Weekly equine and livestock news: November 21, 2022

Shared needles likely led to swamp fever outbreak in South Carolina horses, state official says

A South Carolina official believes needle sharing may have led to an outbreak of equine infectious anemia, or swamp fever, that has resulted in seven horses being euthanized after the disease was detected in the state for the first time in eight years. Equine infectious anemia can be deadly and is highly contagious. Surviving horses carry the disease until death and can spread it to other horses. The outbreak could threaten South Carolina’s horse racing industry, according to the Carolina News & Reporter. While officials at racetracks, horse shows and rodeos are required by state law to use disposable needles and syringes—one needle, one horse—the seven horses likely contracted the disease through shared needles, said Sean Eastman, a state veterinarian who’s leading an investigation on the outbreak.

California veterinary regulators disagree on how to interpret law for equine practitioners

Two equine veterinary regulatory bodies in California appear to be closer to resolving a dispute that’s lasted more than a year, though practitioners still don’t have a clear answer in the disagreement between the California Horse Racing Board and the California Veterinary Medical Board. The organizations disagree on how to interpret and enforce the California Veterinary Medicine Practice Act, with different views on preventive medicine, the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, recordkeeping requirements and compounding, the AVMA reports. The dispute began in 2021 when the CVMB accused the horse racing board’s equine medical director of violating the practice act by prescribing, dispensing and administering medications to racehorses without establishing a VCPR, performing an examination or forming a diagnosis.

Some British supermarkets limit customers’ egg purchases as bird flu hits supply

Some British supermarkets have started rationing customers’ egg purchases after supplies were disrupted by avian flu, Reuters reports. Britain is facing its largest-ever outbreak of bird flu and is seeing a rapid rise in cases on commercial farms, affecting egg supplies and raising concerns about a shortage of turkeys and chickens before Christmas. Asda, Britain’s third-largest grocer after Tesco and Sainsbury’s, is limiting customers to two boxes of eggs. A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said it was “experiencing some supply challenges with eggs,” adding that the company hadn’t introduced purchase limits but was having to temporarily source some eggs from Italy.

Kroger, Albertson and other retailers join lawsuit against large beef packers

Several retailers and wholesalers including Kroger, Albertson and others have joined a lawsuit accusing large meat processors of beef price-fixing. The companies claim that efforts by the so-called Big 4 beef packers—Tyson, National Beef, Cargill and JBS—to jointly manage their slaughter volume and cattle purchasing practices caused beef prices to rise while pushing cattle prices lower. The retailers’ claims have been added to a case already brought by R-CALF USA and the National Farmers Union, according to Beef Magazine.

Upside Foods’ chicken cell-cultured meat moves a step closer to market after FDA review

The FDA has completed a review as part of Upside Foods’ pre-market consultation before the company begins selling food made from cultured chicken cells. The agency “has no further questions at this time about the firm’s safety conclusion,” according to the announcement. Before the food can enter the market, the facility in which it was made also needs to meet applicable USDA and FDA requirements. The FDA plans to issue guidance for firms that intend to produce human foods from cultured animal cells to prepare for pre-market consultations.

Caustic paste is painful for calves undergoing horn bud removal, expert says

While dehorning or disbudding is standard for most U.S. dairy producers, a pain-free method for the procedure has yet to be developed. In recent years, there’s been a shift toward the use of caustic paste to remove horn buds from calves less than one week old, Sarah Adcock, an assistant professor of animal welfare at the University of Wisconsin, noted on a recent webinar. But even as they adopt this method, producers aren’t adopting pain management with it. They may believe caustic paste is less painful than using a hot iron to remove horn cells, but both methods cause third-degree burns for calves, Adcock noted. She said ways to alleviate pain through pharmaceutical interventions and other methods should be explored. Bovine Veterinarian reports.