This NEWS page highlights industry developments such as Members in Action, President's Corner and Migrations.  If you have any NEWS items featured here or in Migrations - Contact us today! 

  • 16 Jan 2015 12:12 PM | Deleted user

    New prevention measures include ban on sale of plasma products and ban on importation of live pigs and semen

    Ireland’s National Pig Health Council (NPHC) has adopted a list of measures to limit the risk of the entry of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus into the country. The measures were adopted following a recent NPHC meeting.

    According to National Pig Health Council Chairman Pat Kirwan, the PED virus prevention measures include:

    • An initial three-month voluntary ban on the importation of live pigs or semen, including for shows and specialist breeds
    • An initial three-month ban on the export of live pigs for slaughter to infected countries
    • An initial three-month voluntary ban on the sale of plasma protein/blood plasma products or products containing these substances.
    • A recommendation that all staff returning to work after the Christmas break must prove that they have been back in the country for at least three days. These staff should also be provided with new clothing and foot ware.
    • Biosecurity on farms and feed mills to be increased.
    • The prevention plan follows the news that PED virus has entered Europe.

    “Porcine epidemic diarrhea caused enormous losses on farms in America, Canada and Mexico in 2014 killing millions of pigs and leaving farm families devastated,” said Irish Farmers’ Association Pigs Committee Chairman Pat O’Flaherty. “The disease has now been confirmed in the EU and it is spreading fast in the cold weather. Although the disease carried no public health importance, should it enter Irish farms, our industry will be completely decimated.

    “Although the industry is taking a proactive stance in terms of trying to protect itself, we are very reliant on the government taking an active role in this also. We are calling on [Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine] to set up a rapid response unit and to put a contingency plan in place that can be followed in the event of an outbreak. There are 10,000 jobs and one billion Euros worth of an industry dependent on it.”

    Full Story Here

  • 16 Jan 2015 12:08 PM | Deleted user

    The aquarium industry is facing the most serious threat it has ever had to deal with since 1999. Changes due to commence March 1st., 2015, will significantly impact the industry. If you want to help and already know about this problem, then please go straight to the bottom of this document, where there is an action plan. If you want more information then please read on …..

    What is Iridovirus?

    There is a family of viruses called Iridovirus. They include a sub-group called Megalocytivirus and one member of this sub-group is commonly called gourami iridovirus. For the sake of consistency, the term gourami iridovirus is used in this Fact Sheet.

    The gourami iridovirus is NOT recognized internationally as an OIE listed disease of significance or importance. The OIE (Office International des Epizooties) is the World Organization for Animal Health. It is therefore not considered an important disease internationally and hence there is very little background testing to see how common it is.

    History in Australia

    This entire process came about because of an illegal practice by the aquaculture industry in 2003. An outbreak of Iridovirus occurred on a Murray Cod farm that killed many young fish. This outbreak was linked to the illegal practice of feeding gourami fish to the Murray Cod broodstock (breeders).

    At the time (late-summer) the water temperature was 26 to 27oC . Murray Cod should be kept at a temperature below 25oC, and in fact prefer less than 20oC. They are a temperate fish, not a tropical fish. This high temperature for the Murray Cod was a major contributing factor with heat stress reducing their immune system and making them more susceptible to disease.

    The disease problem went away with NO Government intervention, did NOT escape into the wild and has NOT been seen since in Murray Cod or any other native Australian fish since 2003.

    Testing by researchers at the Sydney University replicated this outbreak. However, they conducted this by stressing the Murray Cod at high temperatures of 27oC. There has been no study to confirm that the virus can affect Murray Cod at their normal temperature range of below 25oC.

    There has never been a serious disease outbreak in Australian native fish in our waterways due to the importation of aquarium fish into Australia.

    The current import system is effective because up to 20 million fish are imported into Australia every year and surely by now if there was a potential for a disease outbreak it would have occurred by now. Aquarium fish are generally a dead end for disease transmission with no contact with the wild environment. Most fish owners are responsible and therefore, any fish that die are placed into the rubbish bin or are buried in the ground. Hence, direct contact with waterways is very limited.

