Protection
June 15, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A chicken-catching company at the centre of an animal cruelty investigation in British Columbia says it will require staff to wear body cameras after an animal advocacy group released video of alleged abuse.

Dwayne Dueck, president of Elite Services in Chilliwack, says it will be mandatory for one supervisor and two staff members in each barn to wear cameras on their vests, and the video will be reviewed at the end of each day.

The announcement comes after the SPCA in British Columbia launched an investigation following the release of undercover video by Mercy for Animals that shows workers allegedly hitting, kicking and throwing chickens.

A statement from Elite Services says six staff members have now been fired, including two who were let go prior to the video being released, three who were fired immediately after, and one more who was terminated after the company did a ''detailed forensic review'' of the video.

Investigators with the SPCA are working on a report that will be forwarded to Crown counsel and SPCA spokeswoman Marcie Moriarty says the organization will recommend multiple charges of animal cruelty under both the Criminal Code and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The statement from Elite Services says the company hopes the ''senseless acts of violence'' in the footage will help implement new levels of animal care across the industry.

The company says it is updating its standards and procedures, undertook organization-wide retraining on Wednesday, and all employees will be asked to sign documents affirming they understand the company's care and concern procedures.

''It is our intent to share the experience of our new best practices with industry regulators, and adopt other best practices from cutting edge producers,'' the statement says.
Published in Company News
June 8, 2017, Abbotsford, B.C. - Tens of thousands of chickens have died in an Abbotsford, B.C., barnfire.

Firefighters were called to the property in the Ross Road area around 1 p.m Tuesday. They arrived to find the two-storey barn fully engulfed by "flames from one end to the other."

Assistant fire chief said there were around 25,000 chickens inside. READ MORE
Published in News
May 4, 2017, Milton, Ont. - Farm & Food Care Ontario, Ontario Pork, Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario released a joint statement today in response to the dismissal of charges announced by Justice David Harris on Anita Krajnc's charge for criminal mischief related to interfering with farm animals while in transit.

The Ontario farm organizations are extremely disappointed with the decision and are concerned that activists will be encouraged to engage in escalating activities that are a growing threat to animal welfare, food security and human safety.

Bruce Kelly, Farm & Food Care Ontario said that "Ontario farmers work hard to ensure high standards of animal welfare and a safe and healthy food supply for Canadians. Actions by Krajnc and activists like her should not be condoned by the courts as they threaten acceptable and legal farming practices and are a threat to food safety."

Eric Schwindt, board chair for Ontario Pork added, "This is frustrating for Ontario pork producers, who adhere to federal regulations and high standards of animal care, and are constantly evolving to further enhance their commitment to healthy animals and communities. Our concern in this instance was specific to the safety of food and people."

Furthermore, Pat Jilesen, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture said, "The livestock industry abides by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Health of Animals transport regulations. This ensures the well-being of all livestock during movement and transport. Interfering with animals during transport is simply unsafe for the animals and the people involved."

Clarence Nywening, President of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, concluded, "This is a huge disappointment to Ontario farmers who are committed to keeping animals healthy and safe throughout their lives. Actions like this by activists are putting pigs, families, communities and livelihoods at risk."

Farm & Food Care Ontario, Ontario Pork, Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario share a mandate to support agriculture and Ontario farmers. The four groups will meet to discuss next steps related to this issue.
Published in Consumer Issues
April 17, 2017, Dufferin County, Ont. – On behalf of the four feather boards, the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC) is issuing an Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) Disease advisory to all poultry industry service providers operating in a 10-km zone in Dufferin County southwest of Shelburne.

FBCC has been alerted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) that birds from a small backyard “dual purpose” chicken flock in Dufferin County have tested positive for Infectious Laryngotracheitis.

The lab submission came through the Small Flock Surveillance Project administered by OMAFRA and the University of Guelph. OMAFRA staff are providing advice to the small flock owner and his veterinarian to ensure proper biosecurity and disease control measures are implemented.

This advisory status is anticipated to last until late May. READ MORE
Published in Health
In January, new broiler producer Brent Pryce welcomed more than 20,000 birds (14,000 quota) into his brand new barn in Walton, Ont.

