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mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2008, 10:32:05 AM »
Thursday, April 17, 2008Print This Page
Neurology Conference Debatesl Illness in Pork Plant Workers
CHICAGO – New details on the neurological illness that has affected workers at several pork processing plants will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12–19, 2008.



The information will be presented as part of the Late-Breaking Science program, designed for research of major scientific importance or interest that warrants expedited presentation.


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"This appears to be" "a novel neurological disorder caused by an immune system response to something in the workplace environment shared by these individuals" 
Daniel Lachance, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and a Fellow member of the American Academy of Neurology.
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Neurologists have identified the illness as a new disorder which causes symptoms ranging from a transverse myelitis syndrome, inflammation of the spinal cord, in one patient to mild weakness, fatigue, numbness and tingling in arms and legs. Researchers are classifying this condition as an immune polyradiculoneuropathy, (a disease of the peripheral nerves and spinal nerve roots) and it has been referred to as “progressive inflammatory neuropathy.”

Details about the initial epidemiology investigation were described in an article in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on February 8.

The current presentation focuses on the clinical description of patients who worked at a Minnesota pork processing plant. Other cases associated with working at a pork processing plant have been reported in Indiana and Nebraska. All of the Minnesota cases had evidence of nerve involvement, typically affecting the legs and likely caused by an inflammatory process.

Electrodiagnostic tests showed that the patients had damage to the nerves at the root level, adjacent to the spinal cord, and at the farthest reaches of motor nerves, near the connection with muscle. Thirteen out of 15 patients had elevated protein levels in their cerebrospinal (brain and spinal cord) fluid. Most patients had evidence of inflammation on spinal MRI examinations. All had evidence of activation of their immune systems. This was shown by a pattern of specific antibody production that has not been seen before.

“This appears to be a new syndrome of immune-mediated polyradiculoneuropathy, or more simply, a novel neurological disorder caused by an immune system response to something in the workplace environment shared by these individuals,” said study author Daniel Lachance, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and a Fellow member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Lachance said the researchers will present additional details at the AAN Annual Meeting.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.





mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2008, 07:47:40 AM »
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Thursday, April 17, 2008Print This Page
Hi-tech Monitoring Advances Methane Energy
US - Engineers at Washington University engineers have founds that vigorous mixing helps microorganisms turn farm waste into alternative energy.


The researchers have used hi-tech imaging technology to monitor the mixing efficacy and study how microorganisms break down manure. They found that vigorous mixing helps the process. The goal is to produce a simple method that farmers can use to treat their waste and generate energy, says a report by Christopher Leonard for the Associated Press.

Pig and cow manure is a persistent pollutant from industrial-sized barns and feed lots, but can become a useful source of fuels like methane when broken down by bacteria.

The research team, which includes Washington University professor Muthanna Al-Dahhan says that these new findings are just a small step toward making a reliable "digester" that farmers could use to turn manure into methane.

"Each year livestock operations produce 1.8 billion tons of cattle manure," Al-Dahhan said in a statement. "Treating manure (with microorganisms) gets rid of the environmental threats and produces bioenergy at the same time. That has been our vision," said Professor Muthanna Al-Dahhan

The research was funded by a $2.1 million grant from the US Department of Energy given in 2001.

The technology has been getting more interest as energy prices rise, although large-scale investment has faltered recently along with projects to build new ethanol and biodiesel plants.

Last week in Clovis, NM, Gibbs Energy President Joe Maceda said construction would be delayed on a $25 million plant that would make methane gas from cow manure. The project faltered after its primary investor was crippled financially because of the sub-prime mortgage crash.




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2008, 10:18:14 AM »
Effects of Lysine Supplements on Growth Performance
Research at the University of Nebraska by Roman Moreno, Phillip S. Miller and Thomas E. Burkey1 looked at the Effect of Increasing Lysine:net Energy Ratio on Growth Performance and Plasma Urea Nitrogen Concentration of Late-Finishing Barrows Fed Low-Protein Amino Acid-Supplemented Diets and Ractopamine.

 

Low-crude protein, amino acid-supplemented diets containing ractopamine balanced to contain 4.57 to 5.2 g of lysine/Mcal of net energy can adequately supply amino acids for growth in late finishing pigs.

Summary
An experiment was conducted to determine the optimum lysine (lys):Net energy (NE) ratio of low-crude protein (CP) amino acid (AA)-supplemented diets needed in conjunction with ractopamine (RAC) to improve growth performance of late-finishing barrows from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) herd. Treatments consisted of five low CP, AA-supplemented diets with addition of ractopamine (16% CP; 4.5 g/ton), formulated to contain 3.35, 3.95, 4.57, 5.2 and 5.83 g of lys/Mcal of NE. A corn-soybean meal diet with no RAC supplementation served as negative control (20% CP; 5.24 g of Lys/Mcal of NE).Treatment did not affect growth performance (P > 0.05). Despite the lack of treatment effect (P = 0.09), increasing dietary lys/NE concentration resulted in a linear decrease in final backfat (P = 0.01). Treatments did not affect final longissimus muscle area (P = 0.69). Results indicate that the optimum lys/NE for late-finishing pigs from the UNL herd fed low-CP AA supplemented diets containing 4.5 g of RAC is between 4.57, and 5.2 g of lys/ Mcal of NE.

Introduction
Ractopamine (RAC) is a betaadrenergic compound which has been used in late-finishing pigs to increase protein and to reduce fat deposition by redirecting a portion of the energy that the pig would use for fat synthesis to protein accretion. There is evidence that these changes in energy distribution result in increments in average daily gain (ADG), and gain:feed (G:F) as well as reduction in average daily feed intake (ADFI). Pigs fed diets supplemented with RAC require increased amounts of limiting amino acids (AA) especially lysine (lys), in order to respond to RAC inclusion.