    Current Quarantine requirements

    In Australia, there is insufficient local breeding of fish to supply the home aquarium market and so importing fish is necessary to meet the demand. The importation of fish into Australia operates within a highly regulated Federal Government framework controlled by the Department of Agriculture (previously Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry or DAFF). Only species on the National Allowable Permit List can be imported into Australia, and these fish then enter a Federal Government audited Quarantine Approved Premise (QAP). The fish are held in the QAP after their arrival for 7, 14 or 21 days depending on the species.  The fish are released from quarantine only after they have been inspected and found to be healthy by Australian Quarantine Inspection Services (AQIS) officers.

    Proposed fish quarantine changes due to Iridovirus

    Due to the iridovirus problem in 2003 and some further research, in 2008 the Federal Government elected to undertake a new Import Risk Assessment (IRA) for potential fish affected by iridovirus. The final document was released in September 2014. The PIAA attended many meetings with Government and argued on many occasions that the proposed changes were not necessary.

    The Australian Government is about to introduce dramatic changes to the current fish importing requirements. They are demanding off-shore, batch laboratory testing that will result in the killing of thousands of healthy fish. This means that every consignment of fish to be exported will need to be tested before being sent. There is no test currently available without killing fish and collecting their internal organs. The testing regime is all based upon statistics and for example if you wish to import 20 of Fish type X then you need to kill 19 of them. If they test negative the remaining one can be safely imported. If you want to import 50 of Fish type Y, then you need to kill 35 of them. If they test negative the remaining 15 can be safely imported. Finally, if you want to import 2000 of Fish type Z, then you need to kill 58 of them which if they test negative will mean that the remaining 1942 can be safely imported. So many fish will be killed unnecessarily to justify this testing requirement.

    Apart from the cost of the laboratory testing (originally estimated at $2000 per batch by the Australian pathology laboratories), the loss of healthy fish becomes a welfare issue.

    The only alternative to batch testing is to demonstrate source freedom. A process that normally takes two years, and yet in less than three months the Government expects overseas authorities to be able to somehow satisfy these requirements.

    These measures will drastically increase the cost of bringing the remaining fish into Australia and for some it will no longer be economic to import them. Estimations are that the cost of all fish will increase and up to four times for some species. This will have a major impact on many small businesses and make the keeping of fish in home aquariums prohibitively expensive for many people.

    All because of an illegal feeding practice back in 2003 by the aquaculture industry.

    The other important point to note is that research funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC – report 2009/044) in June 2013, found the gourami iridovirus on an aquarium fish farm in Queensland, indicating it is already in the country. It appears that once again, there was no eradication conducted by the government and so the disease is already present within Australian borders. The same report undertook some testing in wild fish and did not find the virus once again indicating the fact that the current quarantine controls are working.

    It is important to note here that Biosecurity Australia (part of the Department of Agriculture) has been providing the scientific advice and policy for the government to consider and then for AQIS to implement. Unfortunately, the outcome provided by Biosecurity Australia and AQIS is completely impractical, commercially unviable and also unnecessary. 

    The Future

    The PIAA fully supports the current quarantine of fish and does not see a system that is broken and needs such a radical repair. We ask you to express your concern at what is proposed by sending emails, letters, signing petitions and discussing the problem on social media. Please see below for contact details and what we ask you to do.

     I thank you in advance for your co-operation with what is the most serious threat ever to the home aquarium industry.

    Dr Rob Jones (‘The Aquarium Vet’)  
    Director of Pet Services, PIAA

    Full Story Here

  • 16 Jan 2015 12:05 PM | Deleted user

    The Chinese government has announced that it will ban all imports of US poultry and egg products because of recent detections in the US of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in backyard poultry and wild birds in the Pacific Northwest. The US industry says it expected China to take a regional approach, at the most, in line with international trade guidelines.