“I grew up on a farm, with my grandfather starting with dairy and then cash crops and some pork and beef, and always wanted to get into farming,” Pryce says. “I worked towards this through starting up a few different businesses like road dust control, a rental business, vehicle undercoating, and then decided last summer to take the plunge to buy quota and build a barn.”

Construction started in September 2016 and finished in December 2016.

“Our sons, Russell and Clinton, are the reason Catherine and I did it, so that they can have a future in farming if they want it,” Pryce adds. “We’re starting with the goal of producing 2.2 kilogram birds, with four kilograms as the ultimate goal.”

Pryce chose a cross-ventilation barn design with a heating system that’s brand new to North America – one he’s seen working well in other barns he’s visited. Pryce also believes it will help save on heating bills and electricity, which is quite costly in Ontario, and provide excellent humidity control.

Weeden Environments was a main contractor for the project. Nathan Conley, the firm’s manager for Ontario and the northern United States, says the cross-ventilation design offers a lower building cost than longer and narrower tunnel barns. “Many of Brent’s neighbours and friends are very happy with their cross-ventilated buildings,” he says. “We recommended that two sides have modular side wall air inlets for consistent control over incoming air during minimum ventilation. The air from both sides travels up and along the ceiling [the warmest part of the barn] and therefore it’s conditioned before it reaches the birds and the litter. We then use stir fans to produce consistent temperatures throughout.”

Conley says when warmer weather arrives, a continuous double baffle inlet on one side of the barn will be employed; this set-up creates the same amount of wind chill over the birds as continuous baffle on both sides of the barn. Val-Co HyperMax exhaust fans were chosen for the barn, which Conley says are high-performing and very energy efficient.

A first in North America, the barn’s forced air propane heating and humidity control system is provided by Mabre. Mike Neutel, CEO of Neu Air Systems in Woodstock, Ont., says the systems are used all over the world. The set-up includes two 600,000 Btu Mabre propane furnaces with Reillo burners.

“In poultry barns, typical heating systems are tube heaters and box forced air heaters,” Neutel says. “Some growers have these heaters vented to the outdoors and some vent the products of combustion in the barn.”

He notes the contaminants contained in this air are very harmful to birds, and the exhaust also contains tons of moisture – 0.82 litres of water for every litre of liquid propane burned, and 0.65 litres of water for every litre of liquid natural gas.

Mabre heating systems exit exhaust through chimneys while maintaining a high efficiency of 92 per cent, Neutel notes, while the forced air blowers provide excellent air circulation, which is key in maintaining proper humidity levels. A very even temperature, often within a degree throughout the entire barn, is achieved, but no draft is created. Return air going back to the furnace incorporates fresh outside air through a louver, while heating and mixing this air through an exchanger.



All of this, Neutel says, was important to Pryce. “[He] also commented during his decision process that the low ammonia levels will make it a safe environment for his children to manage the barn when they get older without having to worry about farmer lung,” Neutel adds. Mabre systems maintain humidity between 50 and 60 per cent, even with outside humidity levels of 90 per cent, which Neutel says keeps ammonia levels very low.

Mabre is available with natural gas, propane, wood pellet and wood chip options. More than 200 wood pellet systems have been installed in Quebec poultry barns.

In terms of how popular the cross-ventilation systems will become, Conley notes that in Ontario, producers are moving away from two and three-story barns for easier cleaning and to incorporate modular loading systems. “In the U.S., longer tunnel-ventilated barns are the norm, because the barns are larger and the temperatures higher,” he explains. “With this design – used there and around the world – the barn operates the same as a cross-ventilated barn, where air is brought in via sidewall inlets and exhausted out the sidewalls, but when hotter weather arrives, we gradually transition into tunnel to generate air speed down the length of the barn to create wind chill over the birds to cool them. I think that you’ll begin to see a trend of tunnel-ventilated buildings popping up over the next few years as we continue to see hotter, longer summers and the need to control heat stress becomes greater.”