Increasing crude protein (CP) concentration in the diets of pigs may result in an excess of dietary non-essential AA concentration. The nitrogen (N) generated by the degradation processes of the excess of amino acids, eliminated by the pigs in feces and urine, has the potential to contaminate soil and water. The use of low-CP AA-supplemented diets appears to be effective to provide essential AA to pigs in the adequate amounts while avoiding feeding excessive CP concentration which in turn will help to reduce N excretion into the environment.

The objective of the present investigation was to determine the optimum lys:Net energy (NE) ratio of low-CP AA-supplemented diets needed in conjunction with RAC to improve growth performance of late-finishing barrows from the UNL herd.

The present experiment was designed based on the results obtained in two previous experiments performed to define adequate CP and lys:NE dietary contents to maximize response to RAC of late-finishing from the UNL herd.

Procedures
Animals and Treatments
Twenty-four crossbred [(Nebraska XL line × Danbred) × Pietrain] late-finishing barrows were used in a 28-day experiment. The average initial body weight (BW) was 184 lb and the final average BW was 254 lb. Pigs were individually penned in fully-slotted pens, maintained at 72º F, and had ad libitum access to feed and water.

All management and experimental procedures were approved by the UNL Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Experimental Diets
The pigs were randomly assigned to one of six dietary treatments. To create the dietary treatments six diets were balanced for lys:NE. The control diet contained 5.2 g/Mcal NE and 20% CP. The five low-CP AA-supplemented counterparts contained 16% CP and varying lys:NE concentration ranging from 3.4 to 5.8 g of lys/Mcal of NE and 4.5 g RAC/ton (Table 1). Two of these diets had lys:NE less than adequate (3.35 and 3.95 g of lys/Mcal of NE), one of them was adequate (4.57 g of lys/Mcal of NE) and two had excessive lys:NE (5.2 and 5.83 g of lys/Mcal of NE) compared to NRC recommendations.

All diets meet or exceed the lys to limiting AA ratios (Met + Cys, Trp, and Thr) proposed by the Nebraska-South Dakota Swine Nutrition Guide for late-finishing pigs fed RAC. All other nutrients met or exceeded the NRC (1998) requirements.

Table 1. Ingredient and calculated nutrient composition of the experimental diets, as-fed basis.


aCP = Crude protein.
bLys:NE = Lysine: Net energy.
cRAC = Ractopamine.
dSupplied per kilogram of diet: Vitamin A (as retinyl acetate), 4,400 IU; vitamin D (as cholecalciferol), 440 IU; Vitamin E (as á-tocopheryl acetate), 24 IU; vitamin K (as menadione dimithyl pyrimidinol bisulfi te ), 3.5 mg; ribofl avin, 8.8 mg; d-pantothenic acid, 17.6 mg; niacin, 26.4 mg; vitamin B12, 26.4 mg.
eSupplied per kilogram of diet: Zn (as ZnO), 128 mg; Fe (as FeSO4•H2O),128 mg; Mn (as MnO), 30 mg; Cu (as CuSO4•5H2O), 11 mg; I (as Ca(IO3)•H2O), 0.26 mg; Se (as Na2SeO3), 0.3 mg.
fME = Metabolizable energy.
Data and Sample Collection
Average daily gain (ADG) average daily feed intake (ADFI) and feed efficiency (G:F) were estimated based on pig weight and feed disappearance.

Blood samples for the PUN determinations were taken by venipuncture of the vena cava region at the beginning of the experiment and weekly thereafter.

The samples were centrifuged at 2,000 × g for 20 min. Plasma was maintained at -4oF until analysis for urea nitrogen concentration (PUN).

Statistical Analyses
Each pig was considered an experimental unit and data were analyzed for treatment, linear and quadratic effects using the MIXED procedure (SAS Inst., Inc., Cary, N.C.). Pen was considered a random effect.

Table 2. Response of ADGa, ADFIb, G:Fc backfat and LMAd to treatment and signifi cance of linear and quadratic responses to lys/NE.


aADG = Average daily gain.
bADFI = Average daily feed intake.
cG:F = Average daily gain/average daily feed intake.
dLMA = Longissimus muscle area.
eCP = Crude protein.
fLys:NE = Lysine:Net energy ratio g/Mcal NE.
gRAC = Ractopamine.
hSEM = Standard error of the mean.


Table 3. Response of PUNa to treatment and signifi cance of linear and quadratic responses to lys/NEb.


aPUN = Plasma urea nitrogen.
bLys:NE = Lysine:Net energy.
cCP = Crude protein.
dRAC = Ractopamine.
eSEM = Standard error of the mean.
Results and Discussion
Growth Performance
Table 2 shows the growth response of pigs to RAC inclusion and increasing dietary lys/NE. There was no difference among treatments, linear or quadratic response to lys/NE on final weight (FW), ADG, ADFI or G:F (P > 0.05).

Ultrasound Measurements
Despite the lack of treatment effect (P = 0.09), increasing dietary lys/NE concentration resulted in a linear decrease in final BF (P = 0.01). This reduction in BF as lys/NE increased may be partially explained by the numeric reduction in ADFI as lys/NE increased. The later could be an indication that feeding diets containing less than adequate lys/NE concentrations may affect the ability of the pigs to use energy for protein deposition; therefore, the energy that otherwise would be use for protein accretion may be used for fat deposition. Treatments did not affect LMA (P = 0.69).

