FARMNEWS: Veterinary scientists track the origin of a deadly emerging pig virus in US

Veterinary scientists track the origin of a deadly emerging pig virus in US

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by Michael Sutphin Blacksburg VA (SPX) Oct 28, 2013 Veterinary researchers at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech have helped identify the origin and possible evolution of an emerging swine virus with high mortality rates that has already spread to at least 17 states.

A team of researchers led by Dr. X.J. Meng, University Distinguished Professor of Molecular Virology, has used virus strains isolated from the ongoing outbreaks in Minnesota and Iowa to trace the likely origin of the emergent porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) to a strain from the Anhui province in China. The virus, which causes a high mortality rate in piglets, was first recognized in the United States in May of this year.

„The virus typically only affects nursery pigs and has many similarities with transmissible gastroenteritis virus of swine,“ said Meng, who is a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.

„There is currently no vaccine against porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in the United States. Although some vaccines are in use in Asia, we do not know whether they would work against the U.S. strains of the virus.“

The researchers determined not only that the three U.S. strains of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus are most closely related to the Chinese strains of the virus, but also that the U.S. strains likely diverged two or three years ago following an outbreak of a particularly virulent strain in China.

According to the study, Origin, Evolution, and Genotyping of Emergent Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Strains in the United States“, the U.S. strains of the virus share 99.5 percent of their genetic code with their Chinese counterpart.

Allan Dickerman, a co-author of the paper and research assistant professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, performed the molecular clock analysis to determine that the divergence of the U.S. and Chinese virus strains coincides with a porcine epidemic diarrhea virus outbreak in China back in December of 2010. Meng said it is unclear whether the U.S. strains of the virus diverged in China or in the United States.

The sudden emergence of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which belongs to the coronavirus family, has caused economic and public health concerns in the United States.

„The ongoing outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in humans from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula and the historical deadly nature of the 2002 outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus create further anxiety about the emergency of PEDV in the United States due to the lack of scientific information about the origin and evolution of this emerging coronavirus,“ wrote Dr. Yao-Wei Huang, the first author of the paper and a former research assistant professor at the veterinary college who is now a professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

Researchers have found no evidence that the virus can spread to humans or pose a threat to food safety. They did, however, come across additional evidence that the U.S. strains share several genetic features with a bat coronavirus – findings which point to an evolutionary origin from bats and the potential for cross-species transmission.

Though commonly accepted that the virus spreads through the fecal-oral route, Meng said that scientists have not yet ruled out the possibility of other transmission routes. Symptoms include acute vomiting, anorexia, and watery diarrhea with high mortality rates in pigs less than 10 days old.

„Veterinarians need to recognize the symptoms of the disease, and with the lack of a vaccine in the United States, practicing strict biosecurity and good sanitation procedures on the farm are important for prevention and control of this deadly disease,“ Meng added.

The research team also included Dr. Pablo Pineyro, an anatomic pathology resident at the veterinary college; Dr. Long Li and Dr. Li Fang of the Hangzhou Beta Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory of Hangzhou, China; Dr. Ross Kiehne of the Swine Veterinary Center in St. Peter, Minn.; and Dr. Tanja Opriessnig of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University.

The study, „Origin, Evolution, and Genotyping of Emergent Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Strains in the United States“ was published in the Oct. 15 issue of the American Academy of Microbiology’s journal, mBio.


„Modern“ Pig Farming in Europe?


Pork ProducersimagepigwitheyesoffearIn my book

Schwein gehabt?

I published a lot of Videos showing the most abnorm & horrible situations for pigs in CAFOs. I shawn Pictures and Videos from EUROPE, too.

Here is The biggest scandal in modern pig farming?: via @youtube

PIGS: Outside View: China´s ownership of an iconic American food company

Outside View: China’s ownership of an iconic American food company



by Frank J. Maduri New York (UPI) Oct 25, 2013 The recent acquisition of Smithfield Foods, Inc., by Chinese food producer Shuanghui International has left many Americans feeling concerned about the future of food safety.

These feelings are heightened with the news that tainted dog treats from China have been linked to hundreds of animals dying from a mystery illness.

The purchase of Smithfield was the largest Chinese investment in a U.S. company, with the deal valued at $7 billion, including $4 billion in cash.

Shuanghui will now have access to food science secrets that were proprietary to Smithfield Foods. It can use this technology to directly impact competition with other U.S. food companies.

I spent seven years working in the food technology sector and I can attest that the proprietary technologies held by a respective company provide a strategic advantage over other companies in the industry. The genetics technology held by Smithfield Farms can be used by Shuanghui in China on its pigs, which would dramatically affect the export of U.S. pork to China, potentially decreasing it.

Smithfield officials have maintained that they made this deal to increase the export of U.S. pork to China. The company has been very demonstrative about this operational imperative in order to allay the fears of the American public that Chinese pork would be imported for use in the Smithfield product line.

