. The virus contains gene segments from 4 different
influenza types: North American swine, North American avian, human, and
Eurasian swine.

WHO said today that Mexican officials have reported 3 separate events. In
the Federal District, the number of cases rose steadily through April, and
as of yesterday, more than 854 cases of pneumonia, 59 of them fatal, had
been reported in Mexico City. The illness outbreak in Mexico City prompted
the country's health minister, Jose Cordova, to cancel classes in Mexico
City today and advise students and adults to avoid crowded public places
and large events, Bloomberg News reported. Mexican officials also reported
24 cases with 3 deaths from an influenza-like illness in San Luis Potosi,
in the central part of the country, and 4 cases with no deaths in Mexicali,
near the US border, WHO reported.

The virus in Mexico has primarily struck otherwise healthy young adults,
WHO said, which is a departure from seasonal influenza, which typically
affects the very young and very old. CDC's laboratory analyzed 14 samples
from severely ill Mexican patients and found that 7 of them had the same
swine flu mix as the virus that infected the US patients. Besser called the
analysis preliminary, however, and said that CDC doesn't yet have enough
information to draw conclusions. "We still don't have enough information
about the extent of the spread or the illness spectrum." WHO said today
that Canada's national laboratory has confirmed swine flu A/H1N1 in 18
isolates from Mexican patients, 12 of which were genetically identical to
the swine flu viruses from California.

WHO and CDC both said they were sending representatives to Mexico to assist
local authorities, and WHO said it has alerted its Global Alert and
Response Network. Besser said that WHO will likely convene an expert panel
to discuss raising the pandemic alert level from 3 (human infection with
new influenza subtype with only rare human-to-human spread) to 4 (small
clusters with localized human-to-human transmission). He said the experts
will consider 3 factors: the novelty of the virus, disease severity, and
how easily transmission of the virus is sustained. Global health officials
might consider a containment strategy such as dispatching antiviral
medications to affected parts of Mexico in an attempt to stop the spread of
the virus, but Besser said that such a measure might not work, because
there are signs that the virus has already spread from human to human over
long distances. "A focused, well defined area is not something we've seen
here," he said. CDC officials have said the swine flu A/H1N1 virus is
susceptible to the newer antivirals oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir
(Relenza), but not the older ones, amantadine and rimantadine. Jeff
McLaughlin, a spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Relenza, told
CIDRAP News that the company is watching the swine flu developments
closely. Terry Hurley, a spokesman for Roche, which produces Tamiflu, said
its "rapid response stockpile" is on 24-hour standby, as usual, for
deployment to WHO, which has not yet requested it.

The threat from the swine flu virus serves as a reminder for individuals
and businesses to think about their own level of preparedness, Besser said.
"This is a time for people to be thinking about that teachable moment." So
far, federal officials have not changed their travel recommendations to
California, Texas, or Mexico, though they have issued an advisory about the
increased health risk in certain parts of Mexico, urging travelers to take
standard precautions such hand washing, staying home when sick, and using
good coughing and sneezing hygiene.

[byline: Lisa Schnirring]

communicated by:

[The "swine" influenza A(H1N1) virus associated with current outbreaks of
respiratory illness in the southern region of the USA and in Mexico appears
to be a complex reassortant containing genome components from avian, human,
and swine virus sources. Such a virus is unique and it is too early to
conclude that this virus has originated in swine.

According to the CDC website () swine
influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A
influenza viruses that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs.
Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans; however, human infections
with swine flu do occur, and cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu
viruses has been documented. From December 2005 through February 2009, a
total of 12 human infections with swine influenza were reported from 10
states in the United States. Since March 2009, a number of confirmed human
cases of the new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in
California, Texas, and Mexico have been identified.

Whatever the origin of the current outbreak virus it is likely that the
designation swine influenza virus will stick. - Mod.CP]

[2] Strain identity
Date: Fri 24 Apr 2009
Source: CBC News [abbreviated and edited]

Canadian lab confirms human swine flu cases in Mexico
"Today we have received results which confirm that the virus is human swine
influenza," Leona Aglukkaq told a press conference in Ottawa, Ontario,
Canada. A handful of cases of flu-like illness in Canadian residents who
recently returned from Mexico are being monitored; however, "there have
been no confirmed cases of human swine influenza yet" here, said Dr David
Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer.

Mexico sent 51 specimens for testing to Canada's National Microbiology
Laboratory on Wednesday [21 Apr 2009]. 16 positives of swine flu were found
among the samples. Mexican health minister Jose Angel Cordova said on
Friday that 20 people were killed in the outbreak and 1004 were infected
throughout the country, prompting WHO to convene an emergency meeting on
Saturday. Officials closed schools, museums and libraries in Mexico City on
Friday to limit spread of the virus.

Dr Rich Besser, acting head of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
said early analysis of Mexican samples of the virus showed it is very
similar to those responsible for 8 American cases, one confirmed on Friday.
All the US victims have recovered. Canada is working with Mexican and US
health officials to confirm that the virus in both countries is linked and
is in fact a new strain of influenza A H1N1 human swine virus, he added.

"This is an interesting virus. It's a brand new virus, not only to humans
but to the world," said Dr Frank Plummer, scientific director of the
Winnipeg lab. "About 80 per cent of the virus is highly related to a North
American body [?] of swine flu that's been around for a number of years,
but about 20 per cent of it comes from an Eurasian variety of swine flu 1st
seen in Thailand, so it's recombined [re-assorted ?] to create something
totally new. How it did that, where it did it, when it did it, I don't
think we know yet."

CDC said the current strain of swine flu includes genetic material from 4
sources: North American swine influenza viruses, North American avian
influenza viruses, human influenza virus, and swine influenza viruses found
in Asia and Europe -- a new combination that has not been recognized
anywhere in the world before. There appears to be human-to-human spread in
both the US and Mexico over a wide geographic area at this point, but
investigators are still checking for direct contact with swine.

WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl said the agency needs to determine whether
the outbreaks constitute an international public health threat. Hartl also
said 12 of 18 samples taken from victims in Mexico showed the virus had a
genetic structure identical to that of the virus found in California
earlier this week. But he said the agency needs more information before it
changes its pandemic alert level, which currently stands at 3 on a scale of
one to 6. The virus was 1st reported earlier this week as US health
officials scrambled to deal with the diagnoses of 7 people with the
never-before-seen strain in Texas and California. The states share a border
with Mexico not far from a town where 2 deaths were reported.

Hartl said health officials are dealing with 3 separate events in Mexico,
with most of the cases in and around the capital, Mexico City. Most of the
cases have occurred in healthy young adults, he added. "Because these cases
are not happening in the very old or the very young, which is normal with
seasonal influenza, this is an unusual event and a cause for heightened
concern," Hartl said in an interview from WHO headquarters in Geneva. It is
also rare to see such high flu activity so late in the season, he said.
"The end of April, especially in a place like Mexico, you would think that
we would see quite a steep decline," said Hartl.

On Thursday [23 Apr 2009], Canadian health officials issued advice warning
travellers who have recently returned from Mexico to be on alert for
flu-like symptoms that could be connected to the illness.

communicated by:
Steven McAuley
Medical student
University of Otago
Dunedin, New Zealand

[3] Pandemic warning
Date: Sat 25 Apr 2009
Source: MSNBC [edited]

Health officials prepare for swine flu "pandemic"
A new swine flu strain that has killed as many as 68 people and sickened
more than 1000 across Mexico has "pandemic potential," the WHO chief said
on Saturday [25 Apr 2009], and it may be too late to contain the sudden
outbreak. CDC has stepped up surveillance across the United States. "We are
worried," said CDC's Dr Anne Schuchat. "We don't think we can contain the
spread of this virus," said Schuchat, interim deputy director for the
Science and Public Health Program. "We are likely to find it in many other
places." Because cases have been detected in California, Texas, and in
several sites in Mexico, officials now must work to detect infections and
reduce their severity, if possible. "It's time to prepare, time to think
ahead and to be prepared for some uncertainty," she told reporters in a
telephone briefing on Saturday.

Two dozen new suspected cases were reported Saturday [25 Apr 2009] in
Mexico City alone. Schools were closed and all public events suspended in
the capital until further notice -- including more than 500 concerts and
other gatherings in the metropolis of 20 million. A hot line fielded 2366
calls in its 1st hours from frightened city residents who suspected they
might have the disease. Soldiers and health workers handed out masks at
subway stops, and hospitals dealt with crowds of people seeking help.

