Death caused by hyperthermia

Death caused by hyperthermia. This questionable method has been developed as a last resort option in case of a large-scale outbreak of High Pathogen Avian Influenza in the UK. Even in EU Regulation EU 1099/2009 there is room for countries to use this kind of methods, when compliance is likely to affect human health or significantly slow down the process of eradication of a disease. (EU 1099/2009; article 18, under 3).

Hyperthermia means that the cause of death is overheating the shed of the birds. The normal core body (CB) temperature of a bird must remain within a narrow range around a mean value of 41.4°C if its welfare is to be safeguarded.

If the core body temperature rises above 45°C most poultry will die quickly. To ensure VSD is effective the temperature in the house must rise to 40°C or greater and remain at that level. Maintaining a relative humidity of at least 75% will help speed the onset of death through hyperthermia.

This DEFRA document provides procedures and instructions on using Ventilation Shutdown (VSD) as an emergency method of killing of poultry for disease control purposes.


Historical overview of male day-old chicks as animal feed

In 2013, more than 150 million chicks per year, male day-old chicks are used as high quality and nutritious ingredient on the diet of hundreds of species of wild animals that are held in zoos and breading centers.

In the past 30 years, the use of day-old chicks have been changed, from animal waste to high-end food for birds of pray, cranes and other animals living in zoos and fauna parks around the world. This change has become possible first, after the introduction of techniques to kill the animals without unnecessary stress or pain.

With the use of technology, people daring to think out of the box, and the entrepreneurial courage of only a view people who dared to stick out their neck for animal welfare in a time that it was absolutely not common to do so, the majority of all male day-old chicks that are produced in Europe today are being treated with respect during slaughter, completely in line with the EU directives EU 1099/2009 and EU 1069/2009.


Impact assesment EU 1099/2009 January 19, 2012

Andrea Gavinelli, Directorate General for Health and Consumers, EU Commission: Summary.

Animal Welfare is being accorded an increasingly important role in today’s civil society. There is a growing expectation from consumers worldwide for animals used in food production to be well treated. Science has also more clearly defined the link of animal welfare with the increase of efficiency in production, animal health, securing sustainability, and ethical concerns.

The results of several social investigations and market analysis carried on in the European Union confirm that the farming of animals is no longer viewed by European consumers simply as a means of food production. Instead it is seen as fundamental to other key social goals such as food safety and quality, safeguarding environmental protection, sustainability, enhancing the quality of life in rural areas while ensuring that animals are properly treated.

While in the past animal welfare policy was often driven public concerns about specific topics the Commission adopted in 2006 a more comprehensive strategy for this policy area.

The first Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-2010 takes into account all the concerns as well as the globalisation of animal production. It defines the direction of the Community policies and the related activities for the coming years to continue to promote high animal welfare standards in the EU and internationally considering animal welfare as business opportunities while respecting the ethical and cultural dimension of the issue. A major effort is ongoing today to simplify the legislative framework and to reshape it in order to obtain in the future a more powerful tool to support European farm business.

The scientific study of animal welfare is a relatively young discipline and has developed over the last three decades and continues to expand to meet new challenges and new possibilities.

The scientific knowledge could play an important role facilitating the ethical and political decisions about animal care.

The vision is to integrate the farming of animals in good health and welfare conditions with the respect of several other issues such as the safety of the products and the respect for the environment: this integrated approach will bring a real benefit for the global society.

The overall aim of the European Commission’s initiative is to initiate a broad public debate on animal welfare which will allow shaping a coherent and widely accepted policy.


EFSA Scientific report on animal health and welfare aspects of Avian Influenza

In 2005 the Eurpean Commission asks the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to review 2000 and 2003 scientific pinions (SCAHAW, 2000 and 2003) on avian influenza in the light of more recent scientific data.

The EFSA scientific opinion should in particular describe:

1. an assessment of the risk of the introduction, and possible secondary spread, of LPAI and HPAI into the EU via different commodities, such as live poultry, ornamental birds, hatching eggs, table eggs, fresh poultry and other poultry products. In addition the scientific opinion should describe the risk factors for disease introduction into poultry holdings and surveillance tools and procedures available for early detection of AI in poultry holdings in relation to those risks;

2. the role of “backyard” poultry flocks in the epidemiology of avian influenza and available disease control tools for this specific population;

3. the risk of disease transmission between certain avian species in particular with respect to pigeons and anseriformes;

4. the risk of virus persistence in poultry manure and farm waste and a description of the possible inactivation and disinfection procedures that could be applied to these materials;

5. the animal welfare aspects of avian influenza including the implications of the different control strategies.