However, Shuanghui is a huge conglomerate with several subsidiaries and is known throughout the food industry to have very loose management structure. In 2011, a Shuanghui subsidiary was caught putting a banned chemical into pig feed to make the animals leaner. It is this type of blatant sabotage of products and willingness of Chinese companies to cut corners that has U.S. consumers worried that will become the new order of business at Smithfield.

Chinese companies have brought tainted dry wall, pet food and other food products into the United States in recent years. This deal has caused many Americans to question food safety policies especially in companies with foreign ownership.

Many Americans called upon Congress and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to block this purchase of Smithfield Foods. Congress admitted that they couldn’t block the purchase of a U.S. company by a foreign entity unless it involved computers or national security.

Some members of Congress were so concerned about the Smithfield acquisition that they are discussing in the U.S. Senate whether food security could fall within the national security umbrella. If that dialogue has traction and the law is revised, then the Senate could potentially block future purchases by foreign entities.

The CFIUS reviewed and ultimately approved the transaction of Smithfield to Chinese ownership. Its decision raises the question: Is this the start of a trend where more Chinese companies are going to seek to obtain U.S. companies in the food industry?

That trend of Chinese involvement in the U.S. food industry could have drastic implications on food safety. In my experience with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, I have found that the agency is overrun with responsibilities so it relies on voluntary compliance and not inspections or other methods of enforcing the food safety standards.

The further involvement of Chinese food companies in the U.S. food marketplace also has the American public and the food industry concerned about the integrity of the supply chain. The Chinese reputation for degradation of products and disregard for the regulatory controls in the industry precedes them. The supply chain could very easily be compromised with more Chinese companies being integrated into the U.S. food industry.

Shuanghui maintains that it was interested in obtaining Smithfield Foods to meet increased demand for pork products in China. This increased demand is being driven by their rising middle class coupled with the trend in China to move away from vegetables and rice toward a diet of increased protein consumption.

Furthermore, Shuanghui has stated to the media that it needed to acquire a U.S. company with the technology to help them improve food safety in the pork products marketplace in China. The pork industry in China has had a number of very notable safety issues, including an incident in which dead pigs were dumped into a river near Shanghai.

Food technology and safety protocols used by Smithfield are going to be integral for Shuanghui to expand its capability to meet the rising demand for pork in China.

In the end, this deal could portend a future where China is forced to obtain other food companies in the United States and throughout the Western world because of the poor environmental conditions in China.

These conditions, along with the tremendous demand of an enormous population, will be the impetus for China to seek outside help via the purchase of Western companies. This trend will probably alienate China on the international stage but the Chinese don’t have many other constructive pathways to address the issues in food safety that have plagued their country.

The U.S. public has to have a constructive dialogue and determine how we can implement government safeguards to insulate the U.S. food industry from involvement from Chinese investment and ownership in the future.

Brazil and New Zealand have safeguarded their agricultural systems from Chinese intervention and the United States has to consider similar safeguards. Our society and the future generations of Americans depend upon it.

(Frank J. Maduri is a freelance writer and journalist with professional experience across a variety of industries including food technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare services and environmental products. He has been involved in several large scale business transactions involving commodities sourced throughout the world.)

(United Press International’s „Outside View“ commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

