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  • 12 Dec 2014 4:23 PM | Deleted user
    Lufthansa has offered a glimpse into its latest offering for wealthy, bird-loving clientele - an in-flight resting platform for falcons. It will allow passengers to fly right next to their precious, feathery companions.
    Falconry in Dubai

    It's called the "Falcon Master," and it's changing the way people - and birds - fly.

    On Monday, the German carrier Lufthansa's technology division announced that it had devised a contraption to transport falcons in the passenger deck of commercial jets. It is a resting platform for falcons that Lufthansa's engineers claim can be installed on folded-down seats.

    The construction of the platform would be such that surrounding walls, seats and carpets would not be harmed by whatever the birds would think of doing during flights. Plus, Lufthansa said, a lot of Airbus and Boeing aircraft would already qualify for the transport of falcons.

    The airline pointed out that falconry is an extremely popular activity in some countries, predominantly in the Gulf. Lufthansa's "Falcon Master" platform would enable a small, but no doubt affluent group of clients to take their birds on board and not lose sight of them during flights.

    And once the flight is over, the "Falcon Master" can be quickly disassembled and stowed away in lightweight containers.

    Full story here:

  • 12 Dec 2014 4:22 PM | Deleted user
    Five of Napier's last Marineland mammals have taken their one-way trip to Australia.

    Californian sea lions Dakota and Orion, New Zealand fur seals Iha and Ollie, and sub-Antarctic fur seal Mako flew out of Auckland on a commercial Air New Zealand flight yesterday morning.

    The historic marine centre's last eight animals began their 120-day pre-export quarantine period in August.

    Napier City Council staff prepared a thorough transport management plan and selected Mainfreight to co-ordinate the move.

    The mammals travelled from their Marine Pde home to Hawke's Bay Airport on Tuesday evening. They were boarded on to a New Zealand Airforce Hercules.

    The Airforce stepped in to help the council because no commercial flights from Napier were big enough to carry the animals' travelling crates to Auckland International Airport. A road trip would have added several hours to their journey, a council spokeswoman said.

    Four keepers accompanied the animals on their flight across the Tasman. The animals were given no food or water while in transit. All the animals can survive for up to several days without food or water but these animals went without for less than 24 hours.

    Senior keeper Regan Beckett was happy the animals were going to quality homes, and that they would be in "caring and capable hands".

    Iha is going to Melbourne Zoo, Ollie is going to Taronga Zoo, and the other three are headed for Sea World at Surfers' Paradise.

    "I don't feel we're saying goodbye to them, I'm sure we'll meet again as Australia isn't that far away. We look forward to hearing of how they are after our departure and in the future," Beckett said.

    The animals will spend 30 days going through Australian quarantine before they can go to their new homes. Each animal has been micro chipped so that blood tests for unwanted viruses and disease can be accurately recorded.

    Molly, Mr Bo and Pania are due to leave Marineland in March next year. Their trip has been delayed due to Sea World having commitments to other animal imports, and Melbourne only being able to quarantine one animal at a time.

    The flights will cost the council $47,000.

    Full story here:

  • 12 Dec 2014 4:19 PM | Deleted user
    The European Commission took action Dec. 8 that resulted in the ban of horse meat imports and meat products from Mexico.

    Effective Jan. 15, the commission has suspended a residue monitoring plan that tests for the presence of horse meat in other imported meat products, according to Aikaterini Apostola, press officer for health for the European Commission.

    "Such suspension results in a ban of the import of horse meat, meat preparations, and meat products from Mexico," Apostola stated in an email. "The measure has been taken after repeated negative outcomes of the audits carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office of the Commission's Health and Consumers Directorate General in Mexico, the last of them in June 2014. This last audit also showed that many of the corrective actions that Mexico committed to take following previous audits were not yet taken."

    A key issue for the 28-member commission was inhumane treatment of the horses being shipped from the United States to Mexican slaughterhouses.
    Michael Scannell, director of the Food and Veterinary Office, addressed the issue Nov. 30 at a European Parliament Intergroup meeting in Brussels.