Plasma Urea Nitrogen
There was a significant treatment effect for PUN on d 21 and 28 (P= 0.01, and 0.03 respectively; Table 3); however, there were no linear or quadratic effects of lys/NE (P > 0.05). The PUN concentration recorded for the control treatment was the greatest for all sampling days except for day 14. These differences may be the consequence of a greater protein concentration of the control diet compared to the low-CP AA-supplemented diets plus RAC treatments (20 vs. 16% CP). The later is supported by findings reported in the literature that showed increased PUN as dietary CP concentration increased. This increase in PUN in pigs receiving the control diet may be the consequence of an excess of AA supplied by the diet. The low-CP AA-supplemented and RAC dietary treatments, demonstrated decreased PUN which may be an indication that the concentration of AA supplied was closer to the adequate concentration of AA in the diet.

Conclusions
The outcome of this experiment indicates that the optimum lys/NE for late-finishing pigs from the UNL herd fed low-CP AA-supplemented diets added with 4.5 g RAC is between 4.57 and 5.2 g of lys/Mcal of NE. Increments above 5.8 g lys/ Mcal of NE may negatively affect growth performance.

Barrows from the UNL herd showed a reduction in BF in response to increasing lys/NE fed low-CP AA supplemented diets and with 4.5 g of RAC/ton. The results of this experiment also suggest that pigs receiving RAC and low-CP AA-supplemented diets received more adequate AA concentration compared to the standard diet.

Footnote
1Roman Moreno is a graduate student and research technologist; Phillip S. Miller is a professor and Thomas E. Burkey is an assistant professor in the Animal Science Department.




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2008, 08:00:43 AM »
Tuesday, April 22, 2008Print This Page
Record Conference in the Name of Welfare
ATLANTA, US - Top animal welfare experts gathered in record numbers for a conference highlighting new trends, the latest research and leading strategies to implement better care on the farm.



 The annual conference, featuring international heavyweights in the field, is hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC), a partnership of Alberta's major livestock groups with a mandate to promote responsible, humane animal care within the livestock industry.

“We’re pleased to have you participate in what we believe is the largest livestock animal welfare conference ever held in Canada,” outgoing AFAC Chair Dr. Terry Church told the more than 230 livestock producers, students and other industry representatives in attendance. “This is a strong testament to the commitment of the industry to animal care and to all of the work that has gone on in this province to support and promote that commitment.”

Church’s comments were reinforced in a brief welcome by John Knapp, Deputy Minister, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, who commended industry livestock care efforts. “Right now, when our livestock sector is going through a period of not just difficulty but great difficulty, we need the type of support that AFAC can bring,” says Knapp. “While a regulatory system is vital to the messaging about animal care and the standards of care, the work that the industry does through AFAC is supremely important as an educator and integrator across livestock sectors.”

The main conference session was highlighted by a presentation by Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University on “Are we there yet?” in livestock care. Grandin, one of the world’s leading authorities on animal welfare issues and a designer of handling systems used widely in North America, delivered a presentation jam-packed with proven rules of thumb on how to handle livestock humanely and effectively. Throughout, she hammered on the need for simple, practical and measurable approaches to livestock care.

Compelling
In a compelling talk, punctuated with nuggets of wisdom such as “Scoring prevents bad from becoming normal,” and “See things from the animal’s point of view,” Grandin provided a comprehensive overview of what has worked and what still needs attention to improve livestock well-being.

She emphasized the need for all involved with the issue, including policy makers, regulators and food company executives, to get an on-the-ground perspective of what happens on the farm to make sure all solutions make practical sense. “Eyes need to be opened up,” says Grandin. “When things get abstract, that’s when you get problems.”

Providing an overview of international developments and trends in animal welfare was another leading international authority, Dr. John Webster of the University of Bristol in England. Webster was a founding member of the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council and is the original proponent of the “five freedoms” concept that has become central to emerging animal welfare policy and strategies worldwide. The concept states that farm animals should enjoy freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress.

Webster portrayed new expectations as moving toward a “virtuous bicycle” model, where incorporating welfare standards as part of food quality assurance can deliver benefits to all parts of a “fork-to-farm” market-driven chain, including animals, producers and consumers. “This includes profit-generating opportunities for farmers related to producing a value added product, which are critical to their survival in a competitive environment.”

Dr. Ed Pajor from Purdue University in Indiana noted that emerging animal welfare policy from powerful world bodies such as the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is set to have a major influence on policy on North America and that the free market is already having a major impact, with major food companies increasingly preferring to work with suppliers who can provide proof of responsible animal welfare practices. “This means higher expectations for the livestock industry, but it can also mean a great opportunity for those who can provide this assurance,” says Pajor.

Dr. John Church, Livestock Welfare Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, reported recent progress in providing livestock care assurance at meat plants in the province. Alberta has 50 licensed red meat plants, all of which have been audited for livestock handling and stunning practices. Dr. Terry Whiting of Manitoba Agriculture outlined the role and challenges of potential legislative approaches.

New Messages
Closing speaker Dan Murphy, commentator with U.S.-based Meat & Poultry magazine, offered perspective on how the livestock industry can reframe its message to the public to battle the rhetoric of animal activist groups and better showcase the good things it is doing. “You folks are the vanguard,” he told participants. “You have the credibility to speak up and speak out for your industry.”

“This conference has been designed to bring together international leaders in animal care in a major educational effort,” says Susan Church, AFAC Manager. “More information on AFAC including additional articles on the Livestock Care Conference is available at www.afac.ab.ca.”



mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2008, 07:30:51 AM »
Thursday, April 24, 2008Print This Page
USDA Must Address Crisis, say Pork Industry Leaders
US - In the face of rising feed costs and tightening credit markets and in an effort to stem mounting financial losses, the US pork industry has asked the US Department of Agriculture for assistance.


Officers and top staff with the National Pork Producers Council today met with Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to urge him to take immediate action to address what now is a hog industry economic crisis, which likely will affect the broader US economy, says a report for USagnet.

