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July 24, 2014
Calling All Members!

Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Conference in Brazil

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), announced today that it will host the first Global Conference on Sustainable Beef at the World Trade Events Center in São Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 2–5, 2014. As part of the conference, GRSB will release its long–anticipated definition of global sustainable beef and highlight exciting new developments in beef sustainability.

"GRSB is a global, multi–stakeholder organization focused on improving the sustainability of the beef value chain. We view sustainability as a journey of continuous improvement where economic, societal and environmental factors are balanced to achieve sustainable outcomes" said Cameron Bruett, president of GRSB and head of corporate affairs for JBS USA, the North American subsidiary of JBS S.A., the world's largest meat processing company, which is headquartered in Brazil. "It is imperative that the broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and consumption of beef, as well as civil society and allied industries, work together to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability and what it means to their sector, their operations, our society and our planet."

The conference's theme, "Sustainable Beef: Building a Vision for Our Future," sets the framework for the roll–out of GRSB's principles and criteria. GRSB News Release via Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/21/14

CAST GE Labeling Issue Paper Creates an Impressive Impact

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) released Issue Paper 54, The Potential Impacts of Mandatory Labeling for Genetically Engineered Food in the United States, on April 28, 2014. This timely paper provides pros and cons on the potential impacts of mandatory labeling, the costs involved with labeling, and experiences in countries that use mandatory labeling.

Since its release, the paper has generated significant interest due to new state initiatives and the growing national debate on mandatory labeling. In addition to a strong day of rollout activity, there have been many follow-on activities, media interviews, a well-attended webinar involving task force authors, and steady website traffic to download the paper and view presentation videos. CAST News Release, 07/22/14

Commentary: Nature Knows Best

If you were asked to name the hottest new beverage in the dairy case these days, would you guess correctly? The answer is almond milk. Why? Ask most consumers, and organoleptic considerations aside, a substantial majority will typically agree that almond milk is a better "environmental choice" than cow's milk. The reasoning goes something like this: It's made from nuts, and nuts grow on trees, and trees are green, so voila! Almond milk must be "green." Plus, cows make manure, which smells terrible, so almond milk has to be a better for the environment, right?

Not so fast. Let's dig a little deeper. Although most brands boast about the low calorie count per serving – an eight–ounce serving of unsweetened almond milk is only 30 to 35 calories – there's a reason for that. The main ingredient is filtered water. That's why an eight–ounce glass of almond milk offers only has one gram of protein and less than of one gram each of fiber, versus almost 8 grams of protein in a comparable size serving of cows milk. Of those 30 "delicious" calories, 25 (or 83 percent) are from fat. What you're buying for the $3.50 to $4.00 it costs for a two–quart carton is basically a container of water laced with a dose of ground almonds, plus some emulsifiers to maintain the suspension and food gums to mimic the mouthfeel of dairy milk.

But here's the most disturbing aspect of the sudden surge in almond milk sales, which is fueled in large part by all the vegetarian advocates who ceaselessly demonize cow's milk: It requires more than a gallon of water just to grow one single almond. By Dan Murphy, Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/21/14

Poultry Rule Would Shift Inspection Responsibilities

A coalition of consumer groups has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Management and Budget to release the latest version of a rule to change poultry inspection and open a new comment period. Unconfirmed reports have circulated that USDA pulled back on a proposal to increase the speed at which chickens whizz past inspectors after a meeting with the National Council of La Raza, which speaks for the Hispanic workers employed in the plants.

The rule, promulgated by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, would shift some poultry inspection responsibilities from federally employed inspectors to employees of the poultry companies, theoretically freeing the federal employees to perform other tasks. The original version of the rule also shifted the allowed line speeds from 140 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute. Members of the Safe Food Coalition that signed the letter urging that the rule be made public and open to comment include: Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, Government Accountability Project, National Consumers League, and STOP Foodborne Illness.By Jerry Hagstrom, Agweek, 07/21/14

New Market Research Report: Animal Feed Additives Market by Types & Geography –Trends & Forecasts (2011– 2018)

Animal feed additives are pharmaceutical or nutritional substances which are not of natural origin and are added to prepared and stored feeds. Feed additives are gaining importance due to various functions such as growth promotion, controlling infectious diseases and enhancement of feed digestibility in animals. The animal feed additives market is growing at a steady pace and the market is projected to grow in the future due to the increasing demand for meat and meat products around the globe. Epidemics such as bird flu, other diseases such as foot–and mouth–disease, and environmental concerns have led to increase in concern over animal health around the globe, due to which, meat producers have increased their focus on feed quality and certification.