    In a joint announcement posted on official websites in China, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) imposed nationwide restrictions on imports of processed and unprocessed US poultry and eggs, effective on 8 January. The ban also applies to breeding stock, which includes live chicks and hatching eggs.

    The ban is in response to a detection in December of a highly pathogenic strain of H5N8 influenza in wild birds and in a backyard flock of guinea hens and chickens in Oregon, along with separate H5N2 HPAI detections in wild birds in California and Washington State. MOA and AQSIQ imposed the restrictions despite assurances by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that the influenza virus has not been found in any commercial poultry flock in the US.

    China is a key export market for US chicken, turkey and duck products. From January through November last year, US exports to China reached nearly $272 million.

    For China to impose a nationwide ban in response to isolated incidents of HPAI goes against international guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In its Terrestrial Animal Health Code, the OIE recommends that countries adopt a regionalised approach to HPAI incidents to minimise the impact on trade.

    APHIS notified the OIE of the Oregon detection, as required.
    “USDA expects trading partners to respond to this reported detection according to the OIE’s science-based standards,” the agency said in a statement following the Oregon H5N8 detection.

    The statement stressed that the virus was contained to the affected premises and has not been found in commercial poultry. APHIS also said that state and federal officials have increased ongoing surveillance of commercial poultry and backyard flocks in the Pacific Northwest.

    The agency noted that commercial producers “follow strict biosecurity practices and raise their birds in controlled environments,” which lessens the possibility of an outbreak HPAI in commercial flocks, and that poultry is safe to eat if properly handled and cooked.

    Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, said: “There’s absolutely no justification for China to take such a drastic action. In fact, these isolated and remote incidents are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from major poultry and egg production areas.

    “Most all of our other trading partners have taken some sort of regionalised approach, and have limited their restrictions to the state or, in some cases, to the county. We would have expected China to do the same.”

    China’s nationwide restrictions could also have a negative impact on its domestic poultry industry.

    Mr Sumner added: “Since the ban also includes US breeding stock, China is cutting off its industry’s main source of hatching eggs and chicks, which will curtail the industry’s ability to replenish and maintain its production.”

    Full Story Here

  • 16 Jan 2015 12:04 PM | Deleted user

    After a mixed year in 2013 due to the difficult global economic situation, freight transport saw a return to growth at Liege Airport in 2014.

    Liege Airport has confirmed its position as the number one cargo airport in Belgium with 590,579 tonnes passed through the gateway in 2014, against 560,949 tonnes in 2013, an increase of 5.3%.

    The airport says all companies with a presence at Liege have played a part in this growth with TNT Airways, Ethiopian Cargo and CAL all improving, and the decision of Ana Airline Management to base its cargo fleet in Liege from late May has also contributed to this result it explains.

    The number of aircraft movements increased by 2.66% from 41,047 movements in 2013 to 42,140 movements in 2014, meanwhile, passenger traffic showed a slight decrease (-3.95%) with 302,847 passengers handled in 2014 against 315,293 in 2013.

    The closure during 2014 of the regular airline serving Tel Aviv and a decrease in the seating made available by tour operators are the two main reasons for this slight decrease.

    Liege says, however, airlines on offer have all been very successful, as have the three new destinations available since summer 2014 (Casablanca by Jetair Fly, Ajaccio and Bastia by Air Corsica).

    With regard to real estate, Liege says it is also successfully pursuing its diversification strategy through its subsidiary Liege Airport Business Park, and 668sqm of new office space has been built in the passenger terminal hall and are already fully leased.

    At the end of December 2014, Liege Airport Business Park had a 95% occupancy rate of offices and warehouses.

    The outlook for 2015 for passenger traffic the airport says is encouraging, as Air Corsica is to develop and improve its services to Corsica and nearly 20 destinations are available for the summer.