„Schwein gehabt?“ Gewalt auf unseren Tellern: Zwei Rezensionen meines Buches

18. März 2013, 9:36 vormittags
DCk9c[1]Das war es also mit dem Schweineschnitzel. Nach der Lektüre von Annamaria Grabowskis erhellendem Buch wird man kein anoymes Schnitzel als entfremdeten Gegenstand auf dem Teller ansehen.
Die Autorin sagt: “Ich habe mich den Tieren in der Massentierhaltung, hier besonders den Schweinen, zugewandt.Ich bin der Frage, was uns Menschen bewegt, Tiere in Massentierhaltung, Massentiertransporten, Massenschlachtanlagen zu bringen, nachgegangen.Enstanden ist dieses Buch, das auch eine Kulturgeschichte des Fleisches, des Fleischgenusses, aber auch der Gewalt ist. Vorgestellt wird auch die Situation derer, die in Schlachthöfen, auf Tiertransporten und Auktionshäusern für Farmtiere arbeiten;die Frage wird gestellt, welche Auswirkungen ihre Tätigkeit auf ihre Umwelt, die nähere und weitere, haben könnte, wleche Folgen chronische Gewalt an Tieren bei Tier und Mensch auslöst. Wissenschaftler werden zitiert, die nach intensicen Forschungsarbeiten davon überzeugt sind, dass Schweine intelligente, aufgeweckte und soziale Tiere sind. Es wird berichtet von Hamlet und Omelette, zwei Schweinen, die Videospiele lieben, von Lulu, die die Mutter ihrer Besitzerin rettet, von Schweinen, die sich selbst im Spiegel erkennen, die schwimmen und tauchen können, ach und noch so viel mehr.Das Schreien und Weinen der Schweine, bei der Kastration der Ferkel, bei der Wegnahme der Ferkel vom Muttertier, bei Abholung für den Transport zum Schlachthof, beim Schlachten am Hof, hat mich so bewegt, dass ich mich daran machte, über das Leben der Schweine zu recherchieren.”
Mit Engagement und Sachverstand Rezension von Melody
Mit bewunderungswürdigem Engagement widmet sich die Autorin dem Schicksal der Schweine in unserer Kultur und in unserem Alltagsleben. Sie schildert die Zustände in den Fleischfabriken und beleuchtet die reichhaltige Literatur zum Verhalten – und ebenso der Intelligenz – dieser so neugierigen und verspielten Säugetiere und kommt zu erschütternden Ergebnissen. Wer dieses Buch mit Herz und Verstand liest, ist aufgefordert sein eigenes Verhalten zu überdenken. Es liegt auf der Hand, daß billiges Schweinefleisch wie es gerade in Deutschland en masse “produziert” wird, mit unsäglichem Tierelend einhergeht und die Mehrheit der VerbraucherInnen dies akzeptiert, weil sie nicht von ihren Essensgewohnheiten ablassen mag, wozu Schweineschnitzel und Wurstwaren gehören. Grabowski zeigt, welche Folgen dies hat, für unsere Gesundheit, unsere Umwelt, unser Wohlbefinden – und das Leben der Tiere, das kaum mehr als “Leben” und definitiv nicht als artgerechtes Leben bezeichnet werden kann. Auf fast 1000 Seiten zeigt uns die Autorin alle Aspekte des Schweinelebens, und der Bedeutung, die dieser systematische Mißbrauch für uns alle hat. Wer nun ein trockenes Sachbuch erwartet wird eines Besseren belehrt. Mit zahlreichen Abbildungen, Textcollagen und eigenen Meinungen macht die Autorin dieses Buch trotz seiner erschütternden Thematik zu einer erträglichen und abwechslungsreichen Lektüre, wobei die Ernsthaftigkeit ihres Ansatzes, der durch Hinweise auf die moderne Tierethik und Tierphilosophie unterstützt wird, immer präsent ist. Problematisch ist Grabowskis Versuch die Schoah und die Massentierhaltung miteinander zu verknüpfen und in diesen ohnehin sehr anspruchsvollen Text einzufügen. Dies könnte manchen LeserIn zu Mißverständnissen verleiten, eine Gefahr die der Ankündigungstext nahelegt; die Verknüpfung von Schwein und Schoah ist nicht ausreichend dargestellt. Muslimische und jüdische LeserInnen wird diese Verknüpfung irritieren: das Schwein ruft in vielen Kulturen und Religionen negative Assoziationen hervor und wird als “unrein” betrachtet; ein Vergleich von Mensch und Schwein gilt als massive Beleidigung. Annamaria Grabowski, die auch Psychologin und Psychotherapeutin ist und zur Veröffentlichung einen eigenen Verlag gegründet hat, stellt die industrielle Tierproduktion und Tiervernichtung und die deutschen Vergangenheit in ein Kontinuum. Kurzum: Ein mutiges und engagiertes Buch mit politischem und gesellschaftsveränderndem Anspruch, reichhaltigem Fotomaterial, ausführlichen Texten, dem unbedingt eine große Verbreitung zu wünschen ist.

FARMNEWS: Japanese fast-food chain to farm in Fukushima


Japanese fast-food chain to farm in Fukushima by Staff Writers Tokyo (AFP) Oct 01, 2013

Major Japanese fast-food chain Yoshinoya said Tuesday it would grow rice and vegetables in Fukushima prefecture, home to the nuclear plant that was crippled by a tsunami in 2011.

Operator Yoshinoya Holdings said it had set up a joint venture with local farmers — called Yoshinoya Farm Fukushima — to grow rice, onions and cabbages in a 4.3-hectare (10.6 acre) field in Shirakawa, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the nuclear plant.

It will also build a facility to process vegetables for use in Yoshinoya restaurants across the nation, the firm said, adding strict radiation screening measures will be put in place.

„We believe this will lead to support for reconstruction,“ Yoshinoya said in a statement, adding the move would also help it secure low-priced ingredients for its beef bowl dishes.

Large swathes of Fukushima were evacuated after a nuclear emergency erupted in March 2011 when a quake-triggered tsunami smashed into a nuclear power station on the coast, sending reactors into meltdown and spreading radiation over a wide area.

Tens of thousands of people are still unable to return to their homes around the plant, while the government has lifted exclusion zones in some areas.

Farmers across Fukushima, a relatively large area that is mainly unaffected by the disaster, have complained about plunging prices for their produce.

Consumers, wary of the taint from the nuclear disaster, continue to avoid food carrying the Fukushima tag.

Two Thai Farmers Carry their Pigs from their Flooded Farm in Phitsanulok Province

On the domesticated animal front, two Thai farmers carry their pigs from their flooded farm in Phitsanulok province, northern Thailand.On the domesticated animal front, two Thai farmers carry their pigs from their flooded farm in Phitsanulok province, northern Thailand. Photograph: EPA