This research report categorizes the global market for animal feed additives on the basis of Types, livestock, and geography; projecting revenue and analyzing trends in each of the submarkets. REPORT ReportBuyer via Market Watch, 7/22/14

USMEF Audio Report: New U.S. Lamb Cut Chart Guide

With funding support from the American Lamb Board, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has developed a new U.S. Lamb Cut Chart Guide to help promote U.S. lamb in international markets. With the Caribbean being one of the most popular destinations for U.S. lamb exports, USMEF Caribbean representative Elizabeth Wunderlich has been heavily involved in the project. Listen to audio report HERE. USMEF via Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/22/14

Watch for Illegally Compounded Animal Drugs

In the wake of recent horse deaths following treatment with compounded drugs, the Animal Health Institute (AHI) is warning veterinarians to avoid these products and be cognizant of the risks and potential liability they present. In a news conference this week, AHI and others also called on the FDA to step up their enforcement of laws regulating manufacture of compounded drugs. By John Maday, Bovine Veterinarian, 07/16/14

Researchers Use "Big Data" to Track Zoonotic Diseases

About 60 percent of diseases are zoonotic, or can pass between humans and various animal species, and understanding the pathways and complex relationships between pathogens, hosts and environmental factors is key to improving control strategies.

To untangle some of those relationships, researchers at the University of Liverpool in England are developing the Enhanced Infectious Diseases (EID2) database with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The researchers have built a database team member and epidemiologist Dr. Marie McIntyre, says is "matchless in scale, and has the capacity to hold data on all known human and animal pathogens, when detailed information becomes available." The database has been used in efforts to trace the history of human and animal diseases, predict the effects of climate change on pathogens, produce maps of which diseases are most likely in some areas and categorize the complex relationships between human and animal carriers and hosts of numerous pathogens. By John Maday, Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/17/14

USDA Offers PEDv Reporting Instructions, Other Details

The USDA has followed up with more specifics on how to understand and comply with its Federal Order on June 5 that requires pork producers, veterinarians and diagnostic labs to report presumptive or confirmed positive occurrences of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), Porcine Deltacoronavirus, (PDCoV) or other swine enteric coronavirus diseases (SECDs) that meet the case definition. The details currently available, including the newly revised SECD Herd Plan Requirements and other instructions on potentially reimbursable expenses, can be found HERE. National Pork Board via PORK Network, 07/15/14

APHIS Posts May 2014 Scrapie Report

The May 2014 report for the National Scrapie Eradication Program has been posted HERE, (PDF). Published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the report reviews the current progress of scrapie eradication in the United States.

Eight source flocks (including two goat herds) and three infected flocks were designated in fiscal year 2013. As of May 31, 2014, two source flocks and three infected flocks have been designated in fiscal year 2014. At the end of fiscal year 2013, the percentage of cull sheep found positive at slaughter and adjusted for face color was 0.015 percent. This measure of prevalence has decreased by 90 percent since slaughter surveillance started in fiscal year 2003. ASI Weekly, 07/18/14

Placitas Horse Group May Appeal Judge's Ruling

The attorney representing the Placitas–based Wild Horse Observers Association in a lawsuit against the state Livestock Board says he's planning to appeal a District Court Judge's decision that ruled against the organization. The Wild Horse Observers Association was seeking to stop the Livestock Board from picking up horses from private property in Placitas and asked the court to declare that the Placitas feral horses are wild.

But Judge Valerie Huling's decision issued on July 16 said WHOA "failed to demonstrate that the horses at issue are not estray livestock and that the (Livestock) Board acted outside of its authority under the Livestock Code." Jordan Beckett, the Oregon–based attorney representing WHOA, said the organization is looking at appeal options, "Because New Mexico's wild horse statute distinguishes between horses that are livestock and horses that are wild, and Judge Huling's opinion fails to take into account this distinction that is inherent in the statute and she simply calls all horse in NM –where ever they are they are–livestock." By Rosalie Rayburn, Albuquerque Journal, 07/22/14

New US Aquaculture Body Pleased with Progress in DC

Since announcing its formation six months ago at the Aquaculture Americas Conference in Seattle, the Coalition of US Seafood Production (CUSP) has found that there is certainly strength in numbers when advocating as a unified industry, it said.

Coalition members have met twice with federal agencies and legislators in Washington, D.C. this spring to support government action to grow domestic aquaculture, and they are optimistic about progress made to date. "CUSP has already had an impact," said Don Kent, president of Hubbs–SeaWorld Research Institute.

"There has been a lack of cohesiveness in the aquaculture industry with the different players not talking to each other. CUSP was conceptualized as representing a horizontally and vertically integrated business community, spanning different aquaculture methods and seafood species, and the entire supply stream –  feed and equipment companies, fish farmers, seafood distributors, retailers and restaurants. CUSP is the aquaculture industry in a nutshell – and your voice gets heard more effectively the larger the group represented."  Undercurrent News, 7/22/14

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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.