    Reflecting Liege’s expertise in transporting medicines and animals, expansion will include the current pharma centre being enlarged in 2015 and a reception centre for horses will be built.

    This equestrian centre will optimise the infrastructure and the various welfare-related services for horses. Liege is the European leader for horse transportation by air and over 3,000 horses passed through the airport in 2014.

    The 8th busiest cargo airport in Europe. says it remain “committed to its ambition and role as a major economic player at the service of the entire region”.

    Full Story here

  • 16 Jan 2015 12:00 PM | Deleted user

    Australia's live sheep exports in the first ten months of 2014 totaled 1,947,000 head, worth A$202 million, according to data from Meat & Livestock Australia. China accounted for only a very small part while Kuwait and Qatar took the largest share, with 663,004 head and 489,250 head shipped.

    However, as China and Australia have concluded free trade agreement talks in November 2014 and 95 percent of Australian exports to China will finally be tariff-free, this situation may change.

    On Jan 12, a livestock company in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Northwest China, imported 1,438 sheep for crossbreeding with local sheep. The transportation cost for each sheep was around 2,000 yuan ($322).

    Likewise, on the early morning of Jan 14, a total of 1,431 Australian sheep arrived in Zhengzhou, capital of Central China's Henan province, where the Chinese importer Zhonghe Group was based, reported.

    The cheapest sheep costs 30,000 yuan, while the most expensive one costs 150,000 yuan.

    Another 1500 head will follow on Jan 21.

    Full Story Here

  • 16 Jan 2015 11:58 AM | Deleted user

    ARK Development, LLC, an affiliate of leading real estate company Racebrook Capital, announced today it has signed a 30-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to develop, finance, construct, operate and manage The ARK at JFK, a $48-million, 178,000 s/f  state-of-the-art animal handling and intelligent air cargo facility.

    The ARK will be the world’s only privately owned animal handling cargo terminal and USDA-approved, full-service 24-hour airport quarantine facility for the import and export of horses, pets, birds, and livestock.

    The ARK at JFK will be constructed at the current site of Cargo Building 78 at JFK, with 14.4 acres of surrounding ground area, which includes direct airside access to the taxiway and large aircraft ramp parking. It will be divided into three complementary sections: the air cargo wing, a central administrative and business center with 24-hour veterinary hospital, and the main animal handling facility with pet boarding, animal import and export center, and livestock export handling system.

    “We developed The Ark concept to address the unmet needs for the import and export of companion, sporting and agricultural animals,” said The ARK at JFK Founder and Racebrook Chairman John J. Cuticelli, Jr. “The animal terminal will set new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services.”

    The $48 million project will create more than 180 jobs and generate revenues for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey estimated at $108 million over the span of the project’s 30-year lease. The completed facility will significantly increase cargo throughput at the airport.

    “Redeveloping cargo infrastructure and growing the cargo pie at New York and New Jersey’s airports is vital to supporting thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity for the region,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “ARK’s investment of $48 million into JFK will transform an airport structure that has been vacant for nearly 10 years into a world-class specialty cargo facility, and the agreement guarantees the Port Authority more than $100 million in revenue without any additional capital investment.”

    Financing will be facilitated by Build NYC, the City’s conduit bond issuer, which will issue bonds underwritten by Goldman Sachs, as well as equity partner Westport Capital Partners LLC, and construction lender The Union Labor Life Insurance Co., Real Estate Investment Group. “Build NYC bonds are a crucial tool in the City’s overall efforts to drive the economy, encouraging business growth and job creation in all five boroughs,” said Jeffrey Lee, Executive Director of Build NYC. “The Air Cargo industry at JFK is an important component of New York City’s greater economy, directly responsible for over 17,000 jobs, and The ARK at JFK will help bolster JFK’s competitive advantage as an international air cargo gateway, a major New York City Economic Development Corporation priority.”