WHO's director-general, Margaret Chan, said the outbreak of the
never-before-seen virus is a very serious situation and has "pandemic
potential". But she said it is still too early to tell if it would become a
pandemic. "The situation is evolving quickly," Chan said in a telephone
news conference in Geneva. "A new disease is by definition poorly
understood. "This virus is a mix of human, pig, and bird strains that
prompted the WHO to meet Saturday to consider declaring an international
public health emergency -- a step that could lead to travel advisories,
trade restrictions and border closures. Spokesman Gregory Hartl said a
decision would not be made on Saturday.

Scientists have warned for years about the potential for a pandemic from
viruses that mix genetic material from humans and animals. Another reason
to worry is that authorities said the dead so far don't include vulnerable
infants and elderly. The Spanish flu pandemic, which killed at least 40
million people worldwide in 1918-19, also 1st struck otherwise healthy
young adults. This swine flu and regular flu can have similar symptoms --
mostly fever, cough, and sore throat, though some of the US victims who
recovered also experienced vomiting and diarrhea. But unlike with regular
flu, humans don't have natural immunity to a virus that includes animal
genes -- and new vaccines can take months to bring into use.

But experts at WHO and CDC say the nature of this outbreak may make
containment impossible. Already, more than 1000 people have been infected
in as many as 14 of Mexico's 32 states, according to daily newspaper El
Universal. Tests show 20 people have died of the swine flu, and 48 other
deaths were probably due to the same strain.

CDC and Canadian health officials were studying samples sent from Mexico,
and airports around the world were screening passengers from Mexico for
symptoms of the new flu strain, saying they may quarantine passengers. But
CDC officials dismissed the idea of trying that in the United States. They
noted there had been no direct contact between the cases in the San Diego
and San Antonio areas, suggesting the virus had already spread from one
geographic area through other undiagnosed people. "Anything that would be
about containing it right now would purely be a political move," said
Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota pandemic expert.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said his government only discovered the
nature of the virus late on Thursday, with the help of international
laboratories. "We are doing everything necessary," he said in a brief
statement. But the government had said for days that its growing flu
caseload was nothing unusual, so the sudden turnaround angered many who
wonder if Mexico missed an opportunity to contain the outbreak.

Across Mexico's capital, residents reacted with fatalism and confusion,
anger, and mounting fear at the idea that their city may be ground zero for
a global epidemic. Authorities urged people to stay home if they feel sick
and to avoid shaking hands or kissing people on the cheeks.

communicated by:
Charles H Calisher, PhD
Professor, Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology
3195 Rampart Rd, Delivery Code 1690, Foothills Campus
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1690
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Colorado State University

[4] Suspected outbreak in New York
Date: Fri 24 Apr 2009
Source: WCBS TV News [edited]

Possible swine flu outbreak at NYC prep school
New York City health officials say that about 75 students at a Queens high
school have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms and testing is under way to
rule out the strain of swine flu that has killed dozens in Mexico. The
Health Department's Dr Don Weiss said on Friday [24 Apr 2009] that a team
of agency doctors and investigators were dispatched to the private St
Francis Preparatory School the previous day after students reported fever,
sore throat, cough, aches, and pains. No one has been hospitalized.

The handful of sick students who remained at the school were tested for a
variety of flu strains. If they're found to have a known human strain that
would rule out swine flu. Results could take several days. In the meantime,
the school says it's postponing an evening event and sanitizing the
building over the weekend.

Mexican authorities said 60 people may have died from a swine flu virus in
Mexico, and world health officials worry it could unleash a global flu
epidemic. Mexico City closed schools, museums, libraries, and state-run
theaters across the metropolis on Friday in hopes of containing the
outbreak that has sickened more than 900. The US Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) said tests show some of the Mexico victims
died from the same new strain of swine flu that sickened 8 people in Texas
and California. It's a frightening new strain that combines genetic
material from pigs, birds and humans.

WHO was looking closely at the 60 deaths -- most of them in or near
Mexico's capital. It wasn't yet clear what flu they died from, but
spokesman Thomas Abraham said "We are very, very concerned. We have what
appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human," he
said. "It's all hands on deck at the moment."

WHO raised its internal alert system on Friday, preparing to divert more
money and personnel to dealing with the outbreak. President Felipe Calderon
cancelled a trip and met with his Cabinet to coordinate Mexico's response.
The government has 500 000 flu vaccines and planned to administer them to
health workers, the highest risk group. There are no vaccines available for
the general public in Mexico, and authorities urged people to avoid
hospitals unless they had a medical emergency, since hospitals are centers
of infection. Some Mexican residents have started wearing blue surgical
masks for extra protection, reports CBS News correspondent Adrienne Bard.
The federal health minister has warned people not to go near anyone with a
respiratory infection and to avoid kissing -- a traditional Mexican greeting.

communicated by:
ProMED-mail rapporteur Mary Marshall

[If infection by the novel swine flu virus is confirmed, it will represent
a dramatic extension of the range of the outbreak virus from the southern
states and Mexico to the north east of the United States. There is no
reason to conclude at present, however, that this is anything other than an
outbreak of seasonal influenza virus infection (or for that matter another
common respiratory virus). - Mod.CP]

[see also:
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, swine, human - N America 20090425.1552
Acute respiratory disease - Mexico, swine virus susp 20090424.1546
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, swine, human - USA (02): (CA, TX) 20090424.1541
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, swine, human - USA: (CA) 20090422.1516
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, swine, human - Spain 20090220.0715
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, swine, human - USA (TX) 20081125.3715
Influenza A (H2N3) virus, swine - USA 20071219.4079
Influenza, swine, human - USA (IA): November 2006 20070108.0077]


Thursday, April 23, 2009


Some say Bovine TB is in epicdemic proportions throughout the U.S. and is a greater threat to human health than even mad cow. **********************************************
A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 23 Apr 2009
Source: Texas Animal Health Commission [edited]

Preliminary test results indicate that a dairy in west Texas is infected
with cattle tuberculosis (TB). Cattle TB is caused by the _Mycobacterium
bovis_ bacteria and can cause internal lesions in animals. Milk from
commercial dairies is pasteurized, killing bacteria with heat, so there is
not public health concern from this herd detection.

"Animals from the 2600-head dairy were being prepared for sale, and some
reacted to TB skin tests. The follow-up blood tests on these animals also
were positive," said Dr Bob Hillman, Texas state veterinarian and executive
director of the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state's livestock and
poultry health regulatory agency. "Samples were collected from 2 of the
cattle slaughtered for examination, and the tissues were submitted to the
National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa for additional
testing. The lesions are microscopically compatible with TB, and polymerase
chain reaction (PCR) tests on the tissues have detected the DNA, or the
basic genetic material of the disease. The final confirmation is based on a
culture, which may take several weeks. It involves identifying bacterial
growth from the tissue samples as _Mycobacterium bovis_."

"We will be determining the dispensation of the herd in the next few days,"
said Dr Hillman. "An epidemiological investigation has been launched to
determine the source or possible spread of the disease."

Texas regained cattle TB-free status in fall 2006 after losing the coveted
status in spring 2002. Dr Hillman noted that one TB-infected herd would not
affect the state's status, but 2 infected herds within a 48-month period
would result in a loss of TB-free status. Texas' most recent TB-infected
herd was a dairy, detected in 2004 and depopulated. California lost its
TB-free status in September 2008, and Minnesota, Michigan and New Mexico
are split states, meaning areas within these states have different TB
statuses. All other states currently are TB-free.

communicated by:

[The loss of a "free" status for this disease places an extra burden on any
producers selling or shipping animals. There is a cost to testing the
animals, and it certainly requires advance planning to allow a minimum of 3
-- and more likely 5 -- days ahead of when the animals need to be shipped.
The producer can no longer make arrangements and proceed to ship the
animals but rather must test in advance.

It seems likely this will be a positive case. - Mod.TG]

[see also:
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (10): (CA) 20081218.3981
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (09): (ND) 20081208.3856
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (08): (MN) 20081207.3839
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (07): (IN) 20081205.3826
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (03): (MN) 20080222.0718
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (02): (MN) 20080205.0472
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (CA) 20080202.0429
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA: (MN) 20080123.0285]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cattle Industry Losing Steam

From "Beef"
By Mike Fritz

Private grazing rates across the western U.S. inched up just 1.4% over the past year to $14.70/animal unit month (AUM) as of Jan. 1. That's down sharply from the prior year's 5% pace and the smallest annual increase since 2006, according to the latest USDA January Cattle Survey.

More downward pressure on lease rates is expected as the impact of the global economic slump crimps consumer demand for meat and ranchers respond to weakening operating margins by making deeper herd cuts.