    "In general, the worst contraventions we know are in relation to transport," Scannell said. "By way of example, we will publish a report in the next number of weeks in relation to Mexico where we saw animals which arrived dead from the United States or non-ambulatory, i.e., they weren't even able to stand."

    The transportation problem is also expected to affect slaughter operations in Canada, according to Scannell, who added the commission is close to imposing a "six-month" rule for Canada.

    "So, in both cases, this will make it a lot more difficult -- impossible in the case of Mexico, difficult in the case of Canada -- to continue importing horses from the United States for subsequent export of horse meat to the European Union," Scannell said.

    Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, called the decision "the biggest blow" to horse slaughter since his organization led an effort in 2007 to shut down three horse slaughter plants in the United States.

    "Mexico not only kills thousands of its horses for export to the EU, but accepts tens of thousands of American horses for slaughter and shipment to Europe," Pacelle wrote on his blog. "This announcement could prove to be an earthquake for the North American horse slaughter industry, since Belgium, France, Italy, and other EU nations are major consumers."

    Ineffective testing was another issue that led to the European Commission ban, according to Apostola.

    "The 2014 audit confirms that the reliability of the guarantees on horse identification, traceability, and medicinal treatment history remain very weak," Apostola wrote. "Due to these problems in the official controls, it cannot be excluded that unauthorized substances might be used in horses slaughtered in Mexico for the export of their meat to the EU."

    Scannell also noted in his presentation that the slaughtering process itself was "by and large acceptable."

    "It is quite a lucrative trade and the establishments concerned know that they are under an awful lot of pressure, and that they are being very closely watched," he said. "One of things they can control relatively well is slaughtering conditions, and by and large what we see is acceptable."

    Apostola noted the suspension could be reversed if Mexican authorities are able to provide sufficient guarantees.

    "A future FVO audit which has a satisfactory outcome will also be necessary before any proposal to lift the ban," Apostola wrote.

    Full story here:

  • 05 Dec 2014 4:17 PM | Deleted user
    Avian influenza has been detected at two poultry operations in the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported.

    The affected operations include a turkey farm in Abbotsford and a broiler breeding facility in Chilliwack. The two farms are about eight kilometers away from each other.

    Preliminary tests show the virus found is of the H5 variety, according to Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, chief veterinary officer with the CFIA, but the exact serotype is not known at this time.

    The source of the avian influenza outbreaks has yet to be identified, said Kochhar.

    Of the nearly 11,000 turkeys at the Abbotsford operation, about half have died. The farm in Chilliwack is the home of about 7,000 birds, with an estimated 1,000 having died. Culling efforts will be conducted with the remaining susceptible birds at both properties, and quarantines have been established.

    The CFIA will also lead on required depopulation of birds, while the Province of British Columbia will provide technical support on required carcass disposal. Once all birds have been removed, the CFIA will oversee the cleaning and disinfection of the barns, vehicles, equipment and tools to eliminate any infectious material that may remain.

    The government entities, the owners of the infected birds, and the Canadian poultry industry are working together to manage the situation, stated Chicken Farmers of Canada. Both levels of government will work with the poultry industry to address issues as they emerge.

    Avian influenza has been a big source of concern for the global poultry industry in recent months, as outbreaks have also been confirmed in The Netherlands, U.K., Germany, India and Japan.

    Full story here:

  • 05 Dec 2014 4:16 PM | Deleted user
    The International Federation for Animal Health has launched a white paper on vector borne diseases and their impact on animal and human health, with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The paper, which aims to assist in combating vector borne diseases to promote the better health and welfare of animals for the greater good of protecting animals and humans globally, emphasises the need to understand the diseases and to spread awareness of the most effective ways of managing and preventing them.

