Saturday, 28 December 2013

Controlling Antibiotic use in Livestock

The final paragraphs of a new article by Maryn McKenna,  about changes in the USA, also summarise the changes needed in Britain to tackle antibiotic resistance arising from livestock.

It isn't complicated, but real change hits hard at the pockets of the agricultural drug dealers. They fight viciously to keep their corrupt empire via their front organisations.

Reform is now inevitable.

It ought to be the young veterinarians removing the tired old bullies endangering the lives of our children and contaminating British political life with a culture of bribes, sinecures, gongs, harassment, disinformation and threats.

For sure it will be the young ones.

They wait in the wings to catch the tide of change coming from abroad. But it ought to have been Britain leading the drive to return to proper professional standards.

Anyway, the full article is here:

...The object lesson in changing antibiotic patterns is Denmark, which in 2000 made farm antibiotics prescription-only, and banned nontherapeutic uses altogether. It’S often pointed out, on the ag side, that Denmark had an increase in deaths among weaner pigs immediately after that ban was rolled out; but within 3 years, weaner pig survival improved and returned to where it had been before the ban.

What reversed the trend was Danish farmers’ understanding that it wasn’t enough just to remove antibiotics from meat production. What was necessary was to change the conditions in which meat animals were raised, so that the welfare threats which the antibiotics had addressed no longer existed.

That seems to me to be the lesson that meat production in America needs to learn, if the FDA’s intention to remove growth promoters is going to be meaningful. Simply reducing antibiotic use (if that does indeed happen) isn’t adequate; by itself, it may even be a threat to welfare. Changing the livestock practices that made antibiotic use necessary will improve animal and human health both.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Get a Vet's Approval to Use Antibiotics?

Tom Philpot has got the killer fact. He has spotted the loophole.

The changes in the USA go nowhere near far enough. Britain will prove that once their real figures surface.

Veterinary prescription and banning growth promotion have no impact, apart from filling veterinary pockets with gold. It may even increase inappropriate use.

It gives it a kind of dubious legitimacy and transfers control of the industry from the farmer to the veterinarian and their battalions of expensive lobbyists, cronies, hangers-on and excusnicks.

It becomes a tax on food supporting an antibiotic prescribing and supporting infrastructure.

And the kids, not least the farmers' own, get ill with antibiotic resistant disease.

Full 'Mother Jones' report here

Will Factory Farms Finally Have to (Gasp!) Get a Vet's Approval to Use Antibiotics?

-By Tom Philpott
| Thu Dec. 12, 2013 3:00 AM GMT

…"Of course, there's little distinction between giving animals small daily doses of antibiotics to prevent disease and giving them small daily doses to make them put on weight. The industry can simply claim it's using antibiotics "preventively," continuing to reap the benefits of growth promotion and continue to generate resistant bacteria. That's the loophole."….

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Responsible and Prudent Use of Antibiotics on Irish Pig Farms

The antibiotic resistance scandal in Britain is unraveling in front of our very eyes.

A very long and very frank article in the Pig Site from an Irish government veterinarian.

This is government level whistle-blowing, on themselves to an extent.  But that is pretty smart - getting ahead of the pack. They have worked out this scandal is not going away

Britain's dangerous state veterinary establishment will be grizzling and pleading for understanding shortly, once they find out that blaming someone else, preferably innocent, is not going to  work.

Anyway some of the items that took my eye:

"The level of antibiotic usage on a small percentage of pig farms is high."

"The prevalence of AMR organisms in pig herds is not as easy to quantify as the testing for antibiotic residues in carcasses."

"Does Ireland as a country have data regarding the use of antibiotics in food animals, and moreover on a species basis? The truth is we do not have such definitive data."

"The primary responsibility for prudent use of antibiotics in the pig industry lies with the small number of prescribers (vets) and the end users."

And this is the really important statement leading to very serious corruption right the way to the very top in both Britain (and presumably Ireland.)

"Many pig farms use the services of two or more veterinarians. Which vet prescribes and supplies antibiotics? Does the farmer purchase the bulk of the antibiotics from a vet who is not the primary vet to the pig unit, purely on cost grounds?