In late January, Pryce reported in on barn performance and his first flock, which had arrived three weeks prior. “So far, I’m really happy with the heat unit and the environment in there is great. Right now is when you see things start to slide a bit, but it’s the same as the first few days the chickens came in. Usually you don’t really take young kids in a barn, but I’m pretty comfortable with taking my young kids in. The carbon dioxide and humidity levels are bang on.”
Published in New Technology
They’re an ancient foe, a worthy opponent. For over 300 million years, we’ve been battling the bugs of infectious disease – but are we winning?
Published in Biosecurity
March 28, 2017, Atlanta, GA – A flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation located in Chattooga County has tested positive for H7, presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).

This is the first confirmation of avian influenza in domestic poultry in Georgia.

The virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening for the commercial facility and was confirmed as H7 avian influenza by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Ia. As a precaution, the affected flock has been depopulated. Officials are testing and monitoring other flocks within the surveillance area and no other flocks have tested positive or experienced any clinical signs.

The announcement follows similar confirmations from Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee in recent weeks. The Georgia case is considered a presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza because the flock did not show any signs of illness. While LPAI is different from HPAI, control measures are under way as a precautionary measure. Wild birds are the source of the virus. Avian influenza virus strains often occur naturally in wild birds, and can infect wild migratory birds without causing illness.

“Poultry is the top sector of our number one industry, agriculture, and we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of the many farm families that are dependent on it,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black. “In order to successfully do that, it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity.”

The official order prohibiting poultry exhibitions and the assembling of poultry to be sold issued by the state veterinarian’s office on March 16, 2017, remains in effect. The order prohibits all poultry exhibitions, sales at regional and county fairs, festivals, swap meets, live bird markets, flea markets, and auctions. The order also prohibits the concentration, collection or assembly of poultry of all types, including wild waterfowl from one or more premises for purposes of sale. Shipments of eggs or baby chicks from National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), Avian Influenza Clean, approved facilities are not affected by this order.
Published in Broilers
March 16, 2017 – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza in a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tenn.

This H7N9 strain is of North American wild bird lineage and is the same strain of avian influenza that was previously confirmed in Tennessee. It is not the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia. The flock of 55,000 chickens is located in the Mississippi flyway, within three kilometers of the first Tennessee case.

Samples from the affected flock, which displayed signs of illness and experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee’s Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.

The USDA is working with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and depopulation has begun. Federal and state partners will conduct surveillance and testing of commercial and backyard poultry within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site.

The USDA will be informing the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as well as international trading partners of this finding.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facilities to ensure that they are taking the proper precautions to prevent illness and contain disease spread.
Published in Breeders
March 15, 2017, Montgomery, AL — State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier, in consultation with Commissioner John McMillan, has issued a stop movement order for certain poultry in Alabama.

“The health of poultry is critically important at this time,” said Dr. Frazier. “With three investigations of avian influenza in north Alabama on three separate premises we feel that the stop movement order is the most effective way to implement biosecurity for all poultry in our state.”

The first two investigations were on two separate premises in north Alabama. One flock of chickens at a commercial breeder operation located in Lauderdale County, Ala. was found to be suspect for avian influenza. No significant mortality in the flock was reported. The other premise was a backyard flock in Madison County, Ala. Samples from both premises have been sent to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, and are being tested to determine presence of the virus.

The most recent investigation began following routine surveillance while executing Alabama’s HPAI Preparedness and Response Plan. USDA poultry technicians collected samples at the TaCo-Bet Trade Day flea market in Scottsboro located in Jackson County, Ala. on March 12. Samples collected were suspect and those samples are on the way to the USDA lab in Ames, Iowa.

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) on a joint incident response.

This suspected strain of avian influenza does not pose a risk to the food supply. No affected poultry entered the food chain. The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low.