    Vector borne diseases account for 17% of global infectious diseases with malaria the most deadly, causing an estimated 627,000 deaths annually. VBDs cause high human morbidity levels as well as large economic losses in animal production - trypanosomiasis accounts for losses of $1.2 billion a year in cattle production - and reduced animal welfare. Most statistics regarding the impact of VBDs are hard to track because cases predominantly occur in countries with little means of formal reporting or surveillance, poor diagnostic tools and consequently there is little accurate assessment of the economic impact of these diseases. The IFAH's paper looks to close the gaps in knowledge of VBDs and present solutions for combating the problem.

    Global animal health is set to be impacted for years to come as the IFAH reports the difficulties in combating diseases that are constantly changing, affected by climate change which influences vector spread and habitat change by humans introducing wetlands or changing their patters of the transportation of goods, humans, livestock, and companion animals. The most influential and dangerous factor limiting the prevention of vector borne disease is insecticide resistance and farmers must be aware of the need to manage the spread of VBDs through a combination of insecticides and physical barriers.

    Efforts to combat VBDs must understand that their eradication is not realistic; farmers must learn to prevent their spreading where they can through vaccinations and focus on controlling the spreading of the disease by efforts to reduce the populations of the vector and by making modifications to the environment that make it less conducive to the vector's survival. The establishment of effective surveillance systems and the collection of accurate data will also be important in moving forward to protect global animal health. Global animal health market

    Pharmaceutical companies wanting to develop products to help combat vector borne disease face a difficult market place. Governments and funding agencies are unwilling to invest in a market place with unproven necessity or success but the discoveries, screening and testing processes of treatments are all expensive and time consuming and the lack of support for pharmaceutical companies is not conducive to the need to focus on prevention of VBDs by vaccine, as outlined in the IFAH paper.

    The animal health market includes pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medicinal food additives and pharmaceutical companies are significant contributors to the health and well-being of food-production and companion animals. The management of vector borne diseases is vital to the protection of the global animal health market, and there must be an influx of funding to pharmaceutical companies if farmers are to be more successful at managing these animal-health-harming diseases.

    Full story here:

  • 05 Dec 2014 4:12 PM | Deleted user
    Feeding chicks while in transport is a controversial topic, but under certain conditions it can offer benefits, especially in terms of early survivability.

    Nature has provided for nutrients and water to be readily available for the newly hatched chick in the form of remaining egg yolk sac that is slowly absorbed in the first hours of life. The absorption of these vital nutrients is of paramount importance for the correct functioning and health of the gut, and it speeds up as the chick starts picking up normal feed from its environment. But, commercial practice often interferes with nature.

    As long as chicks are placed under brooders within 24 hours post-hatch, they can manage without any further help, assuming the pre-starter feed available is of suitable quality and it is readily accessible by all chicks. But, if chicks are to remain in their transport trays for a prolonged period of time, then the normal life cycle is impaired.

    As long as chicks are placed under brooders within 24 hours post-hatch, they can manage without any further help.

    Transporting chicks to long distances, especially under adverse conditions, will first dehydrate them and then deprive them of body energy reserves. In result, upon placement, they will be exhausted, and at best, they will take longer to pick up feed and water -- with subsequent negative effects on growth performance. At worst case scenario, mortality will spike.

    Thus, when chicks are to be kept in transport cases for too long, it is advisable to use some form of nourishment and hydration. Several methods of doing so are available:

    1. Provide a gel that sticks to walls and provides both water and some nutrients. The only negative side, apart from the cost, is that chicks farthest away from the gel will not benefit from it as much those close to the supplement.
    2. Provide a regular diet, in powder form, at the bottom of the tray. This ensures all chicks have access to feed, but it does not solve the problem of water, unless special trays are used to provide water; something seldom convenient.
    3. Provide a slice of watermelon or pumpkin in the transport box. This is an easy and inexpensive way of providing both nutrients and water, but it is not as practical as a ready-made commercial product. But, it works and it is used by small hatcheries.
    On placement, some experts advise keeping chicks on a water-only diet for a few hours. Adding some sugar and electrolytes in the water is considered beneficial, especially for dehydrated chicks after a long trip to the rearing facility. Certain other additives may be considered in hot climates, or if chicks are expected to be affected by certain enteric disorders. Following this gut cleansing diet that also rehydrates the birds, it is recommended to offer them a high quality pre-starter feed to help them catch up quickly.