“Grazing-rate increases over the past three years were being driven by higher cattle prices,” notes Walt Richburg, national director of J.P. Morgan Farm and Ranch Management in Forth Worth, TX. He oversees 1.3 million acres of ranchland in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and North Dakota.

“Three years ago, a 600-lb. weaned steer would bring $1.20/lb.; now you are getting just 90¢/lb. Cow-calf operators are projected to lose $70/cow,” he adds.

Dry conditions in many parts of the U.S., high feed costs and attractive cull-cow slaughter prices prompted a higher than expected 2% cut in the U.S. cattle herd last year to 94.5 million head.

In January, a flood of cull-cow shipments to San Angelo Packing Co., San Angelo, TX, created a two- to three-day processing backlog, says Vernon Fritze, a cattle buyer for the packer. If dry weather persists over the next 60 days, Fritze predicts another big influx of cows from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

The contracting cattle herd means there are 883,600 fewer beef cows and replacement heifers competing for pasture than a year ago. The U.S. beef herd is expected to continue to contract through 2010.

Up in Nebraska, California
The western region's firmest pasture markets are in Nebraska and California, where rates rose an average 8.7% to $25/AUM, and 7.9% to $17.80/AUM, respectively, over last year.

Lease rates climbed in Nebraska, despite a 2% drop in state cattle numbers. The escalating grazing rates may be a by-product of producers moving cattle from droughty southern states to Nebraska, notes economist Bruce Johnson at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Cattle of absentee owners require more oversight by landowners and these duties are reflected in higher grazing fees.

USDA's survey reflects state averages. Local rental rates vary widely based on such factors as forage quality, proximity to roads, the availability of stock water, size of the acreage, lease term and landowner services. Charges for counting, checking health and water, providing salt and minerals, and maintaining fences vary with each situation.

Table 1 reports average grazing rates for three common pricing methods: per AUM, a cow-calf basis, and per head. An AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

The January survey shows that grazing rates contracted in Colorado, Idaho and Washington and held flat in Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. All except New Mexico and Texas posted net declines in year-over-year cattle numbers.

Ranchers who run cattle in proximity to federal grazing lands benefit from a “spillover effect” of the below-market rates charged by federal agencies. The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service left the federal grazing fee for western pasturelands unchanged again this year at $1.35/AUM. The fee, which took effect March 1, is the lowest rate allowed under the current formula. The fee applies to more than 26,000 grazing permits and leases on public land administered by the two agencies.

These federal leases set a lower bar for the grazing rates that private landowners can charge. This is why private grazing rates in Nebraska's western Panhandle region — which backs up against federal grazing land in Wyoming — lag behind the rates in other parts of Nebraska, Johnson says.

At the state level, grazing fees on state-owned trust lands moved up and down, depending on whether tracts are leased via rate formulas or competitive bids. In Oregon, state officials cut 2009 grazing rates 3.2% to $4.90/AUM for the 638,000 acres of arid to semi-arid state rangeland in central and eastern Oregon. However, a new fee formula likely to be in place for 2010 would raise grazing fees about 46%.

Flat in Colorado
In Colorado, state grazing lease rates are flat at $10.78/AUM in the northeast to $9.13/AUM in the southwest. The Colorado State Land Board is due to adjust its grazing rate formula in 2010.

Like cropland, the pasture leasing market is bifurcated between the negotiated and competitive-bid markets. In Oklahoma, the Commissioners of Land Office annually solicits lease bids for a portion of the 475,000 acres of pasture owned by the state School Land Trust. In northwest Oklahoma, competitive lease bids on grazing land run $13.50 to $19/AUM in Harper, Woodward, Woods and Ellis Counties, says Keith Kuhlman, director of the Commissioners of Land Office. That's well ahead of the $9/AUM state average reported by USDA. In October, a 13,235-acre pasture tract in Cimarron County fetched $20.14/AUM for a five-year lease.

To see a map depicting the five-year change in cattle-grazing rates for 17 Western states

To see results of the Federal Reserve Bank Survey of Pasture & Ranchland Lease Rates

Continue on Page 2

Moving north to the Kansas Flint Hills, net rents to landowners for bluestem pasture are expected to hold even at $15-$26/acre, says Mike Holder, Chase County Extension. Custom-grazing fees for the early intensive grazing period are running unchanged at $65-$75/head for 550-lb. calves to graze for 90 days.

Feedlot costs have eased to 70-85¢/lb. of gain, narrowing the appeal of grass pasture. Holder figures it now costs 55-60¢/lb. of gain on grass, including the extra transportation costs and higher weather and health risks associated with pasture.

In Nebraska, net grazing rates on state-owned land are generally 17-19% higher in the eastern and western Sandhills, reports Ron Vance, field supervisor with the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds. State leases for sandy soil pasture range from an average $28/AUM in the western Sandhills, to $35/AUM in the eastern Sandhills.

Dropping in South Dakota
In South Dakota, which rents nearly 750,000 acres of pastureland in the northwest quarter of the state via competitive bids, officials look for grazing rates to drop. Fewer cows, lower cattle prices, tighter credit limits, improved pasture conditions — especially immediately west of the Missouri River — have reduced demand for pasture.

“We don't expect to see as much interest from neighbors or outsiders to challenge existing lessees,” says Mike Cornelison, a land agent with the South Dakota School and Public Lands office in Pierre. “Margins are tighter, so they will have to watch what they bid this year.”

The state nudged its minimum bid from $11/AUM in 2008 to $11.07. Last year, a young cow-calf producer determined to expand his pasture base bid $102.41/AUM for 160 acres of grass in eastern Potter County.

In Missouri, cattleman John Beltz reports that open-land pasture is fetching about $25/acre or $8/head/month, with the producer maintaining fences. That rate has been stable for several years, says Beltz, who runs 225 cows and 600 stocker cattle on pasture annually in Howell and Texas Counties.

Mike Fritz is editor and publisher of Farmland Investor Letter®, a monthly subscription newsletter providing farmland market intelligence for landowners and investors. Reach him at or visit

Interesting Note: While ranchers can graze their private cattle on public lands for less than $20.00 per head per year, our govt pays these same ranchers to "allow" the grazing of some 22,000 wild horses on these same lands, but pays the ranchers $500 PER HEAD per yr to allow them to do so...this is YOUR taxpayer dollars we are talking about here. Get the cows off of our public lands and let the wild horses stay and graze for free, it should be.

For more on the wild horse crisis, click on title above to go to;

Monday, April 20, 2009

Prospera to Prosper from USDA Loans

Prospera Business Network, a Montana firm, to channel $500K in USDA loans. Maybe some of the money will be distributed to go towards the building of the foreign owned horse-slaughter houses they want so badly to build. Think it isnt so? This money-trail bears careful watching.


By Chronicle Staff

Prospera Business Network has been chosen to channel $500,000 in USDA Rural Development loans to spur economic development and create or save jobs in the greater Bozeman area.

The Bozeman-based nonprofit organization was one of 20 organization across the country selected to receive a total of $12.7 million in loans, according to a statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s office.

“Investing in local businesses is one of the most effective ways to ensure that rural communities continue to be economically viable and attractive places to live and work,” Vilsack said. “The funding announced today reflects President Obama’s commitment to stimulate rural economies.”

The money, which comes through the USDA’s Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program, is provided to community-development or regional-planning groups that then re-lend it to local businesses, according to the statement.

Loans must be used to start new businesses, expand existing ones or create or retain jobs.

Prospera was the only Montana-based organization chosen for the program.

For more information, visit

Prominent Valley attorney dies of rare brain disease

by Luci Scott - Apr. 18, 2009 02:40 PM
The Arizona Republic

A prominent Phoenix attorney has died of an apparent case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is so rare it literally strikes one in a million. It was the first case recorded in Arizona this year; only two cases were confirmed in the state last year.

T. Michael Daggett, 63, who had worked at the law firm Stinson Morrison Hecker for seven years, died April 11 at his home in Paradise Valley.

A conclusive diagnosis has yet to be made, said his wife, Robin. Brain tissue is being analyzed by experts at the Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center in Cleveland.

The state Department of Health Services said early indications are that the disease was “sporadic CJD,” one of several prion diseases that people sometimes confuse with variant CJD, commonly known as mad-cow disease.

Symptoms are similar, so the two diseases are confused because they both involve a buildup of a misshapen protein called a prion.

Sporadic CJD, however, is not caused by eating tainted meat.

Medical science does not know the cause of sporadic CJD. A small percentage is genetic, but Robin Daggett said there was no other case of the disease in his family.