Legally, a vet shall not prescribe the use of a medicine for animals unless he or she has visited the farm sufficiently often and recently enough to have an accurate picture of the current health, welfare and disease status of the pigs on that premises.

Do pig herd owners fully understand and appreciate the importance of this statement?"

I do.

Anyway, be sure to read the whole of the article, here. It is the first of a gale of fresh air about to envelop British livestock farming, too.

Responsible and Prudent Use of Antibiotics on Irish Pig Farms

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Denis Healy, a veterinary inspector with the Irish agriculture department, explained the concept of antibiotic resistance and what pig farmers and their vets need to do to minimise risks to the Teagasc Pig Farmers Conference in October 2013...

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Double trotters - the old cast of Del-boy and Rodney - same story line

There have been many complaints in the UK over politicians reporting the same "good news" over and over again as if it was something new. Multiple reporting has become as big a fad as "Let me be clear about this..." inevitably followed by bluster and confusion.

What nobody in the media seems to have realised is that the pig trotter deal has been reported finalised many times before the Prime Minister visited China last week

Why do that?

Well, aside from the obvious political posturing, it helps keep farming criticism at bay.

Ordinary farmers paid to promote the far more controversial dodgy pig semen export deal - one that seems to give them little or no benefit and poses serious risks to both Britain and China: political to Britain, disease to China.

Even the monetary value of this part of the deal seems to have been overstated by the government.

We have no doubt we will now get some convoluted explanations seeking to explain the confusion. "Let's be clear about this..."

On the other hand they might just make it all secret.

Full Meat Trade News Daily report here

UK - Pigs ears, snouts and trotters for China
28 May 2012

China says Yes to British fifth-quarter

British pork will be on menus in China at last, following this week's visit by food and farming minister Jim Paice.

After many false starts it has agreed to accept exports of British pigmeat. The market is worth £50m much of it offal, trotters, ears and other parts of the "fifth quarter" which British diners do not eat.

"China is the most lucrative grocery market in the world and from fashion to food its rapidly expanding middle class has an appetite for Western goods," said Jim Paice.

BPEX chairman Stewart Houston is in China with the minister. He said this morning, "This is something we have been working towards for several years in close co-operation with Defra and the British embassy in Beijing.

"The process has been a long one but I know it will prove to be extremely worthwhile. Pork is the most popular meat in China and some of the cuts which are less popular here command a premium over there." The first consignment of British pork is ready to be dispatched by Tulip.

"The news of the clearance to supply British pig meat into China is the culmination of many months of hard work by the team at Defra, BPEX and the National Pig Association who have played a vital role in
securing this export business opportunity by working in conjunction with the pigmeat processing industry and UK pig farmers," said Andrew Saunders, director of agriculture.

"The commitment by China to use British pigmeat is testament to the quality and standards in place across the United Kingdom pig industry and provides us with an exciting opportunity to enter a developing

Defra is looking to use the experience of developing this trade deal to open up markets for other British products and services. This will be vital in the future work of its food exports action plan.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Pig semen exports to China - a massive PR mistake

For whatever reason, Compassion in World Farming has come out against the export of pig semen and trotters from Britain to China.

You can't ignore CWF with supporters like Joanna Lumley!

Well you can, but she has had the head off one Minister already on the Gurkha issue.

It still seems incredible that Prime Minister David Cameron has associated himself with this trade. If you are going to live by Public Relations, you can't afford mistakes like this.

The Daily Mail has picked up on the obvious joke about the fictional "Trotter International Traders", but it still offers plenty of scope for years for critics to lampoon the Prime Minister and Defra, Britain's hapless agricultural ministry.

Perhaps they plan to buy an old creamery to ramp up production?

Economies might mean government veterinarians travelling in Robin Reliants?

Comparisons with Del-boy Trotter and Rodney roles?

But jokes aside, the connection with doubtful products and dodgy dealing is clear:

Britain's pigs have been sick for years with the only export testing station closed through Circovirus contamination.

Britain should not be exporting semen, embryos or live pigs anywhere.

There will be trouble in Downing Street today, when Del Boy catches up with Rodney.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Cameron back from China to a new animal health embarrassment.

Britain's government veterinarians have been busy in the Prime Minister's absence.

Cameron is due back and by now will know he has been framed into endorsing British pig health in China.