    In general, for normal practices, when chicks are not expected to be kept long from placement, there is little if any benefit of doing anything in terms of early feeding. Normal procedures will suffice, or the extra cost will not be paid back by enhanced performance. But, when adverse conditions prevail, providing extra care and nourishment will help chicks withstand the rigors of transportation, and even if they don’t grow any faster, at least mortality spikes will be avoided. In most cases, this is enough to pay back for the extra investment in materials and labor. At the end, what works for each hatchery and rearing facility is a combination of actual procedures, available means, and above all cost over profit.

    Full story here:

  • 05 Dec 2014 4:10 PM | Deleted user
    The Jihlava zoo at last succeeded, on the fourth try, in delivering a rare snow leopard to a partner zoo in India today, after three unsuccessful attempts when the transfer was thwarted by unexpected obstacles, the zoo's spokeswoman Kateřina Kosová told ČTK.

    Fici, the three-year-old leopard male, was raised in Jihlava and he was to leave for Calcutta on April 9 to reinforce the snow leopard population in India's Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park.

    "Today we've been informed that the snow leopard has reached India at last," Kosová said.

    On April 9, Fici's planned departure from Jihlava was cancelled in the last moment over the Indian partner's refusal to take the animal over in the evening hours.

    Another date of departure was set for April 14, when a van with Fici set out from Jihlava for the Prague airport, some 120 km far westwards. However, the D1 motorway was jammed due to ongoing repairs, which delayed the van and Fici missed his flight.

    "On the third try, the leopard arrived in Prague but the air carrier's staff returned him to us because they disliked his transport box," Kosová said.
    She said Fici was traveling in a box which the zoo had used to transport animals many times before.

    Similar problems are a rarity in the Jihlava zoo, Kosová said, adding that Fici is not the first leopard the zoo has delivered abroad.

    Nevertheless, previously the animals have left mainly for European zoos, including Moscow, Poland and Britain. It is for the first time that one has departed for India, she said.

    The Jihlava zoo is the Czech leader in breeding snow leopards. It has kept the species since 1992, since when a total of 18 kittens have been born there. Now it has four adult and one young leopards.

    The snow leopard figures on the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), under which animals are exchanged between zoos and salvation centers free of charge.

    Read more:
  • 05 Dec 2014 4:08 PM | Deleted user
    There's some great news for Leon - or Leona - the loggerhead turtle, who will finally be jetting off to her new home next week.

    According to RTÉ News, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has arranged special transport with Aer Lingus for the turtle, who spent much of this year being nursed back to health by Galway Atlantaquaria staff after she was found beached at Quilty in Co Clare last November.

    Plans were made to relocate her to the much more hospitable climes of the Canary Islands last month, but safe transport was a stumbling block, prompting the IWDG to put out a call earlier this month for berthage on a private jet.

    But thanks to the intervention of Dublin Zoo, Galway Atlantaquaria and Rod Penrose of the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, suitable travel arrangements have been made with Are Lingus to fly the turtle - with two carers - direct to Las Palmas, from where her future exploits in the wild can be followed online.

    Full story here:

  • 05 Dec 2014 4:06 PM | Deleted user
    As millions of Americans cram into coach for holiday travel, some four-legged passengers will fly on luxury private jets.

    A rebound in U.S. business-aircraft trips this year means more dogs and cats are taking wing too. In addition to the perks of on-demand flights and plenty of legroom, being able to bring furry companions onboard can justify the price of a ticket, which doesn’t come cheap.

    A flight on Jet Edge International costs $67,000 on average, and the company also charges a $2,000 refundable pet deposit in case of accidents on board. The average net worth of the company’s customers is $1 billion, according to Chief Executive Officer Bill Papariella.

    Letting animals tag along is “one of the main reasons why people will fly private,” Papariella said in an interview. “They don’t want to go to Aspen or their holiday or to their second home without their pets being on board.”

