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July 10, 2014

Free Important Webinar on VFD Regulations

There are only a few openings left for the free NIAA-hosted webinar, "VFD Regulations, FDA Guidance for Industry 209, Digital Documentation & the Aquaculture Industry," but you can still register for this important and educational webinar. It is limited to the first 100 registrants, so it is first come, first served. Please click HERE to register before it is sold out!

The free webinar will be presented Wednesday, August 6, 2014, starting at 12:00 Noon, CDT. It features Richard Sellers, Senior Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the American Feed Industry Association in a two–hour inclusive review of the laws, processes, challenges and future of VFD. Sellers will explain how the regulations affect you and your business. Click HERE to register or go to

Save the Date! 2014 Antibiotic Symposium

Stay tuned for details about the upcoming 2014 Antibiotic Symposium coming soon. Mark your calendars for November 12-14 in Atlanta, GA to join the discussion on "Antibiotic Use and Resistance: Moving Forward Through Shared Stewardship".

USDA Approves Vaccine for Pig Virus

An Iowa company was recently granted conditional approval for a vaccine to treat the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv). Since May 2013, PEDv has wreaked havoc on American hog farmers and caused higher pork prices for consumers.

With the pork industry being such an influential part of Iowa's economy, it made waves when Ames–based Harrsisvaccines became the first company in the country to receive the U.S. Department of Agriculture's conditional approval for PEDv vaccine and all farmers are now required to report any new cases. By Ty Rushing, Newton (Iowa) Daily News, 07/01/14

As Piglets Die, Pork Industry Clashes with Environmentalists over Burial Methods

Cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus have swept through the pork industry. The virus strikes piglets that are two to three weeks old and kills virtually all the animals it infects. It's responsible for a significant decrease in the number of hogs slaughtered in the United States.

A resulting problem has been the question of how to dispose of the piglets killed by the virus. The carcasses can't be moved from their farms for fear of infecting other pigs, so they're often buried on the farms, which has the potential of contaminating drinking water supplies for the surrounding area.

Waterkeeper Alliance has asked the state of North Carolina, a major pork producer, to put a mass disposal plan into effect and declare a state of emergency. Steven W. Troxler, the Republican Commissioner of Agriculture in the state, has declined to do so. "We are not aware of any published scientific data that indicates any groundwater contamination as a result of PEDv," Troxler wrote Waterkeeper Alliance in March. All Gov, 07/07/14

Economic Impacts on Consumer Food Insecurity

The ability for a household to adequately put food on the table is impacted by many factors, specifically economic resources, says U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service "Prevalence of U.S. Food Insecurity Is Related to Changes in Unemployment, Inflation, and the Price of Food" study.

While factors such as education levels and income has been measured in previous research, the impacts of food prices and inflation on a national level on food insecurity were main focus points. By Laura Mushrush, Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/07/14

FDA Secures Full Industry Engagement on Antimicrobial Strategy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week the first of its progress reports on its strategy to promote the judicious use of antimicrobials in food–producing animals. All 26 drug manufacturers affected by Guidance for Industry (GFI) #213 have now agreed to fully engage in the strategy by phasing out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food–producing animals for food production purposes and phasing in the oversight of a veterinarian for the remaining therapeutic uses of such drugs.

While GFI #213 specified a three–year timeframe (until December 2016) for drug sponsors to complete the recommended changes to their antimicrobial products, some sponsors have already begun to implement them. Bovine Veterinarian, 07/01/14

Hawaii-Based Cellana Signs On to Work with Israeli Algae Company

Cellana, a Hawaii-based developer of algae-based feedstocks for biofuels, animal feed and omega-3 nutritional oils, has signed a letter of intent with Israel-based Galil Algae Cooperative Agriculture Society Ltd. to produce high-value algae products for aquaculture uses.

The main goal of the program is to identify, cultivate, develop and scale up algae strains with immediate commercial value, emphasizing the high-value components for existing aquaculture, mariculture, nutraceuticals, pharmaceutical and/or cosmetic applications. Pacific Business News, 06/23/14

P.E.I. Egg Farmer Installs Humane Chicken Cages

A P.E.I. egg farmer is going above and beyond in ensuring his chickens remain happy and healthy. Nathan Burns of Freetown is installing the first enriched colony system for his hens, the first of its kind in Canada. It adheres to the most progressive European standards for humane treatment of poultry hens.