Over the past seven months, US pork producers have lost more than $2.1 billion. Due almost solely to a doubling of feed costs, producers now are losing $30-$50 on each hog marketed. Lenders are estimating that some producers could lose up to half or more of the equity in their operations by year-end.

10 Percent reduction Needed
Economists have estimated that the industry will need to reduce production by at least 10 percent – meaning a reduction of 600,000 sows - to restore profitability. But that cutback could be costly, with less-efficient packing plants closing; less manure for crop fertilizer and correspondingly a need for more man-made, foreign-produced fertilizer; a hike in pork retail prices because of a smaller supply; and lost pork industry jobs. Other industries that benefit from pork production, such as Main Street businesses, feed mills and trucking companies, also likely would see job losses. Additionally, there likely would be agricultural credit problems as some producers default on loans.

During discussions with Schafer - and in a letter presented to the secretary - NPPC President Bryan Black, a pork producer from Canal Winchester, Ohio, requested that USDA purchase an additional 50.5 million pounds of pork for various federal food programs. This would reduce the US. sow herd by nearly 163,600 animals. Black also asked that the secretary implement emergency programs and loan guarantees to help producers purchase feed, consider allowing early release without penalty of non-environmentally sensitive Conservation Reserve Program acres back into crop production and support pork exports through USDA's Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program.



mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2008, 07:32:58 AM »
Thursday, April 24, 2008Print This Page
Peta Offer a $Million for In Vitro Meat
US - Scientists around the world are researching or seeking funding to research ways to produce meat in the laboratory without killing any animals. Now the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has decided to up the pace by offering a million dollars to first person to do so.



in vitro meat production would use animal stem cells that would be placed in a medium to grow and reproduce. The result would mimic flesh and could be cooked and eaten. Some promising steps have been made toward this technology, but we're still several years away from having in vitro meat be available to the general public.

PETA is now stepping in and offering a $1 million reward to the first scientist to produce and bring to market in vitro meat.

Why is PETA supporting this new technology? More than 40 billion chickens, fish, pigs, and cows are killed every year for food in the United States by, what Peta believes are, unethical means. They say in vitro meat would spare animals from this suffering. In addition, in vitro meat would dramatically reduce the devastating effects the meat industry has on the environment.

Of course, humans don't need to eat meat at all—vegetarians are less likely to get heart disease, diabetes, or various types of cancer or become obese than meat-eaters are—and a terrific array of vegetarian mock meats already exist. But as many people continue to refuse to kick their meat addictions, PETA is willing to help them gain access to flesh that doesn't cause suffering and death.

Contest Details
PETA is offering a $1 million prize to the contest participant able to make the first in vitro chicken meat and sell it to the public by June 30, 2012. The contestant must do both of the following:

Produce an in vitro chicken-meat product that has a taste and texture indistinguishable from real chicken flesh to non-meat-eaters and meat-eaters alike.


Manufacture the approved product in large enough quantities to be sold commercially, and successfully sell it at a competitive price in at least 10 states.
Judging of taste and texture will be performed by a panel of 10 PETA judges, who will sample the in vitro chicken prepared using a fried "chicken" recipe from VegCooking.com. The in vitro chicken must get a score of at least 80 when evaluated in order to win the prize.



mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2008, 07:46:58 AM »
Friday, April 25, 2008Print This Page
Goats' Milk Helps Fend off E. coli-related Illness
US - Pigs fed goats' milk that was genetically modified to carry an important antibacterial enzyme found in human breast milk showed signs of better resisting attack by common E. coli bacteria than did pigs fed unmodified goats' milk without the human enzyme, report researchers at the University of California, Davis.


The findings, says a report on science site Physorg.com, provide evidence that milk carrying high levels of the human lysozyme enzyme - produced by genetically modified, or transgenic, goats - may improve the gastrointestinal health of pigs and other animals that consume the milk.
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"We are hopeful that milk with similar benefits one day will be available to protect infants and children against diarrheal illnesses, which every year kill millions of children around the world." 
Research scientists James Murray and Elizabeth Maga.
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Pigs were used in this study because they have digestive systems that are similar to those of humans. So, these results demonstrate that biotechnology can be used to improve the healthfulness of the milk of dairy animals by introducing beneficial properties of human milk

"We are hopeful that milk with similar benefits one day will be available to protect infants and children against diarrheal illnesses, which every year kill millions of children around the world," said James Murray, who led the study and fellow scientist Elizabeth Maga.

In tears
The enzyme lysozyme is found in the tears, saliva and milk of all mammals. While lysozyme is found at high levels in human breast milk, goats' milk contains only 0.06 percent as much lysozyme as does human milk. In this study, the transgenic goats produced milk with 67 percent as much lysozyme as human milk.

Lysozyme inhibits the growth of bacteria by destroying the bacterial cell wall, causing the cell contents to leak out. Because lysozyme limits the growth of bacteria that cause intestinal infections and diarrhea, and encourages the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria, it is considered one of the main human-milk components that contribute to the health of breast-fed infants.

In this study, which is published in the May issue of Journal of Nutrition, the researchers gave the young pigs solid feed and pasteurized, lysozyme-rich milk produced by transgenic dairy goats. A control group of young pigs received solid feed and pasteurized regular, non-transgenic goats' milk that did not have human lysozyme.

Half of the pigs were also given a dose of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli), a common bacterial strain known to cause gastrointestinal illness. During the study, the researchers found that the pigs fed the lysozyme-rich milk from transgenic goats had significantly lower levels of coliform bacteria, including E. coli, in their small intestines, than did the control group of pigs fed regular goats' milk.

Furthermore, the pigs receiving the lysozyme-rich milk and the pigs in the control group demonstrated normal weight gain, growth and blood composition.