“Following the 2015 avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest, planning, preparation, and extensive biosecurity efforts were escalated in Alabama. Industry, growers, state and federal agencies and other stakeholders have worked hard to maintain a level of readiness,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan. “Our staff is committed to staying actively involved in the avian influenza situation until any threats are addressed.”
Published in Broilers
Health leaders around the world are using words like “historical” and “possible turning point” to describe a declaration passed by the UN General Assembly aiming to slow down the spread of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. The declaration requires countries to come up with a two-year plan to protect the potency of antibiotics. Countries also need to create ways to monitor the use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture, start curbing that use and begin developing new antibiotics that work.
Published in Health
Over one hundred years ago the wild turkey was a familiar sight in North America. Unregulated hunting and habitat loss decimated their population in Ontario but that has since changed. In 1986, approximately 4,400 wild turkeys were re-introduced, and according to Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs figures from 2007, that population has reached over 70,000 and continues to grow.
Published in Turkeys
In several parts of Ontario, poultry production is quite concentrated, which doesn’t bode well for preventing spread of disease in the event of an outbreak. Because of that, Tom Baker, project manager and incident commander at the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC,) is co-ordinating a special project.
Published in Health
Nov. 30, 2016 - A local company has developed an electronic logbook system that can help the livestock industry quickly and easily track movement on and off farms – information that is absolutely critical for preventing or minimizing costly disease outbreaks.

Currently, a paper-based visitor register is the global standard for keeping track of who entered or left a farm property at what time and where they’d been previously.

A manual system is slow and leaves room for error, however, neither of which is helpful during a disease emergency, especially in the early days when spread can still be prevented or contained.

“It’s not just livestock that are affected by catastrophic disease outbreaks, it’s just as important for crop and horticulture growers to keep unclean vehicles moving from farm to farm,” says Tim Nelson, CEO of Be Seen Be Safe Ltd. “Uncontrolled disease populations increase exponentially and that’s why control is so important.”

Be Seen Be Safe uses predetermined geo-fence boundaries around a farm business to automatically record movements on and off the property, either through a mobile phone app or an in-vehicle GPS system used by the individual accessing or leaving the premises.

Property owners can download and review their electronic visitor records using a personal login; no movements outside of the pre-determined geo-fence around the property are recorded.

The information is collated and analysed to predict disease spread, and can then be used to electronically contact people within the surrounding area of a possible outbreak, a process that currently is done manually.

It runs in tandem with the company’s customizable Farm Health Monitor software, which lets farm staff record clinical signs of disease on-farm before there is a formal diagnosis as part of regular or special herd visits. The software also allows for inventory management of antibiotics on-farm, by letting users record both purchase and actual use of antimicrobials.

“This is a proactive decision support tool for farmers,” explains Nelson. “The Farm Health Monitor gives you the clinical signs, Be Seen Be Safe provides the movement, and when you overlay the weather on a network of properties, you can start to show risk that you can alert people to.”

“Everybody is worried about catastrophic diseases, but this is also powerful for production-limiting diseases that can be carried from farm to farm,” he adds. “If livestock and poultry sectors start to see cost benefit from this because it is reducing the rate of production-limiting illness, people will get used to observing and preventing instead of diagnosing and treating disease.”

First steps have been taken to build a farm sector-led biosecurity community with the hosting of a successful information day in Guelph recently.

The system is being trialed in the Ontario poultry industry, as well as with large poultry integrators in the United States, and an agreement is in place with a Spanish partner to roll it out to the swine industry in the European Union.

A pilot is also underway with the wine industry in Australia to track the spread of fomites, which can carry disease.

Be Seen Be Safe has received support from the Bioenterprise Seed Funding program funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. The Ontario poultry industry trials are supported in part through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
Published in Biosecurity

The objective in vaccinating chickens against Campylobacter is to reduce intestinal colonization and contamination of chicken meat products. Existing experimental vaccines are not able to induce a sufficiently strong immune response, and provide no or little of protection against Campylobacter colonization. There is no commercially available vaccine against Campylobacter for chickens despite many attempts to develop one.

A collaborative project between the laboratories of Prof. Shayan Sharif and Prof. Mario Monterio from the University of Guelph was initiated to try to develop an effective vaccine against Campylobacter in chickens. A prototype vaccine consisting of capsular carbohydrates of C. jejuni conjugated with a carrier (CPSconj) developed by Prof. Monterio, formed the basis of the vaccine development in the current study.  Prof. Mopnterios’ CPSconj carrier has previously shown efficacy in a primate model. The efficacy of vaccination for reducing C. jejuni colonization of chicken intestinal tissues was assessed. Three administered doses of the prepared CPSconj vaccine resulted in a detectable antibody response in 75 per cent of specific pathogen free birds.  Whereas vaccination of commercial broiler chicks resulted in a detectable antibody response in 33 per cent of orally challenged birds.  Overall, the in vivo findings show CPSconj vaccinated birds had significantly lower numbers of C. jejuni in intestinal tissue when compared to non-vaccinated birds.  