    The ARK at JFK has been designed by leading architects, designers and engineers, including master architect Gensler, equine-specialty architect Gralla Equine Architects (GH2), construction manager Holt and Grandin Livestock Handling Systems (GLHS), with guidance from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    “Gensler is accustomed to designing airports with an eye to fostering wellbeing for people, yet The ARK at JFK posed a unique design challenge for us: to create a place that could ease and simplify the sometimes complex process of transporting animals by plane,” said Gensler Architect and Senior Associate Cliff Bollmann.

    “For the animals who pass through The Ark, as well as the people who own them, air travel can be stressful and confusing.” He added that, “aligning the needs of quarantine with kenneling and elevating the experience for animals and their owners, our design team sought to create a comfortable, healthy environment for them all.”

    Holt Construction has been intimately involved in the construction planning of The ARK at JFK for the past several years. Holt’s President Christopher Asaro is “thrilled to be part of this unparalleled project. The importance of this project cannot be overstated, as it is the first of its kind. The ARK will stimulate the local economy while providing a wider range of services to a variety of animals, its benefit to the airlines as well as the local and global communities makes this a model project in our industry.”

    “The ARK at JFK represents an enormous leap forward in the care and comfort of horses and cattle that travel through the airport,” said Ms. Lachlan Oldaker, RA, Specialty Practice Leader/Senior Equine Architect, GH2 Gralla Equine Architects. “The design allows planes to taxi directly to the building, so horses can be transported in a seamless fashion that reduces stress.”

    Oldaker added that there is a large animal departure lounge, where horses for export have access to comfortable stalls, food and water. There is also an arrival area where the horses’ vitals are taken before they are placed in individually climate controlled units equipped with bedding and natural light. The cattle handling facility is similarly designed for optimal ease.

    “This really is a worry-free, one-stop shop for passengers and animals, thanks to the various on-site offerings, including Paradise 4 Paws, an aviary and a veterinarian,” she said.

    The ARK at JFK will provide both airside and landside services to board, kennel, quarantine, import, export and transport large and small animals. Additional services will include transportation in dedicated climate controlled vehicles from aircraft, terminals, cargo facilities and other airport locations. A livestock export handling system designed by Professor Temple Grandin, the leading authority on livestock movement, will allow for the safe and efficient handling of cattle, goats, pigs and sheep from truck to aircraft.

    Racebrook is subleasing approximately half of the facility to Consolidated Aviation Services (CAS), North America’s leading air cargo ground handler, which will serve as the anchor tenant. CAS will handle non-animal airfreight for the terminal including the receipt, storage and distribution of air cargo.

    “We are excited to partner with Racebrook on such a monumental and visionary project that will utterly transform the way other airports approach their animal handling responsibilities,” said Mike Duffy, CEO of Consolidated Aviation Services, which will serve as the exclusive ground handler for the ARK and Sky team, including Air France, the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France; Alitalia, the national airline of Italy; and KLM, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands.

    In addition, Paradise 4 Paws will bring award-winning service in the form of a 20,000 s/f 24-hour pet resort with overnight accommodations for cats and dogs, dog daycare, grooming, training, and airport parking.

    “Paradise 4 Paws has been expanding significantly over the past year, with our most recent opening at Denver International Airport, and we are thrilled to now be able to offer our services to travelers out of JFK Airport,” said Saq Nadeem, Top Dog and CEO at Paradise 4 Paws.

    A key component of The ARK at JFK will be state-of-the-art veterinary services available 24/7, 365 days per year, including general medicine, emergency, critical care, internal medicine, surgery and advanced diagnostics provided by LIFECARE, a new veterinary hospital system committed to providing the most advanced medical care options and treatments to pets across the country.

    The LIFECARE Veterinary Health System also includes several renowned veterinary specialty practices in the northeast, including Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey, VRC in southeastern Pennsylvania and East End Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center in Long Island, NY.

    “LIFECARE’s partnership with The ARK at JFK is a perfect fit for our growing organization as we are committed to providing state-of-the-art and comprehensive veterinary care for pets whenever and wherever life takes our clients,” said John Payne, CEO and Founder of LIFECARE.

