Saturday, 23 November 2019 00:00

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Talkin' Pets News

November 23, 2019

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Gino Sassani - Lost World Reptiles

Producer - Daisey Charlotte

Network Producer - Quinn McCarthy

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guest - Jamie Gwen - Food & Wine with Chef Jamie Gwen - 635pm ET to discuss cooking your turkey for Thanksgiving Day


A third case of the plague in China has been detected in a 55-year-old man in Inner Mongolia, the local health commission said.

The case of bubonic plague was confirmed on Sunday, according to Reuters. The man diagnosed with plague reportedly became ill after he hunted and ate some wild rabbit meat on Nov. 5. The 55-year-old is currently being isolated and treated at a hospital in Ulanqab.

Another 28 people who were in close contact with the man have also been isolated and put "under observation," according to the outlet. None of those being watched have demonstrated any signs of the disease, the report added.

Bubonic plague is one of three types of plague that's caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It's the most common version of the disease and is rarely transmitted between humans. The bacteria usually infects people after

News of the individual infected with bubonic plague comes nearly a week after two people in Beijing were reportedly treated for pneumonic plague, the same strand that killed tens of millions of people in the middle ages. While pneumonic plague is the least common type of plague, it is the most dangerous, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That form is highly contagious, and can spread easily from person to person by sneezing or coughing near them. It is possible to cure the disease with antibiotics, but, it is fatal if left untreated.

Bubonic plague can only be spread by infected fleas or by someone handling an infected animal's tissue. In 2015, two people in Colorado died from the plague, according to the CDC. An average of seven Americans get the disease every year.

Chinese state media said there is "no evidence" that the recent case found in Inner Mongolia is linked to the previous cases found in Beijing.

China's country's health commission says at least six people have died from the plague in China since 2014, the New York Times reported.

In the midst of what has been called the planet's sixth mass extinction, many scientists describe the rate of species loss on earth as having reached crisis levels.

Faced with the epic challenge to halt, or at least slow, the disappearance of species, conservationists must make the best use of every dollar and minute of time. To do this, conservation efforts are often focused on biodiversity "hotspots," a method that has proven effective in targeting species-rich, at-risk regions.

"Hotspots have been proven very effective at directing conservation efforts," says Dr. Josh Ennen, a biologist with the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute. "But for groups of animals or plants with a different evolutionary history, such as turtles, hotspots might not accurately reflect the species richness patterns of the species you're trying to save."

Freshwater turtles are one of the world's most-imperiled groups of animals, with about 60 percent of the world's 360-odd species either threatened or extinct. General imperilment and relatively low species count make turtles ideal candidates for testing a more-accurate, statistics-based method of mapping their distributions across the planet.

A potential solution to this conundrum appears in an article published in the latest issue of the academic journal Biological Conservation. An international group of scientists led by Ennen and including Conservation Institute Geographic Information Systems Analyst Sarah Sweat processed data on the distribution of turtles around the world to generate an interactive map that defines the boundaries for "communities" of related turtle species.

The map identifies 63 global turtle regions, highlighting several as high-priority targets for ecologists based on conservation value and several metrics of biodiversity.

"It's important to know that it's multiple unique assemblages and not one giant collection of turtles," Ennen says. "Another unique thing our map shows is the importance of turtles in Southeast Asia extends farther north into China than what others thought. We identify the Yangtze River and several coastal rivers in China that are very important for turtle conservation."

Digging deeper into known hotspots to identify groupings of related turtle species will be crucial to future conservation efforts. This will be especially true in the future as new species are identified in lesser-studied regions such as Central Africa. With updated, species-specific knowledge in hand, conservationists will be able to evaluate and tailor plans of action for each unique community rather than acting less efficiently by painting with too broad a brush, Ennen says.