    For those with means, a charter flight or a jet with fractional ownership is an attractive alternative to airlines’ limits on carry-on kennels or the risks of sending a crated pet in the hold. It’s a niche market that can include handmade dog snacks -- a $1,000 Kobe beef snack or rice pilaf with salmon -- special attendants and even solo flights without an animal’s owner.

    It was worth it for Dallas real estate investor Alan Box, whose purchase of a one-fourth interest in a Learjet via leasing company Flexjet a decade ago was driven chiefly by a desire to ensure that family members could enjoy getaways to their ranch in Crowheart, Wyoming, with canines in tow.

    Big Dogs

    Box, 63, was living in Fairfax County, Virginia, at the time as CEO of radio-station chain EZ Communications. Commercial flight connections through Denver and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, would have been impossible with Ribsy and Cody, his full-grown chocolate and black Labrador Retrievers.

    “We just thought they were too big,” said Box, who has since sold the jet share because he didn’t replace his pets when they died. “We didn’t feel like it was safe or really worth the trouble,” to fly commercial, he said.

    Dogs Welcome

    NetJets Inc., the luxury-jet unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, probably flew pets on about 9 percent of last year’s flights, according to figures from spokeswoman Christine Herbert and the website of the Columbus, Ohio-based company. Boston-based Magellan Jets estimates that it carries animals on a quarter of its trips, while at Jet Edge the share is about half.

    As with two-legged passengers, the holidays tend to be the busiest time for animals as well. The post-Thanksgiving Sunday is “our highest-volume day of the year,” Herbert said.

    While private-jet operations still aren’t back at pre-recession levels, flights are up in 2014 as an improving U.S. economy and surging corporate profits buoy business and personal travel. This year is poised to be the busiest for such trips since 2008, based on U.S. Federal Aviation Administration data through September.

    A perception of safety is one of the reasons some people opt to upgrade their pets. Fifteen animals died on U.S. airline flights this year through August, down from 18 in the same period in 2013, according to U.S. Transportation Department data. And travel rules on commercial flights are poised to tighten this week, when American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) starts requiring that pets on connecting flights be routed through one of five U.S. cities.

    Goats, Pigs?

    Airlines’ restrictions ensure that few travelers ever see a dog or cat on board.

    American, for example, limits carry-on pets to a maximum of seven containers per flight, excluding service animals. Size limits on the kennels -- 19 inches (48.3 centimeters) long by 13 inches wide by 9 inches high -- rule out larger breeds. On private planes, pets can roam free for the duration of the flight as there are no industry-wide safety rules for non-human passengers.

    Usually only dogs and cats are allowed on commercial flights, which means owners of barnyard animal-companions must make other arrangements. Emotional-support animals are allowed, but only if they are not disorderly. A woman and her pet pig were escorted off a US Airways flight out of Connecticut last week after the animal befouled the plane and was running in the aisle, according to reports from the Hartford Courant and USA Today.

    “I have a client in Dubai who flies me down there to fly with him and his goat a few times a year,” said Carol Martin, the founder of Carmel, California-based Sit ’n Stay Global, which supplies pet-friendly flight attendants and “pawmenity” kits that include custom snacks.

    The goat owner likes to have fresh milk and has a pen at the back of his private plane for that purpose, said Martin.

    Divorce Casualty

    While Magellan passengers have brought along exotic birds, gerbils and hamsters, the typical private-jet-flying animal is a dog joining its owners on a family vacation, Chief Executive Officer Joshua Hebert said in an interview. Jet Edge has one celebrity athlete client who likes to have his German shepherd on all of his trips, domestic and international, CEO Papariella said.

    The rarest transports are for animals traveling without an owner, perhaps the result of a couple splitting up while retaining joint custody of a pet.

    “They fly the pet back and forth and they want a nanny on board,” Martin said. One such former couple pays about $50,000 per trip to fly their dog from Los Angeles to New York every other month.

    “A couple times a year, we get the passenger manifest and I realize, ‘Oh my God, all there is is a dog on this plane,’’ Jet Edge’s Papariella said. ‘‘Holy cow, this person is actually paying for their pet to go somewhere.’’