    “We are excited to embark upon such a game-changing development, which will revolutionize the care of animals in an aviation environment,” said Dr. Aaron S. Perl, Founder and Managing Director of The ARK at JFK and General Counsel of The Racebrook Portfolio Companies. “We are proud to have brought together one of the most prestigious project development teams in the field to bring this vision to life.”

    Full Story Here

  • 09 Jan 2015 4:21 PM | Deleted user
    Armed with lessons learned from last year's polar vortex, the U.S. transportation and shipping network faces its first big test of the winter this week as harsh cold and dangerous wind chills buffet the Plains to the East Coast.

    Moving people and products has proved tedious but not impossible as upper Midwest temperatures topped out in the single digits to below zero Fahrenheit on Wednesday, with gusty winds making it feel like 20- to 40-below. Snow blanketed much of the eastern United States, with lake-enhanced accumulations of more than a foot in northwest Indiana and western New York.

    It is the coldest weather since the region was hit last year by a polar vortex, which is a mass of frigid air that typically only resides over the north pole.

    Midwest farmers delayed grain deliveries while hog farmers kept swine in warm barns. Plains feedlot operators sold cattle at higher-than-expected prices in weekly auctions early this week as beef packers scrambled to secure livestock struggling to retain weight in the bone-chilling cold.

    Commuter railroads warned passengers of service delays and advised riders to allow for extra travel time, while freight rail carriers prepositioned needed equipment and shortened trains to keep air brake systems working effectively.

    Chicago's Metra commuter line upgraded its passenger alerts system and spent more than $2 million on additional rail switch heaters and equipment to clear snow and ice from tracks. Still, the carrier warned of delays this week due to "temperature-related speed restrictions."

    Major freight railroads appeared more prepared after unprecedented service issues last year that impeded shipments of coal, grain and other goods.

    CSX Corp moved extra equipment into position ahead of the cold snap and had no problems, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. BNSF Railway Co is running shorter trains to ensure air brake systems work properly, a practice introduced after the western U.S. carrier experienced the brunt of service issues last winter, its spokesman said.

    Barge shippers hauling goods on the Mississippi River and its tributaries moved fleets further south to avoid getting stranded on ice-clogged waterways, shippers said.

    Ice is building on the Illinois River, which typically remains partially open to commercial navigation year round. "By the end of the week it will become an issue that will deter most barge lines from heading back into the river," one barge broker said.

    The Mississippi River at St. Louis has receded more than three feet since Monday because of upriver ice, prompting concerns that shippers may soon be forced to lighten loads or risk groundings.

    Midwest farm belt elevators and agricultural processors saw a slowdown in truck deliveries of grain, although no spot shortages were reported as many had accepted grain contracted for January delivery in late December.

    A Cargill Inc corn mill in Eddyville, Iowa, with the capacity to unload more than 500 truckloads a day reported daily deliveries of around 300 trucks on Monday and Tuesday.

    Many farmers kept swine buildings closed to conserve heat, which has contributed to heavier animal weights, an Iowa dealer said. But some processors were still working through a glut of animals following year-end holiday plant closures.

    Beef packers on Tuesday spent more for cattle and bought them earlier in the week than usual. Feedlots have been holding animals which have been losing weight due to cold and snow.

    "Weather has become an issue in feedlots from Texas through Nebraska. The extreme cold will cause cattle carcass weights to decline at a much faster rate than in prior years," said Hales Cattle Letter author David Hales in Amarillo, Texas.

    Full Story here:

  • 09 Jan 2015 4:16 PM | Deleted user
    APHIS gets $49.5 million bump, but spending bill still prohibits funding for horse inspection activities.

    If you didn't have time during the holiday rush to comb through the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress, here's your chance to quickly get caught up. Most notably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which houses the majority of the veterinary and agriculture programs identified as high priorities by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), received $1.9 billion more than fiscal year 2014. Here's how the budget shakes out for key agencies according to the AVMA.

