Can Dogs Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)? What We Know So Far…

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus

Our furbabies are part of our family, and we worry about them. We wonder if we’re feeding them the right food and giving them enough attention. We’re anxious if we think they’re in pain, and we hope they have a good life. I get it. I feel concern whenever my older pooch seems the least bit out of sorts.

In the midst of all the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, what about our pups? Can dogs get Coronavirus?

In this article:

  • Can Dogs Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
  • What Does This Mean? Can We Pass Coronavirus to Our Dogs?
  • What About Cats…Can They Get COVID-19?
  • What Does Coronavirus Infection Look Like in a Dog?
  • What Can I Do to Protect My Dog From Coronavirus Right Now?
  • Can Our Dogs Pass Coronavirus to Us?
  • Should I Change My Behavior With My Dog Because of COVID-19?
  • What Should I Do Differently With My Dog If I Have Coronavirus?
  • Pet Preparedness Plan in Case of Emergency
  • In the News: Dogs and Coronavirus Across the Globe
  • Stay Tuned…

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

According to the CDC and USDA, pets seem to be unlikely to get the disease or pass it on. But that’s not 100% certain…
Can Dogs Get Coronavirus
  • Health officials in Georgia announced on July 1 that another dog tested positive for the virus. After the owners had positive test results, the pets underwent testing as a precaution. The six-year-old mixed breed had no respiratory signs but was euthanized after developing neurologic symptoms. Necropsy results indicated the animal had a brain tumor. There was a second pup in the household that tested negative.
  • On June 2, the NVSL announced the first confirmed positive dog in the United States. After the owner contracted the Coronavirus, a German Shepherd in the household developed signs of a respiratory infection. The USDA collected samples and confirmed presence of the virus. A second pooch in the household also had antibodies to COVID-19 but is asymptomatic. The infected pup is expected to recover fully.
  • On May 14scientists released results of genetic sequencing of the virus isolates from the Pomeranian and German Shepherd. The samples matched those found in their infected owners providing evidence that dogs can get the virus from their humans. There was no indication that pooches can infect other canines or their masters. However, further study is warranted. In addition, the researchers confirmed that these two pooches had an antibody response. This finding tells us the animals were infected with the virus and not just carriers. There was no indication that pooches can infect other canines or their masters. However, further study is warranted.
  • On April 28, 2020, reports surfaced that a Pug in Chapel Hill, NC tested positive for Coronavirus. This pooch lives in a household with another dog and cat that had negative test results. It’s the first canine to show mild symptoms of the disease. In his human family, 3 out of 4 members also were positive for the virus. According to Annie Harvilicz, a veterinarian and chief medical officer for Animal Wellness Centers hospitals,“It’s possible that being a pug made him more susceptible to the virus.” This breed has a short nose and a tendency towards contracting upper respiratory tract infections. NOTE: further testing by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL), a branch of the USDA, could not verify an infection in this pup. Lyndsay Cole, an agency representative, suggests the original weak positive result, “ may be the result of contamination from the COVID-19 positive household.”
  • There have been two pooches in Hong Kong that showed positive results: The first pup had a very weakly positive result for COVID-19. After the owner contracted the disease, officials tested the Pomeranian, which was asymptomatic. Low levels of virus were detected on swabs from the animal’s nasal passages and mouth.  However, follow-up serology was negative for blood antibody levels. It is possible that the dog picked up the organisms by breathing the owner’s infected respiratory droplets.
  • More recently, a German Shepherd in the Pok Fu Lam area of Hong Kong tested positive. This pooch and another mixed-breed from the same household were placed under quarantine after their owner contracted the novel coronavirus. Results from the canines came back on March 19. The mutt was negative, and neither animal was showing any symptoms of illness.
  • There are conflicting reports that either a third dog or a cat have tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong as of March 30, 2020. Both sources report the pet was screened because its owner has the virus, but the animal is asymptomatic.

What Does This Mean? Can We Pass Coronavirus To Our Dogs?

While it’s pretty unlikely that we can pass the virus to our pups, that one positive result leaves some doubt. So what do we need to know about the virus?
 
According to The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), “There is no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of this human disease or that they become sick.” While the dog may have picked up the virus from its infected owner, pet owners that contract COVID-19 shouldn’t abandon their furbabies or panic unnecessarily.
 
As for the tests, Dr. John Howe, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, explains that the tests used on the dogs in Hong Kong were strong enough to detect the presence of a part of a virus on the animals and do not necessarily indicate the pups had an infection.
 

What About Cats…Can They Get COVID-19?

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus
 
In addition to dogs, it appears cats may be able to pick up the virus. A cat in Liège, Belgium showed symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing a week after the owner contracted the virus. The cat tested positive for COVID-19. Veterinary officials continue to believe that the disease can not be spread from pets to their humans. However, there are questions as to whether we should be testing furbabies if their owners become infected.
 
On April 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 2 cats in New York state tested positive for COVID-19. One cat lives with a COVID-19 positive owner, and the other cat had been allowed to go outdoors. Both showed signs of mild respiratory illness suggestive of the virus. They are both expected to recover.
 
On April 5, 2020, a Tiger in the Bronx, NY zoo also tested positive after she and six other large cats developed coughs and other symptoms of COVID-19. All of the felines are expected to recover. On April 22, the zoo released news that follow-up testing revealed a total of 5 tigers and 3 lions were positive for the virus. They believe the animals contracted the disease from an infected zookeeper.
 

What Does Coronavirus Infection Look Like In A Dog?

COVID-19 is a novel form of a class of viruses called Coronaviruses. Even though this new micro-organism doesn’t appear to affect dogs, a few of the other varieties of this microbe can.

 

Canine Coronavirus

Enteric Canine Coronavirus (CCoV) is an infectious disease that affects the digestive system in dogs. Pups pick up the infection when they eat infected feces or come in direct contact with sick animals. Signs of illness can be mild but may include:
 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sudden onset of diarrhea/loose stools that have a fetid odor
  •  Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite

Symptoms show up 1-4 days after ingesting the virus and they usually last 2-10 days unless there’s a secondary infection.

 

Canine Respiratory Coronavirus

Canine Respiratory Coronavirus (CRCoV) is similar to kennel cough in pooches or the common cold that people can get. This form of coronavirus is very contagious for dogs. It’s transmitted by direct contact with sick animals, aerosol droplets, and contact with contaminated surfaces. Infections can range from subclinical carriers to severe disease. Symptoms may include:
 
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Pneumonia – usually due to co-infection with other pathogens

Incubation for CRCoV is thought to be a few days, and signs can last 1-2 weeks.

 

 What Can I Do To Protect My Dog From Coronavirus Right Now?

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus

Again, just in case we learn that dogs can get this novel coronavirus, be proactive. Take similar measures for Fido as yourself. If you’re in a community that