    To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Kaplan in New York at

    To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at Molly Schuetz

    Full story here:

  • 05 Dec 2014 4:03 PM | Deleted user
    Discussing food safety in Lebanon is pointless without the adoption of proper legislation, particularly the animal protection bill recently submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture to the Council of Ministers, which will later be voted on by parliament, if approved.

    In conjunction with the current food safety campaign, Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb referred the Animal Protection and Welfare Bill to the Council of Ministers, three years after it was first submitted by Animals Lebanon and undergoing thorough review by a committee charged by the ministry to present remarks and recommendations.

    The bill ultimately aims to establish a comprehensive system aimed at protecting animals and ensuring their welfare, while limiting cases during which it is allowed to inflict pain or subject them to danger or torture. The bill sets in place general guidelines regarding the treatment of animals, regulates the establishments that use animals, and punishes violators in compliance with international conventions, mainly the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the recommendations issued by the World Organization for Animal Health.

    Lebanon currently lacks legislation to provide legal protection for animals, except for a small number of articles mentioned in the penal code and provisions stipulated in a legislative decree pertaining to sites classified as hazardous, dangerous to public health or causing a nuisance, and in other resolutions issued decades ago that no longer apply to the current situation on the ground.

    In fact, the Animal Protection Law is an integral part of a comprehensive legislative initiative aimed at guaranteeing food safety, whether through the food safety law or other legislative and administrative resolutions issued by local municipalities or governorates. The law creates criteria that the establishments subjected to this law, such as farms and slaughterhouses, have to meet, which include suitable heating, lighting, ventilation and humidity equipment, in addition to committing to safety, preserving public peace, hygiene, and other environmental conditions, using the adequate infrastructure to provide animals with food and water, and establishing a quarantine for sick and injured animals in order to prevent the spread of diseases.

    The bill also includes an article regulating animal transport, which calls for complying with IATA regulations during live animal aerial shipments, and complying with the recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health when transporting animals by sea or land, in addition to using the most appropriate means of loading and unloading, transportation and providing veterinary procedures during import, export, and transit.

    “Animals are tossed around brutally with their feet, heads, horns, and ears tied up, and then slaughtered in an incorrect manner … these things are happening right now in Lebanon and they should stop for good.” – Jason Mier, Animals Lebanon executive director Chapter four of the bill sets in place regulations regarding breeding of animals and animal use in work, and regulates livestock slaughter which should be restricted to licensed slaughterhouses and establishments. A regulatory decree is to be issued to determine technical and health conditions in slaughterhouses and establishments that are equipped to slaughter farm animals.
    In his referral letter to the Council of Ministers, Chehayeb said the bill would give the Ministry of Agriculture broad powers to implement these regulations that are in compliance with international conventions. He also mentioned the proper ways to stop violations, seize animals, shut down establishments, and escalate sanctions so they fit with the nature of the violations.

    Chehayeb stressed the need for cooperation between his ministry and the private sector in order to implement the law, and hoped that concerned ministries would present their remarks soon for the Council of Ministers to approve the bill and refer it to parliament.

    Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Jason Mier, the executive director of Animals Lebanon, said this draft law is the result of years of hard work, and called for the bill to become law as soon as possible for the sake of people’s health and the safety of their food, since it constitutes a major shift in the modus operandi of slaughterhouses, farms and other establishments that deal with animals, particularly in the light of documented video footage showing livestock slaughters that disregarded the minimum recommendations by the World Organization for Animal Health.

    The constitution of the World Organization for Animal Health sets precautionary measures regarding the import and export of meat and live animals meant for slaughter. It stipulates that the beef should be derived from cattle less than 30 months of age, free from all symptoms of infectious diseases, and having undergone a test for mad-cow disease.
    “Animals are tossed around brutally with their feet, heads, horns, and ears tied up, and then slaughtered in an incorrect manner,” Meir said, adding “these things are happening right now in Lebanon and they should stop for good.”

    Full Story here:

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