The study went on to identify an immune response enhancer which is termed an “adjuvant”, with the specific capacity to induce immune responses in cells of the chicken intestine for inclusion in the prototype vaccine or as a stand-alone prophylactic compound.  In vitro studies demonstrated that adjuvant CpG-ODN elicited the highest activation of cell signaling molecules prevalent in immune responses and was therefore selected as the optimum mucosal vaccine adjuvant.  To target the selected adjuvant to the intestine of chickens and ensure slow release of the adjuvant at the site of infection, a delivery system based on encapsulating the adjuvant into specific nanoparticles was employed.  Results demonstrated that CpG-ODN administration reduced bacterial burden in the intestine and encapsulation of the CpG-ODN resulted in a greater decrease of bacterial burden in the chicken intestine.

Overall, Dr. Sharif and his research team have demonstrated that it is possible to employ a subunit vaccine for reducing Campylobacter jejuni in chickens.  Additionally, the research team has provided evidence for CpG-ODN as a stand-alone anti-bacterial prophylactic strategy.    Dr. Sharif and his research team will continue to explore better ways for control of Campylobacter jejuni  through the use of vaccines, immune stimulants and probiotics.

Published in Broilers

July 25, 2016 - The H5 avian influenza A virus that devastated North American poultry farms in 2014-15 was initially spread by migratory waterfowl, but evidence suggests such highly pathogenic flu viruses do not persist in wild birds. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital led the research, which appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While wild ducks and other aquatic birds are known to be natural hosts for low pathogenic flu viruses associated with milder symptoms, the results of this study indicate that is not the case with the highly pathogenic flu viruses that are associated with more severe illness. The research suggests that wild ducks and other aquatic birds are not an ongoing source of highly pathogenic flu infection in domestic poultry.

"The findings provide a scientific basis for the decision by officials to use culling and quarantines to stop the 2014-15 outbreak in domestic poultry," said corresponding author Robert Webster, Ph.D., an emeritus member of the St. Jude Department of Infectious Diseases. "Now, research is needed to identify the mechanism that has evolved in these wild birds to disrupt the perpetuation of highly pathogenic influenza." | READ MORE.

Published in Biosecurity

May 6, 2016 - Poultry barns provide an ideal environment for house fly populations to thrive if sufficient control methods are not in place. Controlling house fly populations is important for maintaining a healthy barn environment. Without control methods, large fly populations can:

  • •damage equipment and increase biosecurity risk
  • •decrease poultry production
  • •affect relationships with neighbours

Flies can also be carriers of food-borne diseases, carrying bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli from one location to another.

Controlling flies involves the combined use of different methods:

  • •barn management
  • •biological control
  • •mechanical control
  • •chemical control

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) book, “House Fly Control in Poultry Barns,” describes integrated pest management practices and provides information on different control methods for effective house fly control. The book is a great resource that can help you tailor fly control strategies to match your unique farming situation.

Visit ontario.ca/cca2 to download a PDF version of the book.  You can also order free copies from ServiceOntario at ontario.ca/publications or 1-800-668-9938

 

 

 

 

Published in Researchers

Should a producer find him or herself facing avian influenza or another catastrophic disease event, Ontario turkey producer Bob McCauley has the following advice to share: “keep track of everything.”

McCauley manages the turkey farm that was the first to be infected with avian influenza (AI) in southwestern Ontario last spring. Speaking at a Poultry Industry Council (PIC) Producer Update in February, McCauley was candid about how stressful the experience of dealing with AI was, and the importance of keeping record of everyone he talked to, what they talked about and next steps. When under such stress, it’s not easy to keep track of who said what – and when your livelihood is at stake, you want to make sure everyone is held accountable and stay in control of your own operation.