In support
These results substantiated findings from a similar 2006 study by the researchers, which investigated the impact of transgenic goats' milk with human lysozyme on young goats and pigs.

The researchers note that further studies are needed to more completely characterize and understand the full impact of transgenic lysozyme-rich goats' milk on young pigs' intestinal bacteria, including potential positive effects on beneficial bacteria

Reference:
Dottie R. Brundige3, Elizabeth A. Maga3, Kirk C. Klasing3 and James D. Murray3,4
3 Department of Animal Science and 4 Department of Population Health and Reproduction, University of California, Davis, CA 95616


mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2008, 07:49:23 AM »
Friday, April 25, 2008Print This Page
US and Canadian Hog Inventory Up Three Percent
US - This publication is a result of a joint effort by Statistics Canada and NASS to release the total hogs, breeding, market hogs, sows farrowed, and pig crop for both countries within one publication.

 

This information was requested by the US hog industry to provide producers additional information about potential hog supplies. U.S. inventory numbers were previously released on March 28, 2008.

US and Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs for March 2008 was 78.9 million head. This was up 3 percent from March 2007 and up 5 percent from March 2006. The breeding inventory, at 7.64 million head, was down less than 1 percent from a year ago and last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 71.3 million head, was up 3 percent from last year but down 2 percent from last quarter. The pig crop, at 36.0 million head, was up 5 percent from 2007 and up 6 percent from 2006. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 3.86 million head, up 4 percent from last year.

US inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2008 was 65.9 million head. This was up 7 percent from March 1, 2007, but down 2 percent from December 1, 2007. The breeding inventory, at 6.14 million head, was up less than 1 percent from last year, but down slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 59.8 million head, was up 7 percent from last year, but down 2 percent from last quarter. The pig crop, at 28.1 million head, was up 6 percent from 2007 and up 9 percent from 2006. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 3.05 million head, up 5 percent from last year.

Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs on April 1, 2008 was 13.0 million head. This was down 12 percent from April 1, 2007 and down 14 percent from April 1, 2006. The breeding inventory, at 1.50 million head, was down 5 percent from last year and down 2 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 11.5 million head, was down 13 percent from last year and down 6 percent from last quarter. The pig crop, at 7.95 million head, was down 1 percent from 2007 and down 4 percent from 2006. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 809,000 head, down 2 percent from last year.


 

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2008, 08:11:15 AM »
Monday, April 28, 2008Print This Page
'Red Ink' Remains for Hog Producers
DES MOINES - Farm analysts say that pig producers will continue to struggle with profitability due to low hog slaughter prices and high grain costs.


It's a trend that has already kicked in the rest of the world, but John Lawrence, Iowa State University Extension economist, says US farmers will have to accept the situation is going to be the same here in the US,

"We're looking at big-time red ink. There will be some producers who will opt out of hog production," particularly those farmers who are diversified in crops and who can sell their corn and soybeans at today's high prices," he said in a report for TH Online. Lawrence believes that Iowa hog producers can expect more losses for the rest of this year and the first quarter of 2009. Hog producers here have lost money on each hog sold for five straight months and recent reports released by the US Department of Agriculture indicate farmers are likely to slow their hog production.

Hitting the Brakes
"People are hitting the brakes pretty hard. The trajectory is for hog production to drop," he added.

James Mintert, a Kansas State University professor, said large supplies of competing meats such as beef and poultry will continue to depress hog prices.

He added that the high demand for grain and the already high prices could be a very bad situation if the US has a poor crop season.


mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2008, 08:13:36 AM »
Monday, April 28, 2008Print This Page
Drug User Fee Law Critical, says NPPC
US - The National Pork Producers Council has urged Congress to reauthorize the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA), after the US Food and Drug Administration sent recommendations for the law to Capitol Hill.



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"It's a critical tool needed by the pork industry and veterinarians to maintain animal health and to provide safe, wholesome and nutritious pork" 
Bryan Black, NPPC President.
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Enacted in 2003, ADUFA authorizes FDA to collect fees from the animal health industry to be used for the review and approval of animal health products. The fees supplement the agency’s annual congressionally-approved appropriations and have enabled FDA to dramatically reduce its review time of new animal drugs, bringing medications to the market more quickly while maintaining high standards for safety and effectiveness.

“ADUFA ensures that animal health companies are able to provide in a timely manner products to treat and control the new diseases that our animals will face,” said NPPC President Bryan Black, a pork producer from Canal Winchester, Ohio.

“It's a critical tool needed by the pork industry and veterinarians to maintain animal health and to provide safe, wholesome and nutritious pork,” he said.

Since ADUFA was signed into law, four new swine health products have come on the market, helping producers fight the increasing challenges that swine respiratory diseases have created for the industry. Additionally, last year alone, veterinarians and pet owners received nine new products to help pets live longer, healthier lives.

Recommendations
Among its recommendations, FDA proposed a new user fee program – the Animal Generic Drug User Fee Act (AGDUFA) – to support the review of generic animal drug applications. Currently, FDA’s review of generic animal drugs is entirely funded through appropriations. The agency also recommended an “end review amendment” process, which would allow it to work with a drug manufacturer at the end of a review to make corrections to an application, resulting in reduced review time. FDA also asked that the reauthorized law include an agreement between the agency and industry to participate in 10 workshops over the next five years to improve communications between regulators and industry.

Lawmakers are expected to take up reauthorization of ADUFA, which expires Sept. 30, in the coming weeks. The law is expected to generate $98 million in user fees over the next five years; AGDUFA is estimated to bring in $27 million.

“NPPC will be very aggressive in lobbying Congress for a quick, clean reauthorization of this important law,” said Black. “ADUFA is a top priority for the U.S. pork industry.”




