Thursday, 28 February 2013

Schmallenberg - The case of the Missing Goats - a year later

According to "Farmers Weekly" today, Schmallenberg Virus has been found in British goats.

We have no reason to believe that they are not reporting Defra, Britain's infamous agricultural ministry, accurately.

Here are the first lines from Britain's premier farming publication today:

Schmallenberg found in UK goats and alpacas
Philip Case

Thursday 28 February 2013 09:16

The Schmallenberg virus has been found in goats and alpacas in Britain for the first time...

They also mention wild boar- pigs.

But it is not so simple.

The Dutch government constantly claimed that Schmallenberg had been found in British goats way back in February last year.

You will in fact find ten posts on this blog on the issue alone! Please use the search function.

They make very interesting reading a year later. For example here

Schmallenberg - The Case of the missing Goats 

10 FEBRUARY 2012

being merely one.

We are getting very close to the biggest scandal of the twenty-first Century becoming common knowledge throughout the world.

Alarmingly close. Things will never be quite the same.

Attempted intimidation of witnesses to the British Parliament being merely one part of the breaking scandal.

And all the writer wanted was a quiet retirement!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Ireland - over use of antibiotics in farming

The Irish are in a whistle-blowing mood. They almost say it. They almost blow the whistle on themselves and Britain. They reach the brink and then hold back.

It’s now a race as to who owns up on MRSA st398 in British and Irish pigs first, and the truth of just how long it has been covered up by the veterinary establishment.

The last out is going to get blamed by the other: routine stuff that will fool nobody except those that want to be fooled.

These islands have always been effectively a single unit for animal health.

Britain seemed to be about to own up and take the pain, but got side-tracked by horse meat.

The long and detailed Irish Times article should be read in full. We just pick some key points. You can find the whole here

The Irish Times - Monday, February 25, 2013

Fresh concerns over use of antibiotics in farming

Horse meat is no joke. But at least it is not killing us. More than 25,000 people across Europe die each year because of bacterial infections that are impossible to treat.
As doctors prescribe ever more antibiotics to cure our ills, the bacteria which cause these infections respond by mutating, resisting and multiplying. Antibiotic resistance is a real killer...
...The danger for humans is not just the overuse of antibiotics with the consequent mutation of bacteria and their resistance to available medication. It is also the threat posed by the crossover from animal to human of infections and the bacteria required to treat them...
...A little closer to home is the story of MRSA ST398 (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398). Scientists first spotted this strain nine years ago in the Netherlands. A sickly child was taken to hospital by her parents, who were pig farmers. When scientists tested the pigs, they found the same strain of Staph. aureus as was identified in the child. “Pig MRSA” was born...
...And if we don’t do this? “Then we will will have no drugs available for future generations.”
* Ella McSweeney is a radio and TV broadcaster, and presenter on RTÉ’s Ear to the Ground

Canadian Porcine Circovirus problems

This is the first time we have seen the current Canadian Porcine Circovirus problems admitted so bluntly, although we have known of problems for many years.

Usually forms of words have been used for many years to confuse rather then illuminate.

On some occasions, during past flare-ups, attempts have been made to rename pig diseases "for PR reasons."

The crucial issues will be co-infections: diseases accompanying Circovirus and attempts to deal with those by antibiotic use with resulting human health risks.

The international trade in live pigs,semen and embryos for breeding  purposes and its role in spreading disease internationally will also come under the spotlight.

Full Farmscape report here

Florian Possberg - Canadian Swine Health Board
Farmscape for February 25, 2013

The Canadian Swine Health Board is optimistic the effort to reduce the risk of disease impacting Canada's swine herd will receive the funding necessary to allow it to continue.

The Canadian Swine Health Board was formed in 2009 with funding provided by the federal government to help respond to a porcine circovirus epidemic and to take the lead in developing strategies to prepare for future emerging diseases.

With the original federal funding agreement due to expire at the end of March efforts are underway to develop a new funding arrangement that will allow the work to continue.
Canadian Swine Health Board Chair Florian Possberg reports the provincial pork organizations have agreed to a levy which will provide some funding, other industry players have indicated they are willing to consider participation and the federal government is being asked to reallocate money previously committed.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Britain. Weaning less pigs per sow. Why?

We get yet another interesting insight into the condition of Britain's pigs relative to those elsewhere,

Defra's veterinarians have been acknowledging problems with pig health and here we have some crude statistics from BPEX, the pig levy organisation.

Britain has fewer pigs born and weaned per sow than the average of the EU, and much less than Denmark and the Netherlands, and the gap is still widening.

Now, we don't think British farmers are less attentive or skilled, or the pigs genetically inferior, which leaves a big question mark over health issues.

Full BPEX news report here

Wean More Pigs to Be More Profitable

22 February 2013

...It should be acknowledged that, with 40% of the British breeding herd outdoors, the industry average is not perfectly comparable with other EU countries. But the numbers of pigs born and weaned have still only increased by around half a pig per sow per year on British units since 2006. Meanwhile, other countries have continued to increase their performance by at least two pigs...

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Schmallenberg Virus in pigs

 It is easy to miss this and the possible implications for pig farming.