Shoana Anderson, acting chief for the office of infectious-disease services at the DHS, would not discuss Daggett's death because of privacy concerns.

However, she confirmed that an adult male had died of what was apparently sporadic CJD.

Anderson said the brain-tissue examination in Cleveland will likely confirm the diagnosis.

“This testing could indicate a change (in diagnosis), but it's unlikely,” Anderson said.

“People will hear prion disease and automatically assume it was mad-cow disease, but we do not think it was mad-cow disease.” Sporadic CJD is not contagious, she said.

Dr. Jiri Safar, associate director of the surveillance center in Cleveland, also declined to speak specifically about Daggett's case. He said, however, that “prion disease is devastating; it looks like accelerated Alzheimer's disease.”

The average survival time after symptoms first appear is six months, he said.

Daggett's symptoms appeared in January when his head felt pressure, as though he had allergies. In mid-February, he began slurring his speech and felt as though his tongue were swollen. An emergency-room visit ruled out a stroke or brain tumor.

Neurologists at Barrow Neurological Institute performed MRIs, spinal taps and EEGs.

His motor functions were disappearing. He slipped into a light coma about March 27 and the diagnosis came in on March 30.

Michael Manning, managing partner of the law firm where Daggett worked, said he will be missed.

“He was an accomplished lawyer, a fearsome litigator and was a very astute real-estate lawyer, ” Manning said.

Daggett and his wife met in 1992 at a spiritual retreat at which participants also did painting and sculpture.

Robin said her husband was helpful and kind to people, financially and emotionally, and he was generous with his time and knowledge, giving free advice but not formally calling it pro bono work.

“He was a fun-loving person to be around,” she said. “He had quite a sense of humor.”

More information: and

FDA Plans to Break Food Safety Promise to America

Op-Ed by R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to break its promise to American consumers to timely upgrade the animal feed ban designed to protect U.S. consumers and the U.S. cattle herd against the heightened risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease).

Scientific studies have linked BSE to cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans, an invariably fatal disease that most likely results from human consumption of infectious material from cattle with BSE. There have been 212 human deaths in 11 countries caused by vCJD, including the United Kingdom, and there are five known living humans with the disease.

On April 9, FDA published a special filing in the Federal Register giving the public only seven days to comment on the agency's plans to delay the scheduled April 27, 2009, implementation of its upgraded BSE feed ban.

The U.S. faces a heightened risk from mad cow disease because it continues to import millions of live cattle from Canada, where the disease prevalence is between three cases per million cattle to eight cases per million cattle. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states this prevalence in Canadian cattle is 18-fold to 48-fold higher than the prevalence in the United States.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and scientists the world over stated that Canada's heightened BSE risk cannot be effectively mitigated with the basic ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban implemented in both Canada and the U.S. in 1997. Following the detection of multiple cases of mad cow disease in cattle born years after Canada's original feed ban, Canada finally relented to scientists' urgings and upgraded its basic feed ban in July 2007. The new feed ban protects Canadian consumers against known BSE transmission routes: cross-contamination and inadvertent feeding of contaminated cattle parts. Unfortunately, 10 of Canada's 16 native mad cow disease cases were found in animals born after the implementation of Canada's original feed ban.

One year ago, the FDA issued a news release touting its promise to upgrade the U.S. feed ban by stating, "FDA Strengthens Safeguards for Consumers of Beef," and informing consumers that the new feed ban would become effective on April 27, 2009, after allowing time for the industry to adapt its practices to the new requirements.

But even before that, in late 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued regulations that now allow even higher-risk Canadian cattle into the U.S. – cattle over 30 months (OTM) of age. USDA's base-case risk model predicts that the importation of OTM cattle will result in the introduction of 19 BSE-infected cattle into the U.S. causing the subsequent infection of two U.S. cattle over the next 20 years. Human exposure to BSE also was predicted to increase by more than 15 percent compared the earlier base-case modeling conducted in 2003 by Harvard University.

The unconscionable irony is that the U.S. is importing millions of higher-risk Canadian cattle – allowing them to commingle with the U.S. cattle herd and to freely enter the U.S. human food supply and animal feed supply – without affording U.S. consumers and the U.S. cattle herd the benefit of the scientific safeguards implemented by Canada to protect its citizens and its cattle herd from the BSE infectivity known to be circulating in its cattle herd. In short, the U.S. is accepting Canada's higher BSE risk without the protections necessary to mitigate that higher risk.

The thousands of U.S. cattle producer-members of R-CALF USA recognize that we have an absolute obligation to protect our U.S. consumers from mad cow disease. Together, the USDA and FDA are undermining our efforts. Under no circumstances should FDA delay implementation of the new feed ban, which already has been found necessary to mitigate Canada's heightened BSE risk, while the U.S. continues to import Canada's higher-risk cattle.

Either USDA must immediately eliminate the source of this heightened BSE risk by prohibiting the importation of OTM Canadian cattle, or, FDA must immediately implement the new feed ban to mitigate this heightened risk. There are no responsible alternatives. The FDA has an absolute duty to protect U.S. citizens from the foreign health threat of BSE and must not kowtow to the very industry trade associations – the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Foundation – that are fighting to expose U.S. consumers to Canada's BSE risk before Canada can demonstrate that it has eradicated this deadly disease from its cattle herd.

Note: To view/download a copy of R-CALF USA's comments filed with FDA, please visit the "Food Safety" link at

Click on title for article;

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No Such Thing as Humane Slaughter

From Cradle to Grave:The Facts Behind "Humane" Eating
By Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

I have yet to meet a non-vegetarian who didn´t care about the treatment of animals raised and killed for human consumption. Even people who eat meat, aware on some level that the experience is unpleasant for the animals, will tell you they object to unnecessary abuse and cruelty. They declare that they buy only "humane" meat, "free-range" eggs and "organic" milk, perceiving themselves as ethical consumers and these products as the final frontier in the fight against animal cruelty. Thou gh we kill over 10 billion land animals every year to please our palates, we never question the absurdity of this sacred societal ritual. Instead, we absolve ourselves by making what we think are guilt-free choices, failing to recognize the paradox of "humane slaughter" and never really knowing what the whole experience is for an animal from cradle (domestication) to grave (our bodies).

Though modern animal factories look nothing like what is idealized in children´s books and advertisements, there are also many misconceptions about the practices and principles of a "humane" operation. The unappetizing process of turning live animals into isolated body parts and ground-up chunks of flesh begins at birth and ends in youth, as the animals are babies when they are sent to slaughter, whether they are raised conventionally or in operations that are labeled "humane," "sustainable," "natural," "free-range," "cage-free," "heritage-bred," "grass-fed" or "organic."

Whether it is a large or small enterprise, manipulating animals´ reproductive systems for human gain is at the heart of the animal agriculture industry. The keeping of male studs, the stimulation of the genitals, the collection of semen, the castrating of males, and the insemination into the female are not exactly on people´s minds when they sit down to dine. Many animals endure the stressful, often painful, and humiliating=2 0process of artificial insemination. Dairy cows are strapped into what the industry terms a "rape rack;" "natural turkeys" have to be artificially inseminated because their breasts are so large they´re unable to mate in the usual manner; and "free-range" egg farms perpetuate unthinkable cruelty by buying their hens from egg hatcheries that kill millions of day-old male chicks every year.

Dying to Live
Many who speak of "humane" meat are really referring to the conditions under which animals are raised-not killed. And there´s a big difference. When their bodies are fat enough for the dinner table, spent and overused from producing eggs and milk, and no longer useful in the way they were meant to be, as in the case of male studs on dairy farms, animals from both conventional and "humane" farms are all transported (first to the feedlot in the case of "beef cattle") to the slaughterhouse. The transportation process is excruciating and often fatal. The only law designed to "protect" animals in transport is weak, forcing them to endure oppressive heat, bitter cold, stress, overcrowding, and respiratory problems from ammonia-laden urine.

Regardless of how they´re raised, all animals killed for the refrigerated aisles of the grocery store are sent to mechanized slaughterhouses where their lives are brutally ended. By law, animals must be slaughtered at USDA-certified facilities, where horrific acts of cruelty occur on a daily basis. Everyone from federal meat inspectors to slaughterhouse workers have admitted to routinely witnessing the strangling, beating, scalding, skinning, and butchering of live, fully conscious animals.

When we tell ourselves we´re eating meat from "humanely raised animals," we´re leaving out a huge part of the equation. The slaughtering of an animal is a bloody and violent act, and death does not come easy for those who want to live.