    The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

    >NIFA will be funded at $1.3 billionundefined$12 million more than in fiscal year 2014undefinedto support research, extension and higher education in partnership with American universities.

    >The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, a program within NIFA to provide student debt relief for veterinarians willing to work in shortage areas, received a funding bump from $4.7 to $5 million. The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, which aims to eliminate the 39 percent federal withholding tax from the annual awards, was not brought before the last Congress for a vote, but will surely be reintroduced to the 114th Congress.

    The Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

    >ARS received a $10 million budget increase for 2015. It will now be funded at $1.1 billion to conduct basic and applied research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of national priority in a number of fields, including animal health. The AVMA says the spending bill rejected President Obama's request to terminate and redirect research programs and close certain research stations. Extramural research will continue to be funded at fiscal 2014 levels.

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

    >APHIS gains $49.5 million with its $874 million budget for fiscal 2015. The agency conducts inspections and quarantine activities to protect animals and plants from diseases and pests. Appropriators recommend $288 million for animal health, $305 million for plant health and $109 million for wildlife services. The bill includes $6.7 million in funding for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

    >APHIS’ budget also includes $29 million to carry out key animal welfare activities. The spending bill upheld the prohibition of funds to pay for any horse inspection activities continuing the ban on horse slaughter and transport in the United States.

    >Although the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act was not brought for a vote in the last Congressional session, AVMA says in fiscal year 2015 APHIS has been instructed to provide more written communication to judges who are conducting horse inspections at walking horse shows regarding the “scar rule,” which is when horses show evidence of previously being sored.

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

    >FSIS, which works to ensure that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products is safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged, will be funded at $1 billionundefineda $5.8 million increase over last fiscal year’s spending level.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    >FDA will be funded at $4.5 billion to regulate food, cosmetics, human and animal drugs, and medical devices, in fiscal 2015. This includes both $2.6 billion in direct appropriations and monies collected through user fees.

    >Animal Drugs and Feeds funding will receive $147.5 millionundefineda $6 million increase.

    >Three million dollars is allocated to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), which serves as the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s post-approval safety monitoring system for food animal antibiotics. The AVMA says FDA commissioner has also been directed through the spending bill to finalize its Veterinary Feed Directive rule prior to April 1, 2015.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    >NIH will receive $150 million more than in fiscal year 2014. In addition to its $30.1 billion funding, the bill provided NIH with $238 million in funding to help the country fight the global Ebola virus epidemic.

    Full Post here:

  • 09 Jan 2015 4:13 PM | Deleted user
    Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center is pleased to announce the arrival of Nila, a California Sea Lion to the Aquarium. She was found malnourished, dehydrated and emaciated at the Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, CA on March 17, 2014.

    At approximately 9 months old and weighing only 18 pounds (a healthy pup of this age should weigh about 40-50 pounds), Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) rescued her and provided immediate care. Although she did gain weight, CIMWI’s veterinarian and the National Marine Fisheries Service deemed her non-releasable. Her timid temperament and behavior indicated that she would not successfully forage for food, or survive in the wild.

    Candy Paparo, the Director of Animal Training at the LI Aquarium, was contacted by The National Marine Fisheries Service to see if the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center could provide a home for this young sea lion. The Aquarium agreed to take her and Paparo, along with Nicole Izzo MacDonald (another member of the Animal Training Team) traveled to Santa Barbara to retrieve the little sea lion. Utilizing FedEx’s Animal Transport Program, Paparo and MacDonald traveled with Nila almost 3,000 miles to Long Island, NY.

    Although determined healthy by CIMWI and Long Island Aquarium veterinarians, Nila is behind the scenes while she gets adjusted to her new home and acclimated to New York winters. She will be gradually introduced to the Aquarium’s resident sea lions Java and Bunker and ultimately be presented to the public in the Sea Lion Coliseum.