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2008, 08:04:07 AM »
Tuesday, April 29, 2008Print This Page
Mandate Weight Crushing Texan Livestock
TEXAS, US - Seeking immediate relief from skyrocketing food costs, Texas Governor Rick Perry today asked the federal government for a 50 percent waiver from the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) mandate for ethanol produced from grain.



Corn prices rose 138 percent globally over the last three years and global food prices increased 83 percent over the same time period. With the implementation of the new RFS mandate, some estimates predict corn prices will rise to $8.00/bushel for the 2008 crop, resulting in a negative impact of $3.59 billion to the state.


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"A waiver of RFS levels is the best, quickest way to reduce those costs before permanent damage is done." 
Texas Governor Rick Perry
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The RFS mandates the levels of renewable fuel usage regardless of market signals. The artificial demand for grain-derived ethanol is devastating the livestock industry in Texas and needlessly creating a negative impact on the state’s economy while driving up food prices around the world.

Texas plays a significant role in feeding and fueling the nation. Not only is the state the nation’s largest beef-producer, Texas also ranks in the top 10 states in poultry/egg and dairy production, which rely heavily on corn-based products for feed.

"We appreciate the good intentions behind the push for renewable fuels. In fact we’re diversifying our state’s energy portfolio at a rapid rate, but this misguided mandate is significantly affecting Texans’ family food bill," said Gov. Perry. "There are multiple factors contributing to our skyrocketing grocery prices, but a waiver of RFS levels is the best, quickest way to reduce those costs before permanent damage is done."

The impact on the cattle industry is particularly harmful to family ranches. According to the USDA, two-thirds of the 149,000 cattle producers in Texas have fewer than 50 head of cattle.

In 2007, 25 percent of the U.S. corn crop was diverted to produce ethanol, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, which projects that 30 to 35 percent will be diverted in 2008. With ever increasing mandates of corn crop diversion to ethanol production through 2015, the impact on food prices globally, and to Texas specifically will only worsen.




mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2008, 08:48:52 AM »
Wednesday, April 30, 2008Print This Page
IFAP Damned on Health, Welfare & Environment
US - Industrial Farm Animal Production methods have been critisised by a report deeming them unacceptable and a risk to public health, the environment and animal welfare.



The report comes after an extensive two-and-a-half year examination conducted by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP).

Commissioners have determined that the negative effects of the IFAP system are too great and the scientific evidence is too strong to ignore. Significant changes must be implemented and must start now. And while some areas of animal agriculture have recognized these threats and have taken action, it is clear that the industry has a long way to go.

Public Health
Over the past five decades, the number of farms producing animals for food has fallen dramatically, yet the number of food animals produced has remained roughly constant. It is the concentration of farm animals in larger and larger numbers in close proximity to one another, along with the potential of IFAP facilities to affect people, that give rise to many of the public health concerns that are attributed to IFAP. Animals in such close confinement, along with some of the feed and animal management methods employed in the system, increase pathogen risks and magnify opportunities for transmission from animals to humans. This increased risk is due to at least three factors: prolonged worker contact with animals, increased pathogen transmission within a herd or flock, and the increased opportunities for the generation of antimicrobial resistant bacteria (due to imprudent antimicrobial use) or new strains of viruses. Stresses induced by confinement may also increase the likelihood of infection and illness in animal populations.

Communities near IFAP facilities are subject to air emissions that can significantly affect certain segments of the population. Those most vulnerable--children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic or acute pulmonary or heart disorders--are at particular risk. The impacts on the health of those living near IFAP facilities have increasingly been the subject of epidemiological research. Adverse community health effects from exposure to IFAP air emissions fall into two categories: (1) respiratory symptoms, disease and impaired function, and (2) neurobehavioral symptoms and impaired function.

Environment
As with public health impacts, much of IFAP's environmental impact stems from the tremendous quantities of animal waste that are concentrated on IFAP premises. Animal waste in such volumes may exceed the capacity of the landscape to absorb the nutrients and neutralize pathogens. Thus, what should be a valuable byproduct (e.g., fertilizer) becomes a waste that must be disposed of.

According to the EPA, the annual production of manure produced by animal confinement facilities exceeds that produced by humans by at least three times. Unlike most human sewage, the majority of IFAP is spread on the ground untreated. Manure in such large quantities carries excess nutrients and farm chemicals that find their way into waterways, lakes, groundwater, soils and airways. Excess and inappropriate land application of untreated animal waste on cropland contributes to excessive nutrient loading and, ultimately, eutrophication of surface waters. Eutrophication is an excess of nutrients in a body of water, mostly nitrates and phosphates from erosion and runoff of surrounding lands, that causes a dense growth of plant life and the death of aquatic animal life due to lack of oxygen.

IFAP runoff also carries antibiotics and hormones, pesticides, and heavy metals. Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat bacterial infections and as growth promoters. Pesticides are used to control insect infestations and fungal growth. Heavy metals, especially zinc and copper, are added as micronutrients to the animal diet.

According to a 2006 UN report, globally, greenhouse gas emissions from all livestock operations account for 18% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, exceeding those from the transportation sector. IFAP can produce greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. Other greenhouse gases, primarily nitrous oxide, arise mainly from the microbial degradation of manure.

Air quality degradation is also a problem in and around IFAP facilities because of the localized release of significant quantities of toxic gases, odorous substances, and particulates and bioaerosols that contain a variety of microorganisms including human pathogens. Some of the most objectionable compounds are the organic acids, which include acetic acid, butyric acids, valeric acids, caproic acids, and propanoic acid; sulfur containing compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and dimethyl sulfide; and nitrogen-containing compounds including ammonia, methyl amines, methyl pyrazines, skatoles and indoles.