Bird flu viruses could re-emerge in upcoming flu season

International experts recommend vigilance and promote targeted surveillance, market restructuring to fight H7N9, H5N1 and other threats. 16 September 2013, Rome – FAO has issued a new warning to the international community that the H7N9 and H5N1 avian influenza viruses continue to pose serious threats to human and animal health, especially in view of the upcoming flu season.

“The world is more prepared than ever before to respond to bird flu viruses in light of a decade of work on H5N1 and the recent response to H7N9,” said FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth at a joint meeting with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Heads of FAO Reference Centres, in Australia, the People’s Republic of China, Italy and the United States of America were also in attendance, along with representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture.

“However, constant vigilance is required,” Lubroth said. “Bird flu viruses continue to circulate in poultry. Efforts must continue and be strengthened, not only in affected countries, but also in neighbouring states and areas with strong trade linkages. This is especially true for H7N9 since it causes no clinical signs in birds and is therefore very difficult to detect in poultry.”

Along these lines, FAO has committed $2 million of emergency funding supplemented by over $5 million from USAID to kick-start H7N9 response efforts. USAID support has enabled FAO to help countries at risk dramatically improve surveillance capacities.

“Several at-risk countries previously unable to pick up the virus can now accurately detect H7N9,” explained Lubroth. “Identifying the virus with consistency is critical to targeting control efforts and reducing spread.”

Dennis Carroll, Director of USAID’s Emerging Threats Program, added, “The early detection and excellent characterization of the H7N9 virus by Chinese experts has created an unprecedented opportunity to mount a coordinated effort to stop the further spread of the virus – and thwart a possible global event.

Significant progress over the past decade in forging national and international partnerships and validating interventions for control of avian influenza can be immediately adapted to addressing the threat posed by the H7N9 virus.”

Surveillance is key

FAO and USAID stress that more work is required. In the short term this includes continued, targeted surveillance and trace back throughout the production and marketing system, contingency planning and compensation scheme development.

“The emergence of the H7N9 virus serves as yet another reminder that new disease threats are not the exception, but a predictable consequence of events occurring at the human-animal interface,” said Carroll.

“It is important we continue to monitor future threats while at the same time improving the practices and behaviours associated with livestock production and marketing that can make it easier for diseases to emerge and affect animals and people,” he said.

“Surveillance is key, and with support from key partners like USAID, we’re making progress,” said Lubroth. “In addition to helping countries detect the virus, we need to make sure authorities can trace back the virus to its points of origin and better understand how the virus is circulating so as to design effective control actions. Where appropriate we need to help governments put together contingency plans for the possible detection of the virus and compensation schemes for assisting those affected by control efforts.”

In the longer-term fight against H7N9 and other viruses, FAO and USAID are urging countries to invest in improving the way they market and sell poultry.

“We need keep our eyes on the bigger picture of promoting healthy food systems, especially when it comes to animal production and marketing,” said Lubroth. “Restructuring can create healthier, safer markets by developing facilities that employ proper food safety and hygiene measures. Since animals, and therefore viruses, are inevitably gathered at markets, keeping these markets clean and safe reduces the chances for viruses and other pathogens to spread. Healthy markets mean healthy birds, and that means improved public health, better food security and more sustainable livelihoods.”

FAO continues its call for funds to bolster the global H7N9 response. FAO is urging countries to make key investments in improving markets and promoting healthy food systems to fight viruses affecting animals and humans as part of overarching efforts to ensure the animal sector realizes its potential in the promotion of healthy and productive lives.


FAO launches emergency projects to fight H7N9 avian flu

Initiatives to help Asian countries improve virus detection, control and response

Bangkok, Thailand, 18 Sep 2013 — Two emergency regional projects* aimed at containing avian influenza were launched today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific at a three-day workshop. The meeting was attended by veterinary experts from countries in the sub-regions of Southeast and South Asia and from a number of international organizations and development partners.