Born to Die
As much as we don´t want to believe we are the cause of someone else´s suffering, our consumption of meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products perpetuates the pointless violence and unnecessary cruelty that is inherent in the deliberate breeding and killing of animals for human consumption. If we didn´t have a problem with it, we wouldn´t have to make up so many excuses and justifications. We dance around the truth, label our choices "humane," and try to find some kind of compromise so we can have our meat and eat it, too.

The fundamental problems we keep running into do not arise merely from how we raise animals but that we eat animals. Clearly we can survive-and in fact, thrive-on a plant-based diet; we don´t need to kill animals to be healthy, and in fact animal fat and protein are linked with many human diseases. What do es it say about us that when given the opportunity to prevent cruelty and violence, we choose to turn away-because of tradition, culture, habit, convenience or pleasure? We are not finding the answers we are looking for because we are asking the wrong questions.

The movement toward "humanely raised food animals" simply assuages our guilt more than it actually reduces animal suffering. If we truly want our actions to reflect the compassion for animals we say we have, then the answer is very simple. We can stop eating them. How can this possibly be considered anything but a rational and merciful response to a violent and vacuous ritual? Every animal born into this world for his or her flesh, eggs or milk-only to be killed for human pleasure-has the same desire for maternal comfort and protection, the same ability to feel pain, and the same impulse to live as any living creature. There´s nothing humane about breeding animals only to kill them, and there´s nothing humane about ending the life of a healthy animal in his or her youth. In short, there is nothing humane about eating meat.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau founded Compassionate Cooks ( to empower people to make informed food choices and to debunk myths about eating vegan. Through cooking classes, podcasts, articles, and her first-of-its-kind cooking DVD, she shares the joys and benefits of a plant-based diet. She can be reached at colleen@

P.S. Add this video link to your signature and/or spread it around so the world can know about this please!


Saturday, April 18, 2009


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 17 Apr 2009
Source: Salisbury Post [edited]

Calf dies after exposure to rabies
A calf on a farm in Gold Hill has died as a result of exposure to
rabies. The diagnosis was made after the calf's owner sent the body
of the animal to a lab in Raleigh for a necropsy. It died last week
[week of 6-10 Apr 2009].

The owner said he has been involved in the raising of cattle for
about 50 years, and this is the 1st time one of his animals has
contracted rabies. He said someone saw a skunk in one of his pastures
last month, and said he thinks the female calf may have contracted
rabies from that animal. "They say they're real bad about carrying
diseases," he said of skunks.

He raises about 15 head of cattle on his farm on Spring Lake Lane. He
admitted that anything he knows about rabies and cattle, he's learned
only since his calf died. "I'm not very familiar with it, and I wish
I wasn't this familiar," he said. "I'd never crossed this bridge
before." He said the diseased calf was only about 2 or 3 months old.
He said most of his cattle are registered and said the calf would
have been registered had it lived.

The calf's owner said that when one of his heads of cattle undergoes
a necropsy, the result typically reveals the animal died of pneumonia
or some similar ailment. It is almost impossible, he said, to know
what killed a head of cattle without a necropsy.

Fran Pepper of Rowan County Animal Control agreed. She said even when
an animal has rabies, there are no sure signs of the disease. "Rabies
doesn't exhibit the same symptoms," Pepper said. "Some will walk the
fence line and bellow and some won't. There's really no tell-tale
signs of the disease." She said that while this is the 1st case of
rabies being diagnosed in cattle in Rowan County this year, it's not
that unusual. Pepper said there have been several instances of rabies
being diagnosed in cattle elsewhere in the state this year.

This was the 5th case of rabies reported in Rowan County this year.
The calf's owner and his wife are undergoing post-exposure rabies
shots due to their handling of the calf just prior to its death.

[Byline: Steve Huffman]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Susan Baekeland

[To find North Carolina, go to:

Gold Hill, Rowan County (there are 3 places by this name in North Carolina):

- Mod.MHJ]

[See also:
Rabies, wildlife, equine, human exposure - USA (02): (NC, GA) 20090410.1378
Rabies, wildlife, equine, human exposure - USA: (NC, GA) 20090409.1364
Rabies, skunk - USA (02): (NC) 20081122.3692
Rabies, human, animal - USA (FL, NC, SC) 20070529.1722
Rabies, canine, human post exposure treatment - USA (NC) 20070104.0040
Rabies, canines, raccoons - USA (NC) 20060406.1038
Rabies, raccoon - USA (NC)(02) 20040323.0811
Rabies, raccoon - USA (NC) 20040308.0658]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Slaughterhouse Fire Causes Town to Evacuate


Last update: April 17, 2009 - 5:38 PM

ST. CHARLES, Minn. — Authorities evacuated this southeastern Minnesota town Friday afternoon as a large fire at a poultry processing plant threatened the anhydrous ammonia tanks inside.

Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand said there would be no public access to the city of about 3,600 because of the fire at North Star Foods. Both major highways through the city were closed. Reporters were kept about 2 miles away. Smoke from the fire could be seen 10 miles away by late morning, and by late afternoon three torando-like clouds of gray smoke were visible from five miles away.

Civil defense sirens blared to warn residents to get out and officials went door-to-door ordering residents to head toward Lewiston, about 10 miles to the east. Sheriff's deputies and four buses began door-to-door evacuations of people and pets at about 3:30 p.m.

"We are suggesting people find alternate housing for the evening," City Administrator Nick Koverman said.

Evacuation centers were established at the Lewiston high school and other sites.

A hazardous materials team from Rochester was summoned as smoke poured from the sprawling building. Firefighters from surrounding cities converged to help fight the blaze. Police Chief William Eckles said a few firefighters suffered some smoke inhalation, but there were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

Anhydrous ammonia is used as a refrigerant in the plant and can cause severe burns, particularly to the eyes, throat and lungs. Information from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture indicates people exposed to the chemical need immediate medical care. Koverman said there were about 30,000 pounds of it inside the plant.

North Star Foods plant manager Mark Eads said the fire started late Friday morning above one of the ovens in where chickens are cooked. "Within two to three minutes, there was smoke coming out of the room pretty heavy," Eads said.

Carolyn Nicklay, who works in human resources for North Star Foods, said she called 911 and firefighters quickly arrived. "Everybody's out. Everybody's OK. That's all that matters," she said.

North Star Foods is the second-largest employer in the city with about 150 workers.

Business people in town were already concerned about what happens next. Alissa Spitzer, manager of the Good Sport Bar and Grill downtown, served drinks and noted, "A lot of people work there."

Amber Kesler, one of Spitzer's customers, agreed. "They might all lose their jobs," Kesler said. "And the way the economy is going, you don't want to lose your job."


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 16 Apr 2009
Source: CFIA Press Release [edited]
Click on title above to see report:

Report on the Investigation of the 14th Case of BSE in Canada
On 25 Jul 2008 a commercial beef cow in Northern Alberta was sampled
by a private practitioner under Canada's National BSE Surveillance
Program. Brain samples from this animal were sent to the Alberta
Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) laboratory where they were
screened for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) using a Bio-Rad
rapid test on 6 Aug 2008. The result of this preliminary test did not
rule out BSE. In accordance with the prescribed testing protocol, the
test was repeated and produced a reaction a 2nd time. Brain samples
were then sent to the National BSE Reference Laboratory in
Lethbridge, Alberta. Additional rapid tests for BSE (Prionics-Check
PrioStrip and BioRad TeSeE ELISA) were conducted at the National BSE
Reference Laboratory to validate the result of the screening test and
were positive on 12 Aug 2008. The Prionics-Check Western and the
Hybrid Western Blot was positive on 14 Aug 2008. BSE was confirmed on
14 Aug 2008 using the Scrapie Associated Fibril Immunoblot procedure.
The carcass was secured at the sampling site. No part of the carcass
entered the human food supply or animal feed chain.

The CFIA immediately initiated an epidemiological investigation based
on the recommended BSE guidelines (Terrestrial Animal Health Code
2008) of the World Organisation for Animal Health, referred to as the
OIE. Specifically, the CFIA followed the recommended BSE guidelines
for a country with controlled risk status and investigated:

* the feed cohort, comprising all cattle which, during their 1st
year of life, were reared with the BSE case during its 1st year of
life, and which investigation showed consumed the same potentially
contaminated feed during that period, or
* the birth cohort, comprising all cattle born in the same herd as,
and within 12 months of the birth of the BSE case, if the above
cannot be identified and
* feed to which the animal may have been exposed early in its life.