Despite having robust biosecurity plans for poultry facilities in place, unfortunately avian influenza can still find its way into a barn (see comments from Jim Dean, CEO of Center Fresh Group, on page 37). While good biosecurity practices focus on keeping a pathogen such as AI out of a barn, since the AI outbreak in British Columbia in 2004, much work has been done in Canada to understand how to minimize its spread to other facilities once a pathogen does get into a barn. Just as McCauley wanted to keep track of what was going on at his farm during AI recovery, it’s crucial that industry track everything and everyone that had been on his farm in the days before his birds showed symptoms.

Service providers, suppliers and other vehicles moving from farm to farm pose a significant risk of disease spread. This has been looked at extensively and much work has been done to understand and mitigate this risk. At the same PIC Producer Update meeting in February, Tom Baker, incident commander of the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC), said that connectedness through people, equipment and service providers caused avian influenza to spread rapidly in the U.S. last year, and was “much more significant than airborne transmission.”

But performing a traceback to determine which farms may be at risk from contact through a shared provider is not instantaneous. The Canadian poultry industry as a whole has gotten much better at reducing the time required to perform such a traceback. This can be seen in the reduced number of farms infected in B.C. in 2014 versus 2004, and the fact that AI was limited to three premises in Ontario in 2015.  

While executive director of the PIC, Tim Nelson wanted to find a more immediate solution. After several years of working with a technology partner, Nelson, now CEO of the Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC), is seeing his vision become reality. The “Be Seen Be Safe” app (see full story on page 10) acts as a virtual logbook, recording the movement of who comes on and off a farm and logging the information in a central database. During an emergency, Be Seen Be Safe can quickly analyze visitor information obtained from an infected property and plot the movement of visitors to that property throughout its infectious period, where they came from and where they went in order to identify potentially infected secondary properties.  

While the app is not meant to replace good biosecurity practices on-farm, it offers industry the potential to keep AI incidents rapidly contained so that, hopefully, disease incidents can be kept to one or two farms and the industry can get back to business sooner.

Published in New Technology

February 17, 2016 – New research has shown that tackling antibiotic resistance on only one front is a waste of time because resistant genes are freely crossing environmental.

Analysis of historic soil archives dating back to 1923 has revealed a clear parallel between the appearance of antibiotic resistance in medicine and similar antibiotic resistant genes detected over time in agricultural soils treated with animal manure.

Collected in Denmark – where antibiotics were banned in agriculture from the 1990s for non-therapeutic use – the soil archives provide an 'antibiotic resistance timeline' that reflects resistant genes found in the environment and the evolution of the same types of antibiotic resistance in medicine.

Led by Newcastle University, UK, the study also showed that the repeated use of animal manure and antibiotic substitutes can increase the capacity of soil bacteria to mobilize, or ready themselves, and acquire resistance genes to new antibiotics.

Publishing their findings in the academic journal Scientific Reports, the study's authors say the data highlights the importance of reducing antibiotic use across all sectors if we are to reduce global antibiotic resistance.

"The observed bridge between clinical and agricultural antibiotic resistance means we are not going to solve the resistance problem just by reducing the number of antibiotics we prescribe in our GP clinics,” said lead author David Graham, professor of ecosystems engineering at Newcastle University.

"To reduce the global rise in resistance, we need to reduce use and improve antibiotic stewardship across all sectors. If this is not done, antibiotic resistance from imprudent sectors will cross-contaminate the whole system and we will quickly find ourselves in a situation where our antibiotics are no longer effective."

Antibiotics have been used in medicine since the 1930s, saving millions of lives. Two decades later, they were introduced into agricultural practices and Denmark was among the leaders in employing antibiotics to increase agricultural productivity and animal production.

However, a growing awareness of the antibiotic resistance crisis and continued debate over who and which activities are most responsible led to the EU calling for the use of antibiotics in non-therapeutic settings to be phased out and Denmark led the way.

The Askov Long-Term Experiment station in Denmark was originally set up in 1894 to study the role of animal manure versus inorganic fertilizers on soil fertility.

Analyzing the samples, the team – involving experts from Newcastle University, the University of Strathclyde and Aarhus University – were able to measure the relative abundance of specific β-lactam antibiotic resistant genes, which can confer resistance to a class of antibiotics that are of considerable medical importance.

