Deadly swine disease confirmed in Haiti
Disease experts confirmed a case of African swine fever in Haiti, the second known case in the Western hemisphere in two months and a potential risk to U.S. hog farmers. African swine fever is harmless to humans but has a high mortality rate among hogs; it wiped out nearly half of China's hogs in 2018 and 2019.
North Carolina advocate who successfully fought hog industry dies
Elsie Herring, who died this week, was the public face of the many rural North Carolinians who felt besieged by the proliferation of industrial hog farms. In a region where complaining about these operations was considered both risky and futile, she confronted the industry over its pollution for more than two decades and never let herself appear intimidated. No paywall
The battle to eradicate feral hogs
The most popular way to eradicate wild hogs is to shoot them, whether on gaming ranches, in the wild or from the door of a helicopter. But hunting has done little to stem the estimated 6-9 million hogs running wild across at least 42 states and three territories, as Stephen R. Miller writes in FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with National Geographic.(No paywall)
Smithfield settles suits over North Carolina farms, after losing appeal
Smithfield Foods announced Thursday that it had reached a settlement with plaintiffs who had sued the company over the stench, flies, buzzards, and truck traffic coming from its industrial swine farms in North Carolina. The announcement came immediately after the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, rejected a call from the world’s largest pork producer for a retrial in a lower court case it had lost. (No paywall)
Disease hitting Chinese hogs sure to spread in Asia
The world's leading hog producer, China has culled nearly 40,000 hogs in its attempts to stop African swine fever since the disease, deadly for hogs but no threat to humans, was spotted on its farms last month. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said the disease will almost certainly emerge in other countries in Asia.
Researchers say China can cut soybean imports
Hogs and chickens can be raised successfully on low-protein rations if amino acids are added to their feed at particular stages of their growth, according to research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As a result, China, the world's largest importer of soybeans which is also in a trade war with the United States, could reduce its use of the oilseed by 5-7 percent, said the Xinhua news agency.
Spanish pigs touch down in Georgia, birthing a new ham
For centuries, a coveted type of ham — jamón ibérico de bellota — has been produced from a special breed of pigs in Spain. Now a Georgia farmer is aiming to create an American version of the iconic food, writes Maryn McKenna in FERN’s latest story, produced with Eater. No paywall
Demand for humane practices raise questions for pig industry
Consumers want more humanely raised meat and food companies want to provide it. Now pig producers are promising more humane measures in the way they raise pigs. But just what those measures will be remains a question in an industry still dominated by the sow gestation crate, says the San Francisco Chronicle.
Pig-related infections spread in Denmark, may be in U.S. too
A recent study from Denmark shows that a strain of drug-resistant staph carried by pigs is causing severe illnesses in people who have no contact with pigs or farms. The infections have occurred even though Denmark has some of the most stringent controls on antibiotic use and the study’s …
Smithfield gets into the organ-transplant business
Smithfield Farms, the world’s largest pork producer, is launching a bioscience arm to ramp up company sales of pig parts for medical procedures. The $14-billion subsidiary of China’s WH Group hopes to one day offer pig organs for human transplants.
Pig CAFOs influence timing of human flu seasons, study shows
The enormous numbers of animals concentrated in industrial pig farms are changing the pattern of flu seasons, by providing flu viruses a place to jump between humans and animals and multiply faster than they otherwise would, according to new research from North Carolina — a state that is second only to Iowa in pig production.
North Carolina pork industry: ‘Much less damage’ than in previous storms
In the floods caused by Hurricane Matthew, manure lagoons on North Carolina hog farms "withstood the storm remarkably well," said the North Carolina Pork Council. Fourteen lagoons were flooded and only one lagoon was partially breached — on a farm that has not housed hogs "for more than five years, significantly minimizing the environmental impact."
To reduce antibiotic use, feed your sows some seaweed
Researchers at University College in Dublin, Ireland say that feeding seaweed, a popular ingredient in ancient Chinese medicine, to sows can improve the health of their offspring and reduce the use of antimicrobials, says the Aberdeen (Scotland) Press and Journal.
USDA finds second pig sample with ‘superbug’ gene
Government scientists found the MCR-1 gene, which allows bacteria to overcome the last-resort antibiotics used against disease in humans, in a sample taken from a different pig than the first U.S. discovery, said a CDC official. The initial case, reported on the same day as discovery of a Pennsylvania woman with an infection that carried the MCR-1 gene, raised fears of "superbug" bacteria resistant to a broad array of antimicrobials.
In North Carolina, hog manure is a civil rights issue
A nonprofit law firm and the Center for Civil Rights is using federal civil rights laws in a challenge to the pork industry in North Carolina, says Civil Eats. "This crisis involves the lasting impact of pollution from large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) housing pigs," writes Steve Holt.
Going beyond heart valves in transplant organs from pigs
"Transplanted heart valves routinely come from pigs as well as cows," says the Los Angeles Times, but it's not as simple to use swine organs for people who need kidneys, livers or lungs.
U.S. hog inventory hits a record high
Two years after Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea killed 7 million piglets and drove up pork prices, hog farmers have rebuilt their herds. The quarterly Hogs and Pigs report says there are a record 68.3 million hogs on the farm, "the highest inventory of all hogs and pigs since quarterly U.S. estimates began in 1988."
Virus identified as cause of “dancing pigs”
Researchers at Iowa State University have pinpointed the virus that causes a mysterious trembling in piglets that in severe cases prevents them from nursing and can lead to starvation, said Feedstuffs. The affliction, sometimes called "shaker pigs" or "dancing pigs," dates back more than 90 years and is uncommon. The virus that causes the ailment comes from a family known as pestiviruses. Veterinary researchers used a new type of DNA sequencing to identify the virus causing the involuntary tremors. The next step is to develop a vaccine against the virus. The research team says the virus is not known to infect humans and does not affect the safety of pork from animals with the virus.