[Members should read the full script. The 2 key paragraphs read as
follows. - Mod.MHJ]

Neither of the 2 commercial feed manufacturers has production records
dating back to the period of interest. As a result, trace back
inspections at the manufacturers of commercial feeds distributed to
the birth farm did not yield mixing formulas for the period of
interest. As this was subsequent to the implementation of the 1997
Mammalian Feed Ban, it is very unlikely that ruminant meat and bone
meal was intentionally used in the formulation of any of the 3
commercially prepared rations or loose mineral salt distributed to
the birth farm.

However, as production records are not available for review, it is
not possible to rule out that contamination during production could
have taken place. One of the 2 commercial feed manufacturers did
handle ruminant meat and bone meal (prohibited material/PM), however
they did have procedures in place to prevent the contamination of
ruminant feed with PM. The other commercial feed manufacturer did not
handle PM directly, though they did receive a premix used in the
manufacture of one of the feeds received by the case farm, from
another facility which did handle PM.

Communicated by:

Date: 16 Apr 2009
Source: CFIA Press Release [edited]

Report on the Investigation of the 15th Case of BSE in Canada
On 3 Nov 2008, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sampled a
Holstein cow under Canada's National BSE Surveillance Program. Brain
samples were received by the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture
and Lands (BCMAL) Laboratory, where they were screened for bovine
spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) using a Prionics rapid test. The
result of this preliminary test did not rule out BSE. In accordance
with the prescribed testing protocol, the test was repeated and
produced a reaction a 2nd time. Brain samples were then sent to the
National BSE Reference Laboratory in Lethbridge, Alberta. Additional
testing for BSE (Prionics-Check PrioStrip, BioRad TeSeE ELISA,
Prionics-Check Western and Hybrid Western Blot) was conducted at the
National BSE Reference Laboratory to validate the result of the
screening test and was positive on 6 Nov 2008. The Scrapie Associated
Fibril Immunoblot procedure was positive on 7 Nov 2008 and the
immunohistochemistry procedure was positive on 14 Nov 2008. The
carcass was secured at the sampling site and will subsequently be
transferred to CFIA's Lethbridge laboratory for incineration. No part
of the carcass entered the human food supply or animal feed chain.

[Members are encouraged to read the full report. However the key
paragraph reads as follows. - Mod.MHJ]

Considering the farm's feeding regime and specific production records
reviewed, a likely source of exposure to BSE infectivity appears to
be potentially contaminated heifer ration. However, the risk
associated with possible ingestion of small amounts of the lactation
ration and either of the mineral blocks exists, and potential
contamination of these products cannot be ruled out.

Communicated by:

[As usual the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has done an outstanding
job in investigating these events and with full transparency. - Mod.MHJ]

[See also:
BSE, bovine - Canada (04): (BC) 20081119.3648
BSE, bovine - Canada (03): (AB) 20080819.2580]

Thursday, April 16, 2009

National Cow Herd Shrinking

Dairy Liquidation Leads Cow Slaughter

Above-normal levels of commercial cow slaughter thus far in 2009 are a continuation of above-normal beef cow slaughter that began in the first half of 2006, when dry conditions held sway over large portions of the Central, Mountain, and Southeastern United States. Beef cow slaughter has been influenced by intermittent drought in the West, Plains, and Southeastern United States since 1996. In addition, beef cattle prices have declined since 2005 and feed costs, while down significantly from their peaks, have been high since dry conditions and rapidly expanding ethanol production sparked grain price increases in late 2006. Declines in milk prices, compounded by dry conditions—especially in California and the Southern Plains—have also led to an increase in dairy cow slaughter since mid- 2008. More recently, rapidly declining milk prices, accompanied by the producerfunded Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) program, have been a key motivation for increases in dairy cow slaughter: The sixth round of CWT buyout since 2003 removed 50,630 dairy cows from production in the first part of 2009. Another round of CWT buyouts has been announced, with bids to close on May 1, 2009. While milk prices reached a peak monthly average price in November 2007, by March 2009 milk prices had declined by 48 percent from that peak, including a 41-percent decline since July 2008.

A number of other factors, either coincident to or a consequence of persistent dry conditions, have contributed to increases in both dairy and beef cow slaughter. Cow-calf operations have been caught between feeder calf prices that have trended generally downward since 2005 and 2006 and feed prices that trended upward from summer 2005 to a peak in summer 2008, but they have since declined somewhat.

Cattle feeders have likewise endured an extended period of negative profit margins since May 2007. These adverse periods have reflected declining demand for beef both domestically and internationally, due first to BSE, then to high prices for beef, and, most recently, to the world economic slump.

A period of record-high prices for U.S. cow-calf operations began in May 2003, when a cow in Canada was confirmed with BSE and U.S. imports of feeder cattle from Canada were banned, coinciding with cyclically low U.S. cattle inventories. After peaking in November 2003 and dropping briefly in the few months following the first U.S. BSE case, feeder cattle prices fluctuated at record levels. Record (thus far) monthly average feeder calf prices occurred in 2005 (a monthly average price of $137.42 per cwt in May 2005 for 500-550 pound, Medium Number 1 steers in Oklahoma City) and 2006 (a monthly average price of $117.58 per cwt in September 2006 for 750-800 pound, Medium Number 1 steers in Oklahoma City). Since August 2008, feeder cattle prices have declined to pre-BSE levels observed in 2000 and 2001.

Annual commercial cow slaughter has increased year-over-year since 2005, with each year’s slaughter since 2006 being based on successively smaller January 1 cow inventories. High-cull cow prices during much of 2007 and 2008 helped ease the pain of culling in the face of dry conditions and increasing feed prices that set records in summer 2008. Cumulative weekly dairy cow slaughter through the first quarter of 2009 was 24 percent higher than slaughter for the same period in 2008, helped in part by the CWT buyout.

Simultaneously, cumulative weekly beef cow slaughter was down by less than 3 percent year-over-year. Cow herd inventory dynamics of this magnitude could lead to further reductions in the national cow herd. With normal beef cow slaughter rates for the remainder of 2009, beef cow inventories on January 1, 2010 could be below 2009 inventories. January 1, 2010 dairy cow inventories are also expected to be lower if the CWT program increases dairy cow slaughter. Overall reductions in the total U.S. cow inventory could be significant through the year.

Reductions in total cow inventories could result in proportionally reduced calf crops, which would have implications for fed beef production and cattle and beef prices for at least 2010-12. This would occur because calf crops in 2009, 2010, and possibly 2011 would likely be smaller than 2008’s calf crop by several percentage points. These smaller calf crops would lead to reduced placements of feeder cattle in feedlots at least through 2012. Feeder cattle imports from Canada and Mexico could alter this result somewhat, but Canada’s cow herd is declining similarly to that of the United States. Pasture and weather, exchange rates, and economic conditions have modified Mexican exports somewhat, and year-over-year increases in feeder cattle exports to the United States through the end of March are likely the result of cattle held from last year and current dry conditions, pushing cattle off pastures and into the United States. Rules and practices related to the new Countryof- Origin labeling requirements have yet to be worked through, and these changes could also modify the cattle-import scenario that is shaping up for the remainder of 2009 and beyond.

If prices for fed cattle and beef rise late this year, as expected in response to expected lower fed cattle numbers and with typical price responses, incentives could motivate heifer retention above that necessary for national cow inventory maintenance. Added heifer retention would have two effects on inventories: First, the number of feeder cattle available for placement on feed in the shorter run would be reduced, which would further reduce the number of heifers contributing to beef supplies. Second, it would lead to an increase in the number of breeding age females added to the national cow inventory, which would eventually begin to increase calf crops and future beef production. The sooner added heifer retention occurs, the more condensed the scenario will become, but given current inventories, the earliest that heifers could be expected to produce a larger year-over-year calf crop would be in 2011. The bulk of these calves would not reach feedlot placement size until late 2011 or more likely 2012.

Placements of feeder cattle in feedlots of 1,000-head-or-larger capacity will likely be somewhat lower during the second half of 2009. Again, this will occur because of smaller calf crops and any increases in heifer retention from actions to increase national cow herd inventories. From January 1, 2006 through January 1, 2009, heifers have represented slightly increasing portions of total cattle on feed in lots of 1,000 head or more—another indication that heifers are not yet being retained at levels sufficient for herd building. USDA’s Cattle on Feed report to be released tomorrow (April 17) will provide further information on the number of heifers on feed.

Wholesale Choice beef cutout values have declined about 5-6 percent since the beginning of 2009. Since March 1, there have been several days when the Agricultural Marketing Service’s 5-day moving-average cutout value for Select beef was higher than the average Choice beef cutout value.