Prior to 1960, the team found low levels of the genes in both the manured soil and that treated with inorganic fertilizer. However, by the mid 1970s, levels of selected β-lactam genes started to increase in the manured soils, with levels peaking in the mid 1980's. No increase or change was detected in the soil treated with inorganic fertilizer.

"We chose these resistant genes because their appearance and rapid increase in hospitals from 1963 to 1989 is well-documented," explains Professor Graham.

"By comparing the two timelines, we saw the appearance of each specific gene in the soil samples was consistent with the evolution of similar types of resistance in medicine. So the question now is not which came first, clinical or environmental resistance, but what do we do about it?"

Following the ban on non-therapeutic antibiotic use in Danish agriculture, farmers substituted metals for antibiotics, such as copper, and levels of the key β-lactam genes in the manured soils declined rapidly, reaching pre-industrialization levels by 2010.

However, at the same time the team measured a 10-fold rise in Class 1 Integrons. These are gene carrier and exchange molecules – transporters that allow bacteria to readily share genes, including resistance genes.

These findings suggest the application of manure and antibiotic substitutes, such as copper, may be 'priming' the soils, readying them for increased resistance transmission in the future.

"Once antibiotics were banned, operators substituted them with copper which has natural antibiotic properties," explains Professor Graham.

"More research is needed but our findings suggest that by substituting antibiotics for metals such as copper we may have increased the potential for resistance transmission.

"Unless we reduce use and improve stewardship across all sectors – environmental, clinical and agricultural – we don't stand a chance of reducing antibiotic resistance in the future."

Published in Environment

July 30, 2015 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has removed the final Avian Influenza Control Zone, located in the counties of Oxford and Waterloo, Ont.

The quarantine on IP2 (infected premise #2) has been removed at the completion of the 21-day waiting period that followed the cleaning and disinfection process under CFIA oversight.

The information table for infected premises has been updated on the Agency's website.

Permits are no longer required for the movement of birds and bird products in Ontario.

Removal of Avian Influenza Control Zones is a Canadian domestic measure and has no impact on export of poultry or poultry products.

A 3-month enhanced surveillance period following the cleaning and disinfection of all IPs is required by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) before a zone will recover its avian influenza free status.

The cooperation and support of the Province of Ontario, the poultry industry and the owners of the infected birds were critical to the successful control of this outbreak and the removal of the control zones.

The CFIA continues to remind poultry owners to take an active role in protecting their flocks by employing strict biosecurity measures on their property, and immediately reporting any signs of illness.

For more information on avian influenza and measures poultry farmers can take to protect their flocks, please visit the CFIA website at www.inspection.gc.ca.

Published in Biosecurity

July 30, 2015 - For months, Canadian farmers have endured a concerted attack on the system that brings Canadians the dairy, poultry and egg products they trust. As the pressure to conclude the TPP negotiations in Hawaii this week mounts, so does rhetoric and the proliferation of misperceptions surrounding supply management through certain attacks in the media, and by some think tanks and those with vested interests.

In this light, farmers would like an opportunity to address these myths.

Supply Management does not raise prices for consumers

We do not set retail prices. Retailers and restaurants charge what they feel the market will bear. They set the price for food – and for everything else – for many reasons that have nothing to do with how much the farmer receives, including retailer competition, brand positioning, cost of competing items and specials to get consumers in the store.

Despite that: Chicken is currently the least expensive meat protein. Over the last two years, the price of chicken has risen by only 3 per cent, compared to over 20 per cent for other meats, freely traded at that.

A Nielsen study showed that in 2014, consumers paid an average of $1.30/litre for fresh milk in Canada, as compared with $1.83 in New Zealand, $1.81 in France, $1.15 in the U.S, $1.19 in Germany, and $2.35 in China.
The average annual retail price for whole frozen turkeys in Canada over the last 15 years was $2.92 per kg, vs. $3.34 per kg in the United States; sometimes a little higher – more often lower,  but not ever wildly out of range with the U.S.

You can buy a dozen eggs, the most complete protein source available for less than the price of a latte.
The biggest determinant of how much we pay for dairy, poultry and egg products isn't supply management – it's where and when we shop.

