Weekly equine and livestock news: May 8, 2023

Washington State University researchers bring gene-edited pigs into food supply through investigational FDA authorization

A Washington State University professor gained FDA permission to bring gene-edited pigs into the food supply under an investigational food use authorization. Professor Jon Oatley wanted to demonstrate that meat made from five gene-edited pigs was safe to eat and that it’s possible for an academic institution to achieve this type of FDA authorization. The 2-year-old pigs were processed at the WSU Meat Lab, and the USDA inspected the meat, some of which was made into sausages that will be used in catering services. The FDA authorization “shows that gene-editing livestock to quickly produce desirable traits for improved food production is a viable strategy for helping feed the planet’s growing population,” according to WSU.

Pennsylvania veterinarians worry about xylazine availability as new state rule takes effect

Veterinarians in Pennsylvania worry a new state rule making xylazine a Schedule III controlled substance will end up pushing the drug out of the market. The rule will mandate tighter record-keeping, require the drug to be stored in locked facilities and allow law enforcement to prosecute people for illegally possessing and selling the drug. Manufacturers also have to create additional checks to ensure the person who ordered the drug is the one receiving it. Veterinarians worry the rule will be too costly for manufacturers and distributors, limiting the drug’s availability. Cattle veterinarians are especially concerned because xylazine is the only sedative that works on cows, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

As groups push for expanded resources in farm bill, lawmakers warn the money’s not there

Representatives from the two largest U.S. farm groups last week pushed federal lawmakers for higher crop subsidy rates and broader access to subsidized insurance. This came as lawmakers, who are considering the forthcoming farm bill, emphasized there might not be enough money to achieve what leaders at the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union want. A group of environmental, consumer, small farm and small government groups has opposed increasing farm subsidies, saying the changes requested by the farm bureau and farmers union “would only boost federal payments to the largest and most successful of farmers” at a time when net farm income “is well above historic norms.” Successful Farming reports.

Iowa lawmakers propose new spending for African swine fever vaccine development

The Iowa Senate has approved a budget including $250,000 for development of an African swine fever vaccine and another $250,000 to buy equipment to euthanize pigs to stop the spread of the virus should an outbreak occur. This is in addition to an existing $750,000 Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness program. The state House is expected to approve the proposed budget, Radio Iowa reports.

European Union approves Netherlands’ 1.5-billion-euro plan to buy out farms near nature reserves

The European Union has approved a 1.5-billion-euro plan to buy out certain Dutch farms and reduce nitrogen emissions, Euronews reports. The money would be used to compensate farmers in the Netherlands who voluntarily close farms located near nature reserves. About 3,000 farms are expected to be eligible. The Dutch government wants to cut emissions, mostly nitrogen oxide and ammonia, 50% nationwide by 2030.

To keep new equine veterinarians in their jobs, improve the work environment: University of Florida vet

A speaker at the Ocala Equine Conference early this year encouraged practitioners to improve a workplace culture that seems to drive many equine veterinarians away from the field. Only 1% of veterinary school graduates enter equine practice, and 50% of those practitioners leave in their first five years, said Dr. Martha Mallicote, a clinical associate professor at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Practice owners should be careful not to cultivate an environment where 24/7 devotion is expected, Mallicote said. They should limit emergency care expectations to only established clients and share on-call duties with other practices in the area, she added. Read more from The Horse.