It is also recognized that ammonia emissions from livestock contribute significantly to the eutrophication and acidification of soil and water. Some level of nutrient overload occurs naturally, but this process can be accelerated by human activities. Acidification can put stress on species diversity in the natural environment.

Animal Welfare
IFAP methods for raising food animals have generated concern and debate over just what constitutes a reasonable life for animals and what kind of quality of life we owe the animals in our care. It is an ethical dilemma that transcends objective scientific measures, and incorporates value-based concerns.

Physical health as measured by absence of some diseases or predation, for example, may be enhanced through confinement since the animals may not be exposed to certain infectious agents or sources of injury that would be encountered if the animals were raised outside of confinement. It is clear, however, that good animal welfare can no longer be assumed based only on the absence of disease or productivity outcomes. Intensive confinement (e.g. gestation crates for swine, battery cages for laying hens) often so severely restricts movement and natural behaviors, such as the ability to walk or lie on natural materials, having enough floor space to move with some freedom, and rooting for pigs, that it increases the likelihood that the animals suffer severe distress.

A number of retailers, such as Burger King, Wolfgang Puck, and Safeway, are beginning to move away from supporting suppliers that use some of these extreme confinement practices. Florida, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado are phasing out gestation crates while Arizona and Colorado are phasing out veal crates, too. A measure on California's November ballot -- the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act -- would phase out battery cages, gestation crates and veal crates. These are the types of modest animal welfare public policy improvements that the Commissioners recommend implementing.

Rural America
Life in rural America has long been challenged by persistent poverty. The causes are many, but among them is the lack of economic diversity in rural economies. Workers have few options in the event of a plant closure or other dislocation, and unemployment rates are high. Consequently, IFAP is frequently considered an attractive new source of economic opportunity by local economic development officials, but with this transition comes significant change including public health threats.

The industrialization of American agriculture has transformed the character of agriculture itself and, in so doing, the face of rural America. The family-owned farm producing a diverse mix of crops and food animals is largely gone as an economic entity, replaced by ever-larger operations producing just one animal species, or growing just one crop, and many rural communities have fared poorly.

As the food animal industry shifted to a system of captive supply transactions controlled by production contracts, economic power shifted from farmers to livestock processors or so-called integrators. Farmers relinquished their once autonomous, animal husbandry decision -- making authority in exchange for contracts that provide assured payment, but require substantial capital investment. Once the commitment is made to such capital investment, many farmers have no choice but to continue to produce until the loan is paid off. Such contracts make it nearly impossible for there to be open and competitive markets for most hog and poultry producers, who must enter into contracts with the integrators (meat packing companies) if they are to sell their production.

Although the proponents of the industrialization of animal agriculture point to the increased economic efficiency of IFAP operations, the Commission is concerned that the benefits may not accrue in the same way to affected rural communities. In fact, industrialization leading to corporate ownership actually draws investment and wealth from the communities in which specific IFAP facilities are located.

The Commission's recommendations focus on appropriate siting of IFAP facilities in order to prevent further degradation of air, water, and soils and to minimize the impact on adjacent communities.

The Commission's key recommendations
Ban the non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animal production to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance to medically important antibiotics and other microbials.


Implement a disease monitoring program for food animals to allow 48-hour trace-back of those animals through aspects of their production, in a fully integrated and robust national database.


Treat IFAP as an industrial operation and implement a new system to deal with farm waste to replace the inflexible and broken system that exists today, to protect Americans from the adverse environmental and human health hazards of improperly handled IFAP waste.


Phase out the most intensive and inhumane production practices within a decade to reduce the risk of IFAP to public health and improve animal wellbeing (i.e., gestation crates and battery cages).


Federal and state laws need to be amended and enforced to provide a level playing field for producers when entering contracts with integrators.


Increase funding for, expand and reform, animal agriculture research.
"The goal of this Commission is to sound the alarms that significant change is urgently needed in industrial farm animal production," says John Carlin, PCIFAP Chairman and former Kansas governor. "I believe that the IFAP system was first developed simply to help increase farmer productivity and that the negative effects were never intended. Regardless, the consequences are real and serious and must be addressed."

Our energy, water and climate resources are undergoing dramatic changes that, in the judgment of the Commissioners, will require agriculture to transition to much more biologically diverse systems, organized into biological interactions that exchange energy, improve soil quality, and conserve water and other resources. "Long-term success will depend on the nation's ability to transform from an industrial economy that depends on quickly diminishing resources to one that is more sustainable, employing renewable resources and understanding of how all food production affects public health and the environment," says Michael Blackwell, PCIFAP Vice Chair and former dean of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and former Assistant Surgeon General, (Ret.) USPHS.

The PCIFAP consists of 15 Commissioners who bring individual knowledge and expertise in diverse fields, including public policy, veterinary medicine, public health, agriculture, animal welfare, the food industry and rural society. The Commission assessed the current state of industrial animal agriculture based on site visits to production facilities across the country; consultation with industry stakeholders, public health, medical and agriculture experts; public meetings; peer-reviewed technical reports; staff research; and Commissioners' own expertise. PCIFAP is a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.



mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2008, 08:51:38 AM »
Wednesday, April 30, 2008Print This Page
The Key To Recovery For Hog Producers
US - A hog market analyst in Memphis, Tennessee says immediate sow herd reduction is the key to the recovery of the hog industry.

American pork production has grown by 11 per cent in 2008. Ron Geitz says he expects production will be scaled back to last year's levels by the 4th quarter of 2008, with the American lean hog price around $55.

He notes American producers, unlike their Canadian counterparts, have just come off 4 consecutive strong years. Geitz says this is part of the problem since Americans are only starting to feel the pressure brought on by the excess supply of pork.