Supply management is not blocking the TPP

The Government of Canada has successfully negotiated twelve trade agreements with 43 countries since 1994 and all of these have opened up new markets, improved trade rules, and preserved supply management. This is a successful negotiating formula and we are confident that the government will be able to do it again at the TPP. It works because Canada is already the 6th largest importer of agri-food products and 1st on a per capita basis; we don't need to take any lessons on market access from other countries.Every single country involved in the TPP has something that they want to keep. The United States, for example, has a long history of restrictive import protection in the sugar and dairy industries; Japan has a long history of protecting the rice sector; and New Zealand has always vigorously defended its pharmaceutical program.

Supply Management is not subsidized

Canada's dairy, poultry and egg industries receive no government subsidies, unlike other agricultural sectors.  In countries without supply management (and even here in Canada), other sectors are heavily subsidized.Consumers pay twice for most food, once through their taxes (whether they buy it or not), and again at the grocery counter.  With dairy, poultry and egg products, you only pay for it if you buy it.

Canada isn't a closed market

Canada is an important market for countries the world over – even for supply managed products. Canada imports more chicken, for example, than six of the TPP countries (including the U.S.) combined.What's ironic is that New Zealand and Australia, the media darlings of international trade, whom we are encouraged to emulate, import no chicken.

Supply Management Makes a Difference to Canada's Economy

  • 16,667 farmers
  • 332,006 total jobs
  • $11.3 billion in farm cash receipts
  • $27.5 billion to Canada's GDP
  • $6.4 billion in taxes
Dismantling supply management will not lower consumer prices

In countries where supply management has been dismantled, such as Australia and New Zealand, prices have actually gone up for consumers, while revenue for farmers has gone down or stayed the same.The average domestic price for two litres of milk in New Zealand jumped 11.3 per cent from May 2013 to May 2015, despite being a major milk exporter, and having one of the lowest costs of production in the world.

Nielsen's global price comparison (52 weeks ending December 2014) shows milk is about $1.30 a litre for Canadian fresh milk, which compares well with the 1.83 in New Zealand, and 1.81 in France, 1.15 in the United States, 1.19 in Germany, while China's prices are more expensive at $2.35 a litre.

Even in Canberra, Australia's capital, 30 eggs cost $6.69 CAD while, at the same time, they cost $5.99 in Ottawa.
Presuming and promising lower prices prematurely assumes that retailers will pass on lower prices to consumers.

Supply management helps food safety systems work

Canadian farmers are known worldwide for their stringent food safety systems. Not all farmers outside of Canada adhere to the same standards.Dairy, poultry and egg farmers are obligated to follow strict on-farm programs that ensure that the highest on-farm standards are followed, from food safety to biosecurity—and supply management allows them to be enforced.

Supply management is risk management

Supply managed farmers are able to avoid bust periods that can happen for reasons like animal disease (both domestic and international), which often force other farm sectors to use government support programs and subsidies in order to ride out the storm.

In a recent interview, Ontario Agriculture Minister, Jeff Leal, credited supply management for saving rural Ontario from "total collapse" during an outbreak of BSE – because stable revenues from one sector allowed all the other businesses that serve farmers to ride out the downturn.

There are more than 1,000 egg farms in Canada in all parts of the country with an average flock size of about 23,000 compared to about 200 farms in the U.S. concentrated mainly in a few states with an average flock size of 1.5 million. Thanks to supply management, which has assured the stability of the family farm, when a crisis like high path Avian Influenza hits in Canada, farmers can contain, mitigate and buffer Canadian consumers and protect our animals, without the uncertainty of relying on imports.

Get the facts

Farmers are growing increasingly concerned about having their industries misrepresented in certain media.  It's time that people had the facts – or at the very least, the other side of the story.

For more information on how supply management works for Canada and Canadians, please refer to the following sites:

Dairy - www.canadianmilkmatters.ca
Eggs - http://www.eggfarmers.ca/our-industry/supply-management/keep-the-eh-in-eggs/
Chicken - www.chickenfarmers.
Turkey -   https://www.turkeyfarmersofcanada.ca/about-us/supply-management/

Published in Farm Business
Page 1 of 9

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