The spacious new cages have a private curtained–off area for laying eggs, plenty of perch space, a file for their nails and a conveyor belt below the cages that takes the eggs directly to a federally–inspected grading facility next door."This is all about animal care, animal comfort," Burns said. By Dave Stewart, The Guardian, 07/05/14

2014 American Horse Council Convention Wrap–Up

The 45th annual meeting of the American Horse Council took place in Washington, DC, in late June. It drew nearly 200 attendees, including industry leaders from 50 organizations, members of Congress and staff, and federal regulatory agency staff. "We had our best attendance in quite a few years," said AHC President Jay Hickey. "We think that is because of the importance of the issues facing all segments of the horse industry before Congress and the federal agencies. We also think the topic of this year's national issues forum, 'Where Have All the Horses Gone,' attracted great interest.

"Probably the most–discussed legislation was the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (PAST Act), which was before the AHC's Animal Welfare and Horse Show committees but brought up at several others too, Hickey said.

"The AHC, along with all major breed registries and horse show organizations, supports the bill, which now has 296 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 57 cosponsors in the Senate," he said. "That position of support was reaffirmed at the meetings. So we will redouble our efforts to get it passed. But even with that number of Congressional cosponsors, we still need more help from the horse community at large to get it over the finish line." The Horse, 07/03/14

Saving the Indigenous Navajo Horse

Like flecks of gold in a stream, hidden within the vast herds on the Navajo rangeland is something distinct, once highly–prized, and a significant source of Diné teachings – the indigenous Navajo horse.

Missing from the discussion about whether feral horses should be rounded up, sent to slaughter, left alone or placed in a sanctuary is a concern that a precious Navajo treasure with unique genetic and historical roots is also being unknowingly and systematically removed. Like pawning grandma's jewelry, tribal and chapter roundups may have an unintended consequence – the permanent loss of a rare family heirloom.

Horses are not an endangered species. But the Navajo horse, recognizably different from other breeds, is endangered by human activity – and human neglect. As the Navajo Nation continues feral horse roundups, it is decreasing not just domestic horse breeds but this uncommonly special Navajo horse from the only home it has known and adapted to over hundreds of years. By George Hardeen, Navajo Times, 07/03/14

How Do Antibiotics Promote Growth in Poultry?

Under the new FDA guidelines, in–feed antibiotics with FDA–approved performance claims can still be used to promote growth and improve feed efficiency – as long as they are not considered "medically important" to humans.

That is good news for efficiency–minded poultry producers looking to meet escalating world demand for healthy, safe and affordable chicken and turkey. Still, the words "growth promotion" and the role these antibiotics play in poultry production are often misinterpreted by those outside of production. The Poultry Site, 07/02/14

Risky Business Report on Climate Change 'Insurance Policy'

Another new report, "Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States" takes a look at the range of consequences that could result from climate change. The closest the report comes to the public policy arena is when it says, "our assessment finds that, if we act now, the U.S. can still avoid most of the worst impacts and significantly reduce the odds of costly climate outcomes–but only if we start changing our business and public policy practices today."

One critical issue identified in the report is the change in the number of days per year that are over 95°F. By Daryll E. Ray and Harwood D. Schaffer, University of Tennessee Extension, via Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/07/14

The above news articles are provided by the individual sources identified in each article and are not a product of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture. Intended for personal, noncommercial use only.

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The National Institute for Animal Agriculture provides a forum for building consensus and advancing proactive solutions for animal agriculture-the beef, dairy, swine, sheep, goats, equine and poultry industries-and provides continuing education and communication linkages for animal agriculture professionals. NIAA is dedicated to programs that work towards the eradication of disease that pose risk to the health of animals, wildlife and humans; promote a safe and wholesome food supply for our nation and abroad; and promote best practices in environmental stewardship, animal health and well-being. NIAA members represent all facets of animal agriculture.