Weekly livestock and equine news: May 22, 2023

Brazil, world’s top chicken exporter, detects first-ever avian influenza cases in wild birds

Brazil, the world’s top chicken exporter, has for the first time confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza, though only in wild birds. Two cases were detected in wild birds and should not trigger a ban on imports of Brazil’s poultry products as per guidelines from the World Organization for Animal Health, Brazil’s government said. The government confirmed the detection of the H5N1 subtype in two marine birds on the coast of Brazil’s southeastern state of Espirito Santo. The state is Brazil’s third-largest egg-producing state, according to the meat lobby ABPA. It doesn’t export eggs but sells them in the domestic market. Brazil’s main poultry-producing states are in the far south and center-west, Reuters reports.

France reports new bird flu outbreaks on duck farms after a lull in cases, plans vaccination program for autumn

A new wave of bird flu outbreaks on duck farms in southwestern France has prompted officials to reinforce sanitary measures after a recent lull, Reuters reports. Since May 4, 21 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been detected in the region, mostly among ducks, the agriculture ministry said. Until recent weeks, France hadn’t recorded an outbreak since March 14. The new cases underscore the need to vaccinate flocks against the virus, the ministry said. France has ordered 80 million vaccine doses with plans to start a program in the autumn. In the United States, officials are planning a vaccination campaign of critically endangered California condors after more than a dozen recently died from the H5N1 strain, The Associated Press reports.

Supreme Court’s Proposition 12 decision could lead other states to enact similar laws, experts say

The Supreme Court’s decision on California’s Proposition 12 could prompt other states to enact their own state-specific requirements, according to a brief published on the legal news site JD Supra. The court’s decision means California can ban the sale of pork from farms that confine pregnant pigs in gestation crates, no matter the state they’re in. The post on JD Supra from the law firm Hogan Lovells urged food companies to assess how the trend will impact their operations. At least nine states have proposed measures that ban or restrict gestation crates for pregnant pigs. A Massachusetts law similar to Proposition 12 is awaiting trial in a U.S. District Court, Food Dive reports.

Pork industry says Proposition 12 will saddle the industry—and consumers—with higher costs

Hog producers say California’s Proposition 12, recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, will be burdensome on their operations. According to Iowa hog producer Dwight Mogler, adding facility space to comply with California’s law (which applies to all meat sold in the state) will cost between $10 and $20 per pig produced. A University of Minnesota study estimated the cost of facility conversion at $1.9 billion to $3.2 billion industrywide. Industry members say the increased costs will ultimately drive up prices for consumers. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley plans to try to use the upcoming farm bill as an opportunity to prevent states from passing laws like California’s. Successful Farming reports.

U.S. could lose $231 billion over 10 years in an outbreak of African swine fever and foot and mouth disease

An outbreak of African swine fever and foot and mouth disease could cost the United States as much as $231 billion over 10 years, according to an Iowa State University economist. The minimum cost would be $79.5 billion for ASF alone, said the economist, Dermot Hayes. Losses would average between $7.5 billion per year for ASF and $23.1 billion per year for ASF and FMD, Hayes said. Limited trade would lead to a U.S. retail market flooded with pork, meaning a 50% to 60% drop in pork prices, according to a report Hayes co-authored. Feedstuffs reports.

Livestock industry hopes artificial intelligence helps improve animal health

Scientists hope artificial intelligence can help the livestock industry improve animal health and efficiency, increasing sustainability in the process. With AI, “we can transform agriculture to be a more predictive enterprise or industry rather than just reacting to climate change,” said Dr. Sigfredo Fuentes, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne. Building on existing remote sensing technology, Fuentes and his team have developed algorithms that use noninvasive cameras and machine learning to help farmers identify animals and monitor biometrics, with the goal of enabling smarter decision-making, early disease detection and better herd welfare, Modern Farmer reports.

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