Weekly equine and livestock news: May 15, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court rejects pork industry challenge to Proposition 12

The U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected the pork industry’s challenge to California Proposition 12. Writing the opinion for the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch said pork producers “invited” the court to “fashion two new and more aggressive constitutional restrictions on the ability of states to regulate goods sold within their borders. We decline that invitation.” The 5-4 decision wasn’t along ideological lines. This ruling is a win for animal welfare advocates, Food Dive reports. At least nine other states have banned or restricted gestation crates for pigs.

Some scientists see promise as bird flu cases in wildlife slow

While bird flu continues to circulate, cases have slowed in Minnesota. The virus has caused only three confirmed wildlife deaths in the last three months, the Star Tribune reports. The USDA has confirmed bird flu killed 101 wild birds across the country in April, down from nearly 600 during the same time last year. Officials have found a surprising number of eagles, hawks, owls and other predators with antibodies that show the birds have been infected but recovered from the strain, said Victoria Hall, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. Although cases have slowed, it’s too early to tell if the virus is actually waning, said Julianna Lenoch, national wildlife disease program coordinator for the USDA.

How a Brazil professor plans to prepare veterinary students to adapt to cultured meat

In an effort to equip veterinary students with the skills they’ll need in a changing industry, a Brazil veterinary professor plans to have students grow a small amount of animal muscle cells in a lab. Dr. Carla Molento, a professor at the Federal University of Paraná, anticipates alternative meat will dramatically lessen the need for food animals. She’s offering an elective course in cellular animal science. Fifty-five students signed up, an unusually high number for an optional subject at the university, the VIN News Service reports.

Scientists produce calf with resistance to bovine viral diarrhea virus

Scientists have collaborated to produce what they say is the first gene-edited calf with resistance to bovine viral diarrhea virus, which costs the U.S. cattle sector billions of dollars annually. The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Kentucky, and industry partners Acceligen and Recombinetics produced the calf.

Lawmakers ask for public input on forthcoming farm bill

The House Committee on Agriculture has created an online portal allowing members of the public to give input on the forthcoming farm bill. The current farm bill, passed in 2018, expires September 30. Respondents can offer their opinion on programs they believe are performing well, identify programs they think could be improved and offer additional ideas for consideration. They can also specify the farm bill title they’re most interested in, Feedstuffs reports. Feedback will be accepted through June 9.

British Equine Veterinary Association warns of fatal risk of hay contamination by sycamore

The British Equine Veterinary Association is warning farmers of the danger in cutting hay from pastures contaminated with sycamore seedlings and saplings. “An explosion in the growth of the seedlings this spring is causing a rise in cases of the potentially fatal equine disease atypical myopathy,” according to the association. When horses eat the seedlings, they can develop severe and often fatal muscle damage (atypical myopathy) due to a toxin produced by the seeds called Hypoglycin A.