China live export claims garner criticism

Veterinary groups have criticised the federal government’s plans to commence live cattle exports to China.

Vets Against Live Export (VALE) said the journey by sea to China is about 18 days, equivalent to the journey to the Middle East, a distance they deem unacceptable.

The organisation is also concerned about animal protection laws in China, and said Australian animals are likely to be handled and slaughtered in a fashion that would be unacceptable at home.

VALE believe animal welfare is best served when animals are slaughtered as close as possible to the point of production.

“The history of what has happened to Australian cattle exported live tells us that the outcomes are not likely to be acceptable,” VALE spokesperson Sue Foster said.

“The second important consequence is the deleterious effect this will have on the Australian meat processing industry.” Continue reading China live export claims garner criticism

Vaccinations rise following lyssavirus deaths

There has been a sharp rise in the number of lyssavirus vaccinations following the death of an eight-year-old boy who succumbed to the virus.
Almost 300 people have sought the vaccination, up over 100 per cent on the same period last year.
Lincoln Flynn was scratched by a flying fox about two months before becoming ill.
Health experts have recommended that anyone who suspects they may have been scratched or bitten by a bat in the last few years to be vaccinated against the virus, which is similar to rabies. Continue reading Vaccinations rise following lyssavirus deaths

Eagle Post

On one covert video, farm workers illegally burn the ankles of Tennessee walking horses with chemicals. Another captures workers in Wyoming punching and kicking pigs and flinging piglets into the air. Moreover, at one of the country’s largest egg suppliers, a video shows hens caged alongside rotting bird corpses, while workers burn and snap off the beaks of young chicks.

Each video – all shot in the last two years by undercover animal rights activists — drew a swift response. Federal prosecutors in Tennessee charged the horse trainer and other workers, who have pleaded guilty, with violating the federal US Horse Protection Act. Local authorities in Wyoming charged nine farm employees with cruelty to animals. In addition, the egg supplier, which operates in Iowa and other states, lost one of its biggest customers, McDonald’s, which said the video played a part in its decision.

However, a dozen or so state legislatures have had a different reaction: They proposed or enacted bills that would make it illegal to covertly videotape livestock farms, or apply for a job at one without disclosing ties to animal rights groups. They have also drafted measures to require such videos to be given to the authorities almost immediately, which activists say would thwart any meaningful undercover investigation of large factory farms.

Some of the legislation appears inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business advocacy group with hundreds of state representatives from farm states as members. The group creates model bills, drafted by lobbyists and lawmakers that in the past have included such things as “stand your ground” gun laws and tighter voter identification rules. Continue reading Eagle Post

Mulesing debate continues

A study conducted by the University of Melbourne’s Mackinnon Project that compared the controversial practice of mulesing with the use of breech clips, and applications of a long-acting insecticide to combat breech flystrike in sheep, has found that mulesing remains the most effective method.

The three-year study, which did not include animal welfare outcomes, was led by project director, and Australian Sheep Vet Society member, John Larsen, and involved more than 6000 sheep in three self-replacing merino flocks at Nareen, Ballarat and East Gippsland, in Victoria.

Publication of the results coincided with renewed pressure by animal welfare groups on the fashion industry, urging it to ban the use of mulesed wool in the manufacture of garments, and urging farmers to ban the practice of mulesing.

Although results are still being finalised, the study has shown that clips were less effective and cost-effective as had been hoped, and provided little protection from strike during spring and early summer. Animals that were treated with the insecticide Clik however, showed a similar or lower prevalence of flystrike to mulesed sheep during the pre-Christmas peak breech-strike period.

“There was no difference in the prevalence of breech strike between the mulesed and unmulesed groups but once the protection from the chemical expired after Christmas, the unmulesed sheep were at greater risk of breech strike compared to both the clipped and mulesed ones,” Larsen said.

While no farmer enjoys the “unpleaseant” task of mulesing Larsen said it was still an effective method, although he stressed breeding for less wrinkle and wool on the breech was clearly the way forward, and where the industry “should be going aggressively”. Continue reading Mulesing debate continues

Letter to the Editor: hunting in national parks

Dear Sir,

I wrote the email below about a month ago in response to your article in the Veterinarian, thinking, ever so stupidly that it might just go away …. and so never sent it on!

As you can see by these links my worst fears are coming to light…

Dear Sir,

I could not believe that anyone who calls themselves a veterinarian could support the hunting of animals in any form or shape. Hunting is a sport where the intention is to kill. Before their eventual death animals affected by hunting endure varying and unpredictable levels of fear, pain and suffering, no matter how careful, accurate or proficient the hunter. This is not my opinion – it is a fact.

This is a considerably different issue if we were talking about professional killers – however, even then the opportunities for welfare issues are still enormous, as the kangaroo industry has demonstrated for years.

As far as I can see there can be no situation where hunting by amateurs anywhere, will not result in fear, pain and suffering in the animals that are targeted, whether they be noxious pests, feral menaces or accidental victims of a trigger happy hunter “having a blast of a weekend”.  The Parks personnel would agree – that is why they are striking and rallying against such stupid legislation.

Whilst I know there are some hunters out there who really do appreciate wildlife and are passionate about removing feral animals from natural environments (as am I) in general the hoi polloi who own guns and want to go hunting are not that responsible. Remember this is the same group of people lobbying to have 12-year-old children running around our parks with bows and arrows and hunting knives.

Clearly the President of the AVA’s Conservation Group is merely playing politics. It’s nice to be seen as the “voice of reason” and it makes you appear to be sound and thoughtful. I have been a veterinarian for over 27 years, and have also looked after thousands of wildlife in that period. I have seen the pain and suffering that mankind inflicts on wildlife (both native and introduced) just through carrying out their normal activities (e.g. driving along the road in cars and trucks fitted with penis-enhancing bull bars, tearing down the bush for housing, shooting at wildlife to “protect” their crops, netting platypus in fish traps, destroying fragile environments for coal, gold, and whatever other selfish object of their inane desire may be. I have attended a number of licensed “kills” designed to reduce the feral and the native population in various areas of the state and I can attest that those supposed hunters with years of experience that attended were some of the worst marksman that I have ever witnessed; needless to say their intended victims where shot about as inhumanely as one could imagine.

In this light I have thought long and hard and can see no benefit from allowing people to fulfil their sick urge to kill, and dress it up as being for the “good of the community”. Why not just join the armed forces and go overseas? Continue reading Letter to the Editor: hunting in national parks