That will cost Defra and the AHVLA dear: the rest of us even more.

Defra's AHVLA (Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency) have been ramping up their PR. Not that PR ever did more than cover up the zoonotic diseases spreading into the wider population.

The veterinarians still manage to praise themselves. They live in cuckoo land.

But you can spot the plot - admit the problems and thrust the responsibility, for a world scale disaster, onto everyone else.

We would not like to numbered among their cronies (aka "stakeholders"). It is the worst place to be. The money has gone, now the cronies pay the bill.

Actually, we agree with that. You do not give losers money. You keep taking it away.

Anyway the headlines from Britain's premier farming papers

Farmers Weekly here

National animal disease detection system tightened

Philip Case
Wednesday 04 December 2013 11:07

An improved surveillance system is being introduced to detect new and re-emerging animal disease threats in England and Wales...

Farmers Guardian here

AHVLA announces shake-up of disease surveillance system

4 December 2013 | By Alistair Driver

THE Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has announced a shake-up of its animal disease monitoring system that will see the closure of a number of its surveillance sites...

Britain's Prime Minister caught selling dodgy pig semen to the Chinese.

This is simply amazing. Is it a Chinese trap?

Britain's Prime Minister has just been caught red-handed selling dodgy pig semen to the Chinese. He was even bragging about it on Chinese and BBC TV

It has got to be. Cameron has just been comprehensively 'stuffed' by his own very corrupt Defra veterinarians.

The Chinese must know the true pig health situation in the UK. Britain's pigs have been sick for decades.

Everyone knows, except the Prime Minister and the people of Britain, and they are going to go crazy when they find out what has been going on.

The killer 'get out' clause is here:

"Though there is agreement in principle, it will still be some time before the deal is finally tied up as Chinese vets need to visit the United Kingdom."

The Chinese know exactly where to look to stop the deal and legitimately too.

This is the scandal of the century.

National Pig Association report here

Trotters trading success
December 4, 2013

News of agreement, in principle, to export pigs' trotters to China is a boost for the industry, says BPEX director Mick Sloyan.

The deal was agreed during the Prime Minister's visit to China this week and is reported to be worth £7.5m a year. China is already the biggest market outside the European Union for the British pig industry, worth more than £25m a year.

"The Chinese market is one we are especially keen to develop as it is the world's largest consumer of pork," said Mick Sloyan.

"BPEX and Defra have been working in partnership over many years to gain access to the Chinese market and the Prime Minister's visit is an important step in developing that trade even further.

"Though there is agreement in principle, it will still be some time before the deal is finally tied up as Chinese vets need to visit the United Kingdom."

The deal also included the export of semen and four artificial insemination centres operated by some of the world's biggest pig breeding companies in England and Northern Ireland are expected to start exporting fresh and frozen semen early in the new year.

Denmark - Human MRSA st398 up by 15 percent in 2012

Britain's corrupt veterinary establishment must by now be lying awake at night, every night. They are certainly not into damage limitation.

The world is going to fall on their heads when Defra, Britain's useless agricultural ministry, finally pluck up the courage to come clean on MRSA st398 in livestock in Britain.

Anyway you can read the whole disgraceful story on the British newsgroup,, searchable on Google Groups.

Ignore the stalkers and harassment. They have done nothing but delay the exposure of state protected crime for the past 13 years.

As always, read in full.

Full news article on Vaccine News Daily here

MRSA cases increase by 20 percent in 2012

Published on December 3, 2013 by Ryan Parrish

The Statens Serum Institut said on Wednesday that the number of reported methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus cases increased by 20 percent in 2012...

...In 2012, cases with MRSA CC398, a pig-related MRSA, continued to increase, and are now recorded separately. Doctors determined that this type of MRSA is spread differently. It is primarily seen in people who work with pigs and their family members, and makes up approximately 15 percent of MRSA cases.

A revised MRSA guideline was published in November 2012 and included pigs as a risk factor for infection. SSI expects attention to the revised guideline to increase the number of diagnosed cases of MRSA CC398...

.. In some cases, the bacterium goes beneath the skin and can cause life-threatening infections in bones, joints, wounds, bloodstream, heart valves and lungs, according to the Mayo Clinic.