The effects of depriving feed to facilitate transport and slaughter in sheep – a case study of cull ewes held off pasture for different periods

AIM: To determine the ability of sheep to mobilise their body reserves after being deprived of feed prior to transport for slaughter.

METHODS: A total of 240 3- and 4-year-old cull ewes were held off pasture for 0, 9, 18 or 30 hours (n=60 per group) then transported 1 hour by road, unloaded and washed, held in . . . → Read More: The effects of depriving feed to facilitate transport and slaughter in sheep – a case study of cull ewes held off pasture for different periods

Vet Ethics: Canine culls – some considerations

Following a political and humanitarian crisis in Nigeria in 1971, some French doctors came together to form a group called Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF – also known as Doctors Without Borders – has been involved in many significant crises like those in Rwanda, the Congo, and Bosnia. In its wake, a number of other “Without Borders” organizations have arisen. One of these is the Australian-based Vets Beyond Borders (VBB).

VBB focuses on Asia and the Pacific. In India, where I was fortunate recently to work as a volunteer (alongside an Australian colleague), VBB has been conducting sterilisation and training programs to limit the incidence of rabies in humans and animals. Tragically, India has up to 30,000 cases of human rabies per year, many of whom are children. Mostly this is due to an enormous street dog population that transmits the lethal and incurable virus through dog bites.

In many places around the world, the response to this health hazard has been to cull animals en masse, achieved variably through gassing, drowning, electrocution, shooting, beating, or mass confinement. In contrast, VBB has an anti-culling policy. Instead, they have adopted a program called ABC-AR, or Animal Birth Control and Anti-Rabies. In this program male and female dogs are humanely caught, sterilised, vaccinated for rabies, treated as needed, and returned to their place of capture. Continue reading Vet Ethics: Canine culls – some considerations

Vet Ethics: Return of the bats

Many years ago I wrote an article for The Veterinarian on the grey-headed flying foxes at Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens. Amid great controversy, the Garden’s management had decided to kill bats in order to remove them all from Fern Gully. Recently, an analysis of the saga by Dan Perry from Texas Tech University was published in a peer-reviewed ethics journal. Ten years on from the debate, and with the benefit of hindsight, it is interesting to revisit the issue. It contains some lessons on how to approach the ethical question of native animals and their effects on human interests and the environment. Continue reading Vet Ethics: Return of the bats