"Money to do boots-on-the-ground research work to conserve turtles is very limited," he says. "When you look at large-scale analyses like with this paper, what we're trying to do is figure out how to divvy up the pie and help people figure out where to spend their money to get the most conservation effort out of their conservation dollar."

Total pet spending in the U.S. climbed by 1.9 percent in 2018 to reach $78.6 billion, according to the Pet Business Professor blog.

The $1.47 billion increase was well below the $9.84 billion jump seen in 2017, the blog’s John Gibbons writes.

Here’s how the market shook out by segment in 2018:

  • Food: -$2.27B (-7.3%) decrease
  • Supplies: $1.22B (+6.6%) increase
  • Veterinary: $0.56B (+2.7%) increase
  • Services: $1.95B (+28.9%) increase

A mix of factors led to the relatively muted growth.

“The FDA warning regarding grain free dog food wreaked havoc in the second half and the new tariffs on supplies flattened spending during that period,” explains. “Veterinary prices turned up again resulting in a net “no gain” in the amount purchased by consumers.”

Additionally, he said, many young adults who’d been living with their parents ended up moving out with their pets in tow.

Services segment “saved the year with a spectacular increase in spending as consumers finally responded to the convenience of significantly more outlets,” he writes.

The Missouri Propane Education and Research Council presented Student Transportation of America a check for $20,000 for its acquisition of new propane school buses. These emissions- and cost-reducing propane school buses are in service throughout the Kansas City Public Schools district.

The rebate presented to STA is part of MOPERC's Clean Bus Replacement Plan, which has committed $1 million to help Missouri school districts transition from diesel to propane buses. The plan offers rebates of $2,000 per propane bus, up to 10 per district or contractor, at the time of delivery.

"MOPERC's Clean Bus Replacement Plan can benefit dozens of school districts and communities throughout the state regardless of location," says Steve Ahrens, president and CEO of MOPERC. "We're offering these rebates to leverage funding to school districts and bus contractors who adopt propane buses, either through Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust funds or on their own. For the current fiscal year, we've reserved 27 propane bus rebates under the MOPERC plan."

KCPS contracted with STA to acquire the Blue Bird Type C propane buses. The school district expects to save about $500,000 annually in fuel costs, and another $55,000 savings each year in maintenance costs. "By helping STA lower its acquisition cost of these propane school buses, the school bus contractor can then help KCPS lower its operating costs with lower fuel and maintenance costs," Ahrens adds.

"STA has made a significant investment in adopting propane school buses for KCPS and other school districts across the country," said Ryan Zic, vice president of school bus sales at ROUSH CleanTech, which manufactures the propane fuel system for the Blue Bird Vision. "And, it's state and federal funds, like MOPERC's and Volkswagen's EMT, that create further opportunity to acquire this clean-operating technology."

For the first time, students at a Florida high school are using realistic man-made frogs as a replacement for dead, formalin-preserved frogs in classroom dissection labs. A developer of synthetic human and animal models used for education, surgical simulation and medical device testing, unveiled the SynDaver Synthetic Frog, called SynFrog™, at J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida. Nearly 100 of the synthetic frogs were dissected by students, marking the official launch of this innovative new product designed to replace the use of real frogs in dissection labs. J.W. Mitchell High School is the first school in the world to adopt the new technology, which is expected to be embraced by schools nationwide.

The Pasco County School District is committed to being a leader in innovation and opportunity for students, so we are excited to announce that Mitchell High School is the first in the world to use SynFrogs in science labs, giving our students a learning experience no other students have ever had, said Kurt Browning, Pasco County Superintendent of Schools. The SynFrog mimics the visual and textural properties of a live female frog and is constructed using SynDavers patented synthetic tissue, SynTissue. The frog features a synthetic skeleton, synthetic muscles along with highly realistic synthetic skin and organs, including a reproductive system with eggs.

