Livestock News for June 11

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Merck Animal Health announces leadership appointments

Merck Animal Health announced new leadership of Antelliq and its brands of Allflex Livestock Intelligence, Sure Petcare and Biomark. Rick DeLuca, president, Merck Animal Health, made these appointments following the completion of its acquisition of Antelliq, which is an operating unit within Merck Animal Health. Brian Bolton has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Antelliq. Most recently, Bolton was group chief operating officer of Antelliq and served as president of Allflex North America from 2004 through 2014. Jeroen van de Ven, DVM, MBA, has been appointed chief operating officer of Antelliq. Previously, van de Ven, a practicing veterinarian in The Netherlands, was Associate Vice president for Merck Animal Health’s global ruminants marketing organization. David Hallas, DVM, MBA, has been appointed managing director for the recently combined Sure Petcare and HomeAgain businesses, responsible for global commercial activities in support of this newly formed business.

Tyson Foods, Auburn partner on solar poultry house

According to Meatingplace, Tyson Foods and Auburn University have opened what they describe as the largest stand-alone solar-powered poultry house. The 54-by-500 foot poultry house in Cullman County, Alabama, is completely off the electrical grid and has a capacity of 36,000 broilers, the partners announced in a news release.

Model identifies high-risk areas for lumpy skin disease in cattle

According to a North Carolina State University release, researchers have combined two separate computer models to identify areas at highest risk for outbreaks of lumpy skin disease virus, or LSDV, in cattle. The models could help officials determine where to send resources ahead of outbreaks and serve as a potential early warning system for cattle farmers in affected areas. Although LSDV is endemic to Africa, since 2015 the disease has spread into the Northern Hemisphere; the rapid expansion shows the virus can thrive in more temperate regions than those in which LSDV traditionally occurred.

Scientists edit chicken genes to make them resistant to bird flu

Reuters reported that scientists in Britain have used gene-editing techniques to stop bird flu spreading in chicken cells grown in a lab – a key step towards making genetically-altered chickens that could halt a human flu pandemic. Bird flu viruses currently spread swiftly in wild birds and poultry, and can at times jump into humans. Global health and infectious disease specialists cite as one of their greatest concerns the threat of a human flu pandemic caused by a bird flu strain that makes such a jump and mutates into a deadly and airborne form that can pass easily between people. In the latest study, by editing out a section of chicken DNA inside the lab-grown cells, researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute prevented the bird flu virus from taking hold in the cells and replicating. The next step will be to try to produce chickens with the same genetic change, said Mike McGrew of the Roslin Institute, who co-led the research.