This Choice-Select inversion is not common and is indicative of declining demand in the food service (restaurant) sector, where consumers purchase much of the highend Choice-and-better beef, and increasing beef purchases at the retail grocery counter as consumers respond to adverse economic conditions.

Source: Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook

Education Center

Tons of U.S. Beef Suspected of Mad Cow Disease Sold

By Kim Rahn
Staff Reporter, Korean Times

About 13 tons of American beef were falsely sold as Australian products five years ago in defiance of a disposal order issued after a case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), was reported in the United States.

The prosecution indicted two men, identified as Seon and Kim, Monday, for having hoarded the American beef from a discount store where Seon worked and having supplied it to big discount store chains and department stores.

In December 2003, when cows suspected of having the disease were found in the U.S. and Seon's company was ordered to dispose of all American beef, he allegedly destroyed seven tons and falsely reported to the company that he had destroyed the entire 29 tons in the store.

Among the remaining 22 tons, Seon delivered 12.7 tons to discount stores and department stores between August and December 2004. The two fabricated expiration dates of the products and labeled them as ``Australian beef,'' raking in 280 million won in revenue. The products sold out.

Seon claimed that they did not distribute about 10 tons of the remaining products, but prosecutors suspect they did, requesting a tax agency audit Kim's company.

The prosecution is considering expanding the investigation into other meat distributors to search for similar cases.

AASV Considers "On-Farm" Anti-Cruelty Measures

AASV Recommends Animal Well-being Policies
By Pork news staff | Monday, April 13, 2009

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ Pig Welfare committee recently considered the issue of animal cruelty and its implications in U.S. swine production.

The committee encourages swine veterinarians to work with their clients in the swine industry to establish a firm and concise policy against animal abuse. Such a policy, shared with all employees, but particularly the animal caretakers, should not only prohibit animal abuse, but require management be notified if abuse is witnessed.

The committee has outlined key components producers and veterinarians should require in a policy statement. The committee offers the following as minimal guidelines:

Animal husbandry carries an intrinsic moral/ethical obligation to animal well-being.
Willful abuse, cruelty, and neglect should be defined, including guidelines and/or examples.
If abuse, cruelty or neglect are witnessed, action must be taken (e.g. intervene, report).
Requirements exist for reporting abuse, cruelty, or neglect (e.g. to whom, within what length of time).
Committing act(s) of abuse/cruelty/neglect will have repercussions (provide details or examples).
Failure to intervene and/or report situations of abuse, cruelty or neglect will also have repercussions (provide details or examples).
For examples of policy statements currently in use, click here. The committee urges veterinarians working with swine producers to encourage and support the development and adoption of policy guidelines to reinforce the animal cruelty concerns of everyone in swine production.

Source: AASV

Deadline Extended for USDA Rural Opportunity Grants

Office of Congressman Jack Kingston
Published: April 15, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) announced today the USDA Office of Rural Business and Cooperative Programs has extended the application deadline for Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG) to April 30, 2009. The RBOG program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs by providing training and technical assistance for business and economic development officials.

“Our rural communities are often in desperate need of resources to help them sustain and thrive economically,” said Congressman Kingston. “In most cases smaller towns and rural areas lose out on funding because of the constant competition with larger, more urban areas. Rural development offers programs specific to the needs of these areas. I would like to encourage our rural counties and municipalities to take advantage of all of the opportunities that USDA Rural Development has to offer.”

Applicants for RBOG are subject to eligibility requirements and applicants are limited to areas with a population of less than 50,000. Eligible applicants consist of rural public bodies, rural nonprofit corporations, rural Indian tribes and cooperatives with primarily rural membership. Certain communities can be given high funding priority, including those suffering from natural disaster, fundamental economic structural change, persistent poverty, long term population decline or job deterioration.

The RBOG program is primarily a training and technical assistance program and provides funding for projects that include community economic development planning, business training and business based technical assistance for rural entrepreneurs. The types of projects that may be funded might include provision of leadership development training to entrepreneurs and managers, business support centers, centers for training and technology and economic development planning. For more information, contact your local USDA Rural Development office.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 13 Apr 2009
Source: Omaha World-Herald [edited]

Tuberculosis find spreads concern to non-infected herds
A popular captive elk and bison operation in northeast Nebraska is
not the site of an elk and deer herd infected with tuberculosis, the
owners and state officials said Monday [13 Apr 2009]. "We have a lot
of school tours booked this spring and hunters in the fall, and we're
getting calls wanting to know if the tours and meat are safe," said
Chris Kreycik of Kreycik Riverview Elk Ranch near Niobrara, Nebraska.
"It's not us." Kreycik said the infected herd is 50 miles away, near
Crofton, Nebraska, and Yankton, South Dakota.

The Nebraska Agriculture Department said Friday [10 Apr 2009] that a
herd of captive elk and fallow deer in the Knox County area tested
positive for tuberculosis. Crofton and Niobrara are in Knox County.

Dr. Dennis Hughes, state veterinarian, said Monday that
confidentiality and privacy rules prevent him from identifying the
owner of the infected herd. Hughes said the Kreycik operation was not
involved. The infected herd is under quarantine in a fairly remote
area and has no direct contact with livestock, Hughes said. He said
the owner of the infected herd started the operation as a hobby and
planned to sell trophy-bull elk hunts.

The disease was discovered when the herd owner took an elk to a local
locker plant for butchering in February 2009. A battery of tests at
the U.S. Agriculture Department lab in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the
disease weeks later. Hughes said it has spread to other elk in the

Tuberculosis is a slow, progressive disease that is difficult to
diagnose in its early stages. An animal can exhibit emaciation,
lethargy, weakness, anorexia, low-grade fever and pneumonia with a
chronic, moist cough.

The strain found in the infected herd can affect elk, deer and cattle
-- and can be transmitted to people, Hughes said. The Nebraska Game
and Parks Commission is keeping the area's white-tailed deer
population under surveillance for signs of the disease, Hughes said.
"We want to put the fire out as quickly as possible," he said. "The
best answer is to depopulate the (infected) herd." Hughes said the
owner of the infected elk and deer would receive payment from the
USDA when they are destroyed.

[Byline: David Hendee, World Herald staff writer]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Susan Baekeland

[Both Nebraska and South Dakota are held, as of 23 Mar 2009, by
USDA/APHIS to be free of both bovine and cervid TB; see:

This may have to be reconsidered in the light of this finding in Knox
County. While these infections are normally of bovine origin, with
animals in a popular and captive state there is always the
possibility it might be M. tuberculosis from human contacts.

Knox county is in Northeast Nebraska and right on the NE/SD border. A
map is at:

- Mod.MHJ]

[see also:
Tuberculosis, bovine - USA (Nebraska) 20050207.0418]


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

USDA to Import Chinese Chicken?

So now we dont have enough of our own chickens in the U.S., we have to import them, from all places, CHINA? Could this cozy arrangement have something to do with our Free Trade Agreement coupled with the billions in debt we owe China?--------------

From Food & Water Watch;

Last fall, we had a great victory when nearly 15,000 Food & Water Watch activists got Congress to keep the ban on imported poultry from China. Unfortunately, it was only a temporary victory, and now we need your help to maintain it. Will you ask Congress to keep the current ban on Chinese poultry?

In just January and February of this year, dozens of products were blocked from coming into the U.S. from China, including fish, cookies, candy, crackers, juice, tea, canned and dried vegetables, and spices. The reasons for rejection weren't reassuring, either: contamination with melamine or banned chemicals like choramphenicol; pesticide residues and unsafe additives; and conditions inspectors described as "poisonous" and "filthy."

With a track record like this, it's too soon to start letting in processed poultry from China. In 2008, Congress successfully blocked the U.S. Department of Agriculture from allowing imported processed poultry from China. However, corporations such as Tyson and Cargill have been putting pressure on Congress to lift the ban because they are building factories in China.

In addition to ongoing problems with China's food safety standards and inspection system, there have been specific problems with Chinese poultry processing facilities, such as filthy and unsanitary conditions. Even worse, China has experienced several outbreaks of the very contagious bird flu that has not only infected poultry but also been fatally transmitted to humans.

Urge Congress to continue the ban on imported poultry products from China in the FY 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill:

Thanks for taking action,

Sarah, Alex, Noelle and the Food Team
Food & Water Watch

Take Action: Ask Congress to keep the current ban on Chinese poultry.