We’re excited to announce our revolutionary SynFrog, which is a far superior learning tool as it is designed to mimic living tissue. This makes it more like a live frog than the preserved specimens currently sold to schools for dissection labs, said Dr. Christopher Sakezles, founder and CEO of SynDaver. SynFrog not only looks and feels like a real frog, its physically safer to dissect than a real preserved frog because it doesn’t contain potentially harmful chemicals like formalin. We commend Pasco County Schools for taking this monumental step to advance science education, and we want to thank PETA for their funding support, which helped with the initial development phase of the product and enabled us to deliver it faster than previously anticipated.

In addition to the enhanced educational experience provided by the SynFrog, it eliminates the use of dead, chemically preserved frogs. This increases safety, as preserved frogs can be dangerous to those who handle them. Additionally, the SynFrog is reusable and provides a solution to an ethical problem that has plagued educators for decades.

We’re proud to have found a partner in SynDaver to bring this revolutionary new educational tool to life, replacing the outdated use of once-living frogs forever, said Shalin G. Gala, PETA’s vice president of International Laboratory Methods. We look forward to schools around the world adopting this state-of-the-art technology that will not only save millions of frogs, but is a far more effective and safer teaching tool. All of SynDavers synthetic humans, animal models and task trainers simulate the anatomy of live patients in great detail, including individual muscles, tendons, veins, arteries, nerves and organ systems. The company’s patented synthetic tissues are made of water, fibers and salts. Each of these non-toxic, non-latex tissues has been validated against the relevant living tissue for mechanical and physical properties. For more information about SynDaver or the company’s products, visit   ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (H.R. 737) passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 310 v 107. This critical bill, led by Reps. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, D-Northern Mariana Islands, and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, prohibits the commercial trade of shark fins and products containing shark fins in the U.S.

Every year, tens of millions of sharks die agonizing deaths after being cruelly finned alive—all for a delicacy in Asia called shark fin soup. Sharks are a hugely important species for the health of our oceans. As top predators, they help keep balance in their habitats. According to research, fins from as many as 73 million sharks are used every year to supply the global trade in shark fins.

Current U.S. law already prohibits shark finning but does not go far enough to protect shark populations, as some populations have declined by as much as 90% in recent decades. Shark fins sold in the U.S. come from all over the world, including locations which have no bans on finning. By banning the trade of shark fins, the U.S. will help to alleviate shark finning, reduce the global demand for shark fins and conserve shark populations.

“We commend the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “This vote sends a strong signal that Congress is taking the decimation of shark populations worldwide seriously, and subsequently taking action to remove the U.S. from the incredibly cruel, ecologically damaging global shark fin trade. We hope this momentum continues in the Senate.”

“As apex species, sharks are invaluable contributors to their ecosystems—much more valuable alive than they are in a bowl of soup,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We thank Representatives Sablan and McCaul for introducing this important piece of legislation. By passing the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, the U.S. House of Representatives has taken a significant step toward eliminating extinction of these remarkable creatures.”

“After years of hard work, I am tremendously thankful that my colleagues in the House from both sides of the aisle voted to advance my bill, the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. The bill is an effective, no-cost way to remove the United States from the harmful shark fin trade that contributes to the loss of up to 73 million sharks each year,” said Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, D-Northern Mariana Islands. “A dozen states and three territories already have a ban in their laws. Shark fin bans are also supported by numerous airlines and shipping companies, major corporations, and hundreds of U.S. businesses and organizations. However, the work is not over. The Senate must also act to pass this critical legislation and get it to the President’s desk so we can finally get our country out of the devastating global shark fin trade.”

“Congress struck down animal cruelty by voting in favor of the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. After sharks are captured, fisherman will remove their fins and release them back into the ocean to die. Sharks play a vital role in our marine ecosystem, serving as an indicator of the overall health of our ocean,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas. “The survival of these majestic creatures is of great importance and this bill will help ensure they are around for decades to come. I am proud to work alongside colleagues who have taken a stand against this atrocity today.”