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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2008, 10:19:51 AM »
Thursday, May 01, 2008Print This Page
Report Sees Impending US Food Safety Crises
US - A news report developed by the Trust for America's Health has lambasted the US food safety system, claiming to have uncovered major gaps in state regulations that leave American unnecessarily vulnerable.



It goes on to identify obsolete laws, misallocation of resources, and inconsistencies among major food safety agencies. Outdated practices of inspecting every poultry, beef and pork carcass, were also picked out, even though changing threats and modern agriculture practices and technology make this an unproductive use of government resources;

"Our goal should be reducing the number of Americans who get sick from foodborne illness. But we can't adequately protect people from contaminated foods if we continue to use 100 year-old practices," said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. "We need to bring food safety into the 21st century. We have the technology. We're way past due for a smart and strategic upgrade."

Some problems outlined in the report, Fixing Food Safety: Protecting America's Food from Farm-to-Fork, include:

The U.S. food safety system has not been fundamentally modernized in over 100 years;


Inadequate resources are spent on fighting modern bacteria threats, such as trying to reduce Salmonella or dangerous strains of E. coli;


An estimated 85 percent of known foodborne illness outbreaks are associated with foods regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the agency receives less than half of the federal funding for food safety;


In the past 3 years, the main food safety function at FDA has lost 20 percent of its science staff and 600 inspectors;


Gaps in current inspection practices mean acts of agroterrorism -- such as contamination of wheat gluten or botulism -- could go undetected until they are widespread;


While 15 federal agencies are involved in food safety, the efforts are fragmented and no one agency has ultimate authority or responsibility for food safety;


For instance, the FDA regulates frozen pizza, but if the pizza is topped with 2 percent or more of cooked meat or poultry, then the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture becomes the regulatory agency;


Only one percent of imported foods are inspected. Approximately 60 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables and 75 percent of seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported; and


States and localities are not required to meet uniform national standards for food safety.
Approximately 76 million Americans -- one in 4 -- are sickened by foodborne diseases each year. Of these, an estimated 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die. Medical costs and lost productivity due to foodborne illnesses in the U.S. are estimated to cost $44 billion annually. A 2007 public opinion poll conducted by TFAH found that 67 percent of Americans are worried about food safety, and that public concerns about food safety rank higher than Americans' concerns about a biological or chemical attack and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

The TFAH report follows a series of studies by experts raising concerns about America's food safety, including a 2007 review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Science Board that concluded that the U.S. food supply "grows riskier each year" and a Government Accountability Office report that found federal oversight of food safety to be one of the government's "high risk" programs.



mikey

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Re: American Hog News USDA
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2008, 10:21:35 AM »
Thursday, May 01, 2008Print This Page
Pew Report Overlooks Producers Progress
US - Recommendations issued yesterday from a commission composed primarily of members opposed to modern livestock production would raise the cost of producing food animals and increase meat prices in the face of a global food crisis, says the the National Pork Producers Council.



The Recommendations were based on a $3.4 million, two-year “study” of the affects of livestock production on the environment, public health and rural economies conducted by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. They include phasing out certain production practices, banning certain animal antibiotics and placing new restrictions on the use of manure.

The commission overlooked the substantial progress made by the nation’s pork producers in addressing all of those issues, said NPPC.

“Pork producers have taken extensive steps over the last decade to meet various industry challenges,” said NPPC President Bryan Black, a pork producer from Canal Winchester, Ohio. “We constantly are looking for better ways to raise our pigs, including protecting them from diseases, and we always have been good stewards of the land, air and water that we use.”

Already Complying
Data from eight of the top 10 swine-producing states show, for example, that since 2000 less than one percent of hog farms have had a manure release. Additionally, NPPC pointed out, a tough new federal water pollution regulation covering CAFOs, which is due out late this summer, will protect water supplies from pollution from all large livestock operations by imposing a zero-discharge policy. Most swine CAFOs already comply with the rule.

“With the discharge issues largely addressed, it is hard to argue that large pork operations threaten human health, but more research is needed,” said Black. “As for our operations’ affects on air, the concentration of emissions outside our buildings is well below the established, available public-health standards.”
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"There was a lack of balance among commission members, and the commission's work was directed by a group unfriendly to animal agriculture. 
NPPC President Bryan Black.
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NPPC added that the Environmental Protection Agency recently commissioned a first-of-its-kind, livestock industry-supported study to determine the level of air pollution from all types of livestock operations. Findings from the two-year study, which began last summer, will provide the foundation for developing ways to ensure that air emissions from livestock operations don’t harm the environment.

On the issue of animal antibiotics, NPPC noted that a ban on sub-therapeutic drugs – which the commission recommended – would lead to more pig deaths from disease and an increase in the use of post-therapeutic drugs. Both would lead to a rise in pork prices.

NPPC disputed the commission’s characterization that large animal feeding operations are bad for the rural economy, pointing out that pork operations alone are major contributors to farm communities, generating more than 550,000 mostly rural jobs and contributing an estimated $20.7 billion of personal income and $34.5 billion of gross national product to the economy.
Meatless Objective?
The organization also questioned the objectivity of the commission, whose work was directed by the Center for a Livable Future, which is part of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Among the center’s projects is “Meatless Mondays.”

“There was a lack of balance among commission members, and the commission’s work was directed by a group unfriendly to animal agriculture,” said Black. “As a result, in its deliberations, the commission did not give adequate weight to the views of the numerous credible voices from within commercial animal agriculture who share the commission’s objectives for a livestock sector that is protective of the environment, food safety, public health and animal welfare.

“Lastly, it’s hard for us to react to the substance of the commission report because it failed to issue all but one of its technical papers,” added Black. “The lack of serious, fact-based findings and apparent reliance on numerous anecdotal, non-peer reviewed allegations only confirms our perception that the report recommendations were largely predetermined.”

 


 

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