Working in coordination with development partners such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), these FAO projects will promote coordinated sub-regional preparedness, surveillance and response to A(H7N9) in poultry and other animal populations in Asian countries at risk. The projects will assist countries in the region to better detect, control and respond to the virus.

The emergence of A(H7N9) influenza in China raises the possibility that the virus could spread to a number of countries in the region which are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). FAO said these initiatives will boost epidemiologic knowledge, surveillance and diagnostic capacity and risk management, including preparedness and response, risk communication, as well as coordination and collaboration among ASEAN and SAARC countries and between animal and human health authorities.

Countries in Asia must remain vigilant in light of possible re-emergence of A(H7N9)

Speaking at the workshop project launch, Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, warned the region that the “virus in China is still present and there is still a great deal not yet understood about this H7N9 virus. Other influenza viruses that circulate in poultry often decrease dramatically during the summer months, only to reappear later in the year during cold season. Also, many low pathogenic influenza viruses in poultry have transformed into highly pathogenic viruses.”

Konuma called on countries in the region to ensure that they are prepared should the H7N9 virus follow a similar path. “This means that all countries in Asia need to be vigilant– both for incursion and spread of the virus, and possible evolution to highly pathogenic type.”

Preparation needed in case there is a resurgence of the A(H7N9) virus

Konuma urged veterinary experts at the workshop to “discuss how to adjust surveillance and response mechanisms and to prepare for a possible resurgence of H7N9 suggesting that participants identify synergies of the human health, animal health and other sectors among the countries in the region and between the countries and the relevant international organizations.”

He added that the “sharing of information and the coordination that takes place at this meeting, and through the period of these projects, will lead to further improvements in infectious disease detection and response so that, as a global community, we will be better prepared for immediate action and early containment the next time a new disease emerges.”

*Emergency Assistance for Surveillance of Influenza A(H7N9) Virus in Poultry and Animal Populations in Southeast Asia – TCP/RAS/3406(E) and Emergency Assistance for Surveillance of Influenza A(H7N9) Virus in Poultry and Animal Populations in South Asia – TCP/RAS/3407(E)


Euthanaseren van verzwakte varkens nog steeds een taboe

Al bijna 8 jaar wordt er in Nederland gediscussieerd over het vroegtijdig afscheid nemen van zieke varkens door middel van Euthanasie. In het artikel van Marleen van Sleuwen uit 2006, gepubliceerd in het vakblad De Boerderij adviseren deskundigen om ook op gewone bedrijven vaker kwakkeldieren te laten doden. Marleen werd indertijd beloond met journalistieke prijs voor de moet om dit onderwerp op de kaart te zetten.

Ondanks dat de EU tegenwoordig aan de lidstaten meer ruimte biedt om met het toestaan van alternatieven voor het gebruik van T61, toegediend door een dierenarts, blijkt dat in Nederland alleen het schietmasker gebruikt mag worden voor het verdoven van varkens.

De uiteindelijke dood van het dier moet vervolgens gebeuren door het toepassen van pithing. Een term die bewust niet in het Nederlands vertaald wordt. Volgens de definitie in art.2 van Verordening EU 1099/2009 betekent pithing: beschadiging van het weefsel van het centrale zenuwstelsel en het ruggenmerg met een lang en staafvormig, in de schedelholte ingebracht instrument. Het doden van biggen op het bedrijf zonder de inzet van een dierenarts (T61) is onmogelijk geworden omdat er voor biggen geen schietmasker in dit formaat bestaat.

De huidige Nederlandse wetgeving heeft de EU verordening beperkt tot het gebruik van T61 en verdoven met een schietmasker, gevolgd door het doden door middel van Pithing. Dit blijft zo totdat de nieuwe Wet houders van dieren wordt aangenomen in de eerste kamer. Persoonlijk vind ik dat van geen enkele boer kan en mag verwachten dat hij deze handeling uitvoert.

Ondanks de werkgroep die zich blijkens het artikel van Marleen van Sleuwen in 2006 over dit probleem boog en ondanks de Taskforce die Nederland in november 2012 naar dit probleem laat kijken lijkt dit dilemma nog steeds onoplosbaar. Totdat de wet Houders van Dieren wordt aangenomen bestaat er geren alternatief voor het inhuren van de dierenarts. Het euthanaseren van elk kwakkelvarken en elke zieke of verzwakte big wordt ongewild maar genadeloos gedegradeerd tot een kostenpost voor de boer.