The only way to end the inhumane treatment of sharks at sea and protect shark populations is to ban the trade in shark fin products.
Prohibiting the U.S. trade in shark fins will promote the nation’s leadership in global shark conservation.

About a quarter of the global pig population is expected to die as a result of an epidemic of African swine fever (ASF), according to the intergovernmental organisation responsible for coordinating animal disease control.

In the last year the spread of the disease has taken policymakers by surprise, and has been particularly devastating in China – home to the world’s largest pig population. The disease is also established in other Asian countries such as Vietnam and South Korea, and continues to wreak havoc in eastern Europe, where the current outbreak began in 2014.

The severity of the crisis means that global pork prices are rising, spurred largely by the demand from China, where as many as 100m pigs have been lost since ASF broke out there last year. In recent months, China has been granting export approval to foreign meat plants and signing deals around the world at a dizzying rate. US pork sales to China have doubled, while European pork prices have reached a six-year high.

Dr Mark Schipp, vice-president of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), told a press conference this week that ASF was “the biggest threat to any commercial livestock of our generation”. He claimed that the spread of the disease in the past year to countries including China, which has half the world’s pig population, had inflamed a worldwide crisis.

Schipp said veterinary scientists worldwide were trying to find a vaccine for the disease, but that it was a “complex challenge” because of the nature of the virus. While the disease does not spread to humans, it is virtually 100% fatal once embedded in pig populations.

ASF can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals, such as wild boar, and via ticks. But the virus can also survive several months in processed meat, and several years in frozen carcasses, so meat products are a particular concern for cross-border transmission. In July meat containing the ASF virus was found in products seized by port authorities in Northern Ireland.

The outbreak in China has been particularly serious, with as many as 100m pigs lost already according to China’s official declared inventory, according to Adam Speck, a senior commodity analyst at IHS Markit’s Agribusiness Intelligence. Rabobank, a financial services company that specialises in food and agriculture, predicted that this year China would lose between 20% and 70% of its herd: potentially as many as 350m pigsl. Official figures state that over 1m pigs have been culled.

The virus has now been identified in 50 countries, including Poland, Russia, South Korea and the Philippines. So far, the furthest west the disease has been found in live animals is in Belgium among the wild boar population. A cull is now planned in the country. “The Asian ASF crisis is having an enormous impact on the global pork industry, with record export volumes pushing prices up around the world.”

Anne Sabol's cul-de-sac in Port St. Lucie, Florida, is fairly quiet.

Well, it was, until a dog hopped in its owner's running car, kicked it in reverse, drove in circles for an hour and smashed a neighbor's mailbox before safely exiting the vehicle without so much as a scratch.

But Sabol didn't know who was behind the wheel when she first spotted the car, whirling around the block like an inept student driver might.

"At first I thought I saw somebody backing up, but then they kept going, and I'm like, 'OK, what're they doing?'" she told CNN affiliate WPBF.

Who's drivin' that car? A black Labrador Retriever, either terribly frightened or joyfully free.

Then the cops came. And then the fire department. Authorities watched from a distance as the driving dog did donuts.

Finally, the vehicle hit a mailbox and some garbage cans, then slowed down.

Port St. Lucie police opened the door, and Sabol watched as a large black Labrador retriever hop out of the driver's seat.

"'OK, this is turning weird,'" she remembered thinking.

It turns out, the dog's owner, who asked to remain anonymous, had left his car running in the street when the dog changed gears and didn't stop driving for almost an hour, Port St. Lucie police said.

The community escaped injury save for the mailbox, which the dog's owner promised to fix.

As for the pup, it's impossible to know its thoughts behind the wheel. Did it jump at the chance for a joyride and a fleeting taste of freedom? Or was this all a harrowing accident as the dog felt all control slip through its paws?

Sabol, for one, was impressed.

"They should give that thing a license."

Read 597 times Last modified on Saturday, 23 November 2019 16:52
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