    California sea lions (Zalophuscalifornianus) are members of the otariid family(eared seals). Unlike true seals, sea lions have external ear flaps and large flippers they use to walk on land. Males can weigh up to 850 pounds and reach up to eight feet in length. Females, usually a lighter brown color than males, can weigh up to 250 pounds and up to six feet in length. Although not an endangered animal, for the past two years, there has been an increase in the amount of distressed sea lions pups washing ashore in California. Research is ongoing, but it is thought that a change in the availability of normal sea lion prey, especially sardines, is a factor in the number of strandings that were seen last year and again this year.

    About Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center
    This privately-owned aquarium features one of the largest all-living coral reef displays in this hemisphere, a 120,000-gallon shark tank, year-round sea lion shows, numerous touch tanks, butterflies from all over the world, and more than 100 exhibits and interactive experiences, including Butterflies & Birds, Shark Dive, Penguin Encounter, Pirate Snorkel, Shark Keeper, and more! Located in Riverhead, on the east end of Long Island, guests are encouraged to learn about what lives within the local waters, with exhibits showcasing local flora and fauna, as well as exotic, tropical displays.

    Named a Top 10 Aquarium for Children by Parents Magazine, Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center is open daily 10:00am to 5:00pm year-round (Closed Christmas & Thanksgiving Days). You can add to the fun with an overnight stay at the waterfront Hyatt Place East End & Resort Marina located adjacent to the Aquarium property. For more information, please visit

    About Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI)
    CIMWI (pronounced “sim-wee”) is dedicated to making a difference through marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation, research and education to promote ocean and human health. They are a part of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program under the direction of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. CIMWI is the only authorized organization to respond to and rehabilitate pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) and cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales) for Ventura County.

    About FedEx
    FedEx Express has a long history of transporting rare and delicate cargo. FedEx has shipped many unusual animals, including two giant pandas Washington D.C.’s National Zoo in December 2000, polar bears, white tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, lions, gorillas, eagles and even a 13-foot tiger shark used in filming the movie “Jaws.”

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  • 09 Jan 2015 4:11 PM | Deleted user
    MOGO Zoo has taken delivery of two 4000kg rhino.

    “Wow, after waiting 15 years I can’t believe they are finally here", said Mogo Zoo owner, Sally Padey, as the precious cargo was gently lowered into position ready for the Rhinos’ first introduction to their brand new home at Mogo Zoo.

    “It’s such relief to finally have them here safe, these are always tense and nervous moments for me” said Sally and understandably so given the enormity of the cargo in question.

    Weighing up to 4000kg and standing up to 1.8metres tall, the Zoo's newest and largest residents, “Kei” and “Jabari”, a pair of male Southern White Rhino made the long journey south to Mogo early this week travelling through the night from Australia Zoo, located at Berowa on the Queensland Sunshine Coast.

    Operations manager Paul Whitehorn said Kei and Jabari handled the trip extremely well.

    “The planning for the move began a few months ago with every precaution and safety measure taken into account, including periodic veterinary checks along the way,” he said.

    The move, part of the Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP), will see the pair of rhino play an important role in the future population of this threatened species.

    “Who knows what the future holds, it would be dream come true if we could establish a breeding herd here at Mogo Zoo,” Sally said.

    “To think that rhino were nearly hunted to extinction for its horn is unconscionable to me and Mogo Zoo will play any role necessary to ensure the ongoing conservation and preservation of this magnificent creature.”

    For now Kei and Jabari will go through a settling in period getting acquainted with their new surroundings and their animal neighbours.

    All going to plan, the rhino exhibit will be open to the public on January 10.

    When asked about the scale of the project Sally said, “In the 25 year history of Mogo Zoo this would have to be one of the biggest projects the Zoo has ever embarked upon and would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all the team at Mogo Zoo.

    Sally also wanted to express a special thank you to NSW Forestry, Euro Civil Safety Barriers and King Bros Transport for their amazing generosity and ongoing support.

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