The BBC have been reporting on what seems to be a deteriorating situation in respect of Scmallenberg Virus and inlcudes this comment originating from Dr Mutien-Marie Garigiangy a Belgian veterinary expert studying SBV in wildlife in the south of Belgium.

..."He said wild boar as well as wild deer show signs of SBV infection, although it is not thought to make them sick."...

Today's BBC report is here

Oddly, the BBC were reporting that pigs could get Schmallenberg a year ago.

The full details are here

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Horse meat in the House of Commons

We hear they are checking for horse meat in the House of Commons restaurants. Will it be under 1 percent, which does not matter?

The writer will join the whole of the country in sniggering.

We will feel ashamed tomorrow.

No, we won't!

Britain still has to deal with Hepatitis E and MRSA st398 in the pigs and pork.

When they allowed witnesses to Select Committees of the House of Commons to be intimidated by a gang of corrupt civil service veterinarians, they did not realise the implications.

When Britain's parliamentarians catch on, the fur will really fly!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Hepatitis E and detection in pork and pork products

Regular readers of  this blog or will be familiar with the campaign to get British pigs and pork tested for Hepatitis E, over the past years. There are many relevant posts in the archives.

It is a dangerous disease for humans, not least pig farmers and handlers, even veterinarians. Few outside the UK doubt the dangers to human health.

It looks like we have been successful and a grudging veterinary establishment are finally being forced to test the pigs after a long delay.

The following has been published by the government veterinarians.

It is not publicity that is their problem, it is the appalling health of British pigs and long standing corruption and test faking within the government veterinary service.

Full report here

Hepatitis E and detection in pork and pork products

There has been recent publicity about hepatitis E infection in humans.

This relates to an increase in 010-11 in the proportion of cases of hepatitis E diagnosed where there is no history of travel by the affected person.

A recent publication (Berto and others, 2012) reported PCR detection of hepatitis E virus in 13% of pig faeces and 3% of pig livers at slaughter and 10% of pork sausages at retail.

Whether virus is infective at these different stages was not established. The report of an extensive case:control study in humans is expected in 2013 and may identify risk factors and assist in determining whether there is evidence to support the putative link with consumption of pork and pork products.

In the meantime, a multi-agency, joint-funded abattoir survey of pigs, expected to be conducted in early 2013, will seek to establish the prevalence of infection in slaughter pigs in the UK.

This is highlighted here as an issue which may cause adverse publicity for the pig industry at what is already a difficult time.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Horse Meat - British contradictions on food safety

It was hard not to notice a dispute within the British government, in recent days over whether there is a human risk from horse meat or not. What is not so obvious is the links to sick pigs and MRSA st398.

On balance, we felt sorry for the Defra Minister, Owen Paterson. He was in an impossible position and, aside from noting that MRSA st398 is known to be present in horses and equine veterinarians, there was nothing to add to the "bute" risks as expressed by the Minister.

But the chair of the Agriculture Select Committee, Anne McIntosh, felt very differently and was on the TV during the weekend insisting on an immediate ban on all imported processed beef.

Britain cannot do that under EU rules, and Anne McIntosh, would obviously know that.

The implication was that Anne McIntosh thought the human risks were high enough to justify unilateral action against EU processed beef.

It was not the best performance by the Select Committee Chair, it was easy to dismiss it as internal politicking, but then, curious, we started to check on the lady and her background. How well informed is she?

Unusually well qualified and well informed was the answer. She is a massively important player in animal health matters. She is a lawyer, a member of the Scottish Bar, working for a time for the EU.

Anne McIntosh, like so many of us, has mixed parentage, in her case Scots-Danish, giving her several languages including Danish. She represents an English constituency thick with pig enterprise and associated antibiotic resistant disease.

She will know, for example, that the local pig vets blamed the Scots for the introduction of some antibiotic resistant diseases to her constituency. She has also previously been MEP for the pig dense English constituency of North Essex and South Suffolk.

McIntosh will know all about pig disease and the problems of the pig industry, most probably including the current MRSA st398 disaster in Denmark including the private comments of the Danes, not usually
reachable in English.

So, she will be well up to speed on the full implications of the MRSA st398 known to be present in horses and equine veterinarians and perhaps the pig DNA found alongside the horse meat, recently.

As the current Chair of the Agriculture Select Committee, she must be aware of the writer's allegations about being threatened as a result of giving evidence to them about test faking by the British veterinary civil service. Well before her time, of course.

So, Anne McIntosh being worried about human health implications of the horse meat, should ring all the alarm bells.

We also found this  from 2011 suggesting that whatever the eventual arguments, there was at least some concern that the rule for micro chipping horses were not working, and that might result in British horse meat with banned veterinary drugs reaching the export market (as indeed we know it did). The story was also carried by the veterinary media at the time.

The full Daily Mail report is here

Government pays PR company £45,000 to tell travellers not to turn their horses into food

UPDATED: 16:23, 27 September 2011

A Government department paid a PR company thousands to inform travellers about a law governing the consumption of horses.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs handed Linstock Communications over £45,000 to raise awareness of the new law among travellers.

It incurred the huge bill despite having a large public-relations team of its own.