Toepassen Verordening EU 1099/2009 binnen de varkensindustrie

Ondanks de nieuwe EU verordening worden pasgeboren biggen veelal handmatig – met inzet van fysieke kracht – gedood, bij gebrek aan een passende techniek die is toegestaan op grond van de Europese verordening. De verordening is weliswaar rechtstreeks van kracht in alle lidstaten, maar volgens artikel 26 van de nieuwe verordening kunnen lidstaten wel stringentere nationale voorschriften handhaven, onder andere m.b.t. het doden van dieren buiten een slachthuis.

Het Besluit doden van dieren beperkt op dit moment de mogelijkheden die de verordening biedt. Dit leidt tot een onaanvaardbare situaties voor Nederlandse varkensboeren. Dit kan niet de bedoeling geweest zijn van de Nederlandse wetgever en daarom is het zaak dat het Besluit houders van dieren zo snel mogelijk in werking treedt.
De verordening is weliswaar rechtstreeks van kracht in alle lidstaten, maar volgens artikel 26 van de nieuwe verordening kunnen lidstaten wel stringentere nationale voorschriften handhaven, onder andere m.b.t. het doden van dieren buiten een slachthuis.

Het Besluit doden van dieren beperkt op dit moment de mogelijkheden die de verordening biedt. Dit leidt tot een onaanvaardbare situaties voor Nederlandse varkensboeren. Dit kan niet de bedoeling geweest zijn van de Nederlandse wetgever en daarom is het zaak dat het Besluit houders van dieren zo snel mogelijk in werking treedt.


FAO lessons learned from HPAI outbreaks in Asia 2005 – 2011

FAO has published a report on lessons learned from from the fight against highly pathogenic avian influenza in Asia between 2005 and 2011. Since the emergence of H5N1 HPAI in 2003, the disease situation has evolved considerably. At the peak of avian influenza (AI) outbreaks in 2006, 63 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa were affected by the disease; it has now been eliminated from most of these countries. H5N1 is currently entrenched in a number of countries in Asia and the disease is endemic in China, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Bangladesh and large parts of eastern India. A number of countries in Asia, including the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR),Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, also experience regular outbreaks.

The period 2004 to 2008 saw a steady decline in disease outbreaks in poultry. While there has been an apparent increase in outbreak numbers since 2009, the 2011/2012 HPAI season saw a significant decline in poultry outbreaks. The last newly-infected country was Bhutan; this outbreak took place in February 2010. However, the disease is known to be under-reported and there is increasing evidence that H5N1 HPAI has become endemic in some of the smaller countries in Asia that have relatively undeveloped poultry industries; such countries include Cambodia and Nepal. It is estimated that the disease has resulted in the loss of over 400 million domestic poultry and has caused economic losses of over US$20 billion.

The information, generated from isolation and genetic and antigenic characterization of a large number of viruses in Asia and other parts of the world, coupled with the information on disease outbreaks, has improved our understanding of the virus’s evolution and the implications for its spread, infectivity and suitability for use in the development of vaccines. The current trends in evolution present a number of concerns, which include the emergence of second-, third- and fourth-order clades, demonstrating rapid evolution and rapid replacement of virus strains in some endemic regions, and the emergence of antigenic diversity, including changes in receptor binding capacity and the ability to break through existing vaccine strains.


Applying Regulation EU 1099/2009 within the poultry industry

Several EU funded studies showed that the concern for animal welfare is one of the factors affecting the consumer’s choice of a product. There is a clear gap between consumer views and the day-to-day practice of killing animals on the farm in this regard. This can lead to public campaigning by welfare pressure groups against the poultry industry, resulting in public outrage with an unpredictable political, financial and economic outcome.

Not only poultry industry will be influenced negatively by consumer reactions in case the farmers would continue to neglect animal welfare in this sense. Therefore, it’s a clear task for animal welfare organizations, consumer organizations, branch organizations and retail organizations to actively support the farmers in their effort to applying Regulation EU 1099/2009.