Click on title above to see and sign the petition;

Monday, April 13, 2009

USDA: Harvesting Cash from YOUR Pockets

Washington Post Special Report

Harvesting Cash / How to Spend an Extra $15 Billion

In the past five years alone, the U.S. government has handed out more than $95 billion in agricultural subsidies. Post reporters criss-crossed the country in 2006, identifying more than $15 billion in wasteful, unnecessary and redundant spending.

Washington Post reporters Dan Morgan, Gilbert M. Gaul and Sarah Cohen spent more than a year examining federal agriculture subsidies, generating more than a dozen stories and several interactive maps in 2006.

Click on title above to see full report;

See also;

USDA Misappropriates Millions

Farm Subsidies Reform Fails;

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Texas Taste Test: Calf-brain tacos

Everything's grosser in Texas

by Leonard Pierce April 11, 2009
Every week or so, our colleagues at The A.V. Club hold a Taste Test, in which they sample various cuisines with a focus on the new, the novel, and the downright bizarre. But why should Chicago have all the fun? Texas, after all, has no shortage of its own fascinating food and drink, just as enticing and/or disgusting as anything you’ll find on the shores of Lake Michigan. Every so often Decider presents the Texas Taste Test, wherein we shovel various Lone Star finds down our gullets. If you have suggestions for stuff you'd like to see us eat or drink for your amusement, e-mail us.

This week: Calf-brain tacos

Reader Michael Doherty thought he’d get cute with his suggestion: Reminding us that our fair state was once a part of Mexico, and calling us out on the cowardice of our last Taste Test—which, admittedly, was not in any way disgusting or unpalatable—he challenged us to dip into some of the ickier corners of la cocina Mexicana by suggesting that we try something made with sesos. Or, as we say in Amurrican, “What the fuck? Brains?!”

Well, I’ve got news for you, reader Michael Doherty: This ain’t my first trip to the cattle-brains rodeo. As a child, my Southern family was always trying to convince me to try pig brains and scrambled eggs, but that was one Alabama delicacy (along with okra) I was always able to resist. Although, back when I lived in Chicago and had a profitable, mind- and waistband-expanding gig as a restaurant reviewer, I had occasion to feast at a place called Sabri Nehari, a “country-style” Pakistani restaurant whose house specialty was (and apparently still is) a beef brain masala that was good to the last thought. So while I can’t say I was exactly looking forward to eating them again, at least I wouldn’t be going into it blind.

The same, unfortunately, could not be said for my dining companion. While I assured her that brains were a perfectly, er, reasonable thing to eat, and were often enjoyed by non-zombie connoisseurs all over the world, the idea of sesos did not immediately appeal to her. I explained that brains could be prepared any number of ways in Latin cooking: deep-fried, layered on quesadillas or in empanadas, or served “Southern style,” i.e. in a mixture of scrambled eggs and fresh vegetables. (Surprisingly, it did not fill her with confidence to learn that this latter preparation is also known as “sesos revoltillos.”) It was only when I reminded her that she could be replaced—and that I had plenty of other friends dying to be the next Internet Eating Sensation Dave Chang—that she piped down and agreed to eat whatever brain-based dish was put in front of her.

Tracking down tacos sesos, even in San Antonio (where tacos are the sole pride of our regional cuisine), proved more difficult than anticipated. Panic over mad cow disease has caused brain-centric meals to fall into general disfavor, and while bovine minds were readily available at a number of Mexican meat markets, finding them in prepared form was a bit of a trial. Our original destination was Rosario’s, which was said to serve a mean brain taco, but apparently it’s not on the menu all the time. Likewise, Taco Taco CafĂ©, the destination taco joint in my part of the world, wasn’t serving it when we came around. Finally, the ever-reliable Rolando’s Super Tacos came through for us, happily tossing a cow’s cerebellum into a skillet for our dining pleasure.

So how was it? Well, the worst part is definitely seeing it before it’s cooked. Sesos looks unsettlingly like human brains when they’re raw, and no matter how much it’s transformed by the cooking process, it’s sort of hard to shake that image. Once it’s hit the frying pan, though, the taste is mostly forgettable: Not gross by any means, and even a bit on the bland side. Its mushy texture is similar to pork sausage (it actually looks a bit like ground pork), and it’s almost completely flavorless. Thanks to our back-door pals at Rolando’s, it was spiced up and served with a delicious cucumber salsa, avocado, and lime, which was enough to make us forget that we were munching on something that once thought, “Wait until I get out of this pen. Then I’ll really show the world what I’m made of!”


- “Not as good as the last brains I ate…. I can’t believe I just said that.”

- “I feel like if I admit that they don’t taste that bad, I’ll be betraying the existence of this poor cow.”

- “I bet we would like it more if we didn’t watch them make it.”

- “If I get mad cow disease from this, is your magazine going to cover my medical bills?” (Apparently this question comes up a lot in Taste Tests.)

Where to get it: In Austin, tacos sesos turn up from time to time on the menu at Taqueria Arandas. Take a cue from the cow and don't think—just order.,26462/

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Animal By-Products: In More Places than you Think



Adrenal -- epinephrine is extracted from the adrenal medulla and adrinocortical extract from the adrenal cortex.

Ovaries -- used as a source of estrogens and progesterone.

Pancreas -- yields insulin and trypsin.

Parathyroid -- parathyroid hormone extract is used to prevent large scale muscular rigidity.

Pituitary -- source of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone).

Testes -- source of hyaluronidase.

Thyroid -- source of thyroxine and calcitonin.

Tissues and Organs

Blood -- source of albumin and amino acids.
Bone -- source of calcium and phosphorous.

Intestines -- surgical sutures and condoms.

Liver -- liver extracts and bile extract, which can be used to make cortisone.

Lungs -- heparin

Spinal cord -- source of cholesterol, which is used to manufacture vitamin D.

Stomach -- rennet (from calves), mucin (from pigs), and pepsin (from pigs).

Other by-products

Fetal calf blood -- used for cancer and AIDS research.

Aorta values -- for replacement of defective human heart values.

Natural Meat Company ceases operations

By Annie McLeod, Leader-PostApril 10, 2009

REGINA -- Natural Meat Company, which was running two controversial Natural Valley Farms facilities in southern Saskatchewan earlier this year, is no longer operating at the sites.

Natural Valley Farms, which owns a slaughter plant near Neudorf and a processing plant at Wolseley, went into receivership last September, and is currently shut down.

Clark Sullivan, the court-appointed receiver, said that at the time of receivership, Natural Valley Farms had a lease arrangement with Natural Meat Company, which was operating its facilities. He said once the lease expired on Feb. 10, it was not renewed or extended as the parties could not agree on acceptable arrangement terms.

“The tenant actually left at that point and the buildings and the operations are shut down,” said Sullivan. “Where we’re at right now is we’re continuing our efforts to try and find a buyer and new operator for the assets, as a going concern.”

He said there are some parties that have expressed interest, and hopefully a sale could be made later this spring or summer. The business plan under which the facilities would operate would then be up to the buyers.

Natural Valley Farms’ facilities gained national attention last summer after hidden-camera footage taken at the Neudorf slaughter facility raised questions around slaughtering horses. Sullivan said Natural Valley Farms started as a cattle slaughtering and processing business, but became involved in slaughtering and processing horses for exportation to the European Union. When Natural Valley concluded it couldn’t continue operations, it leased the operations to Natural Meat, a subsidiary of a European company, and one of its customers for horse meat.

Questions also came up regarding visits to the slaughter facility by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The agency previously said that past audits at the Natural Valley plant were “consistently good.” However, action has been taken more recently, while the facilities were under Natural Meat’s control.

Tim O’Connor, CFIA spokesperson, told the Leader-Post Thursday that the CFIA suspended Natural Meat’s operating licence in December 2008, due to food safety concerns.

“That was a temporary suspension of the licence pending corrective actions to bring the facility back into regulatory compliance,” he said, adding that he was unsure of the non-compliance issues, but that they dealt with food safety, rather than animal welfare.

“In mid-January, we temporarily re-instated their operating licence, and then by the end of January they made the decision to close the facility.”

With the recent closure of the Natural Valley facilities, which affected approximately 150 employees, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has called for an audit of all horse slaughter operations throughout Canada by the CFIA.

“We fear that these problems could be endemic in the horse slaughter industry itself,” said Sinikka Crosland, executive director of the CHDC. “Ultimately, we don’t believe that in an assembly line situation like this, that there can be such a thing as the humane slaughter of a horse. They react quicker, they’re harder to stabalize in the kill-box ... so often the captive bolt gun would miss it’s mark.”

Crosland also said the public deserves to know the details surrounding the operating licence suspensions at the Natural Valley facilities, especially since food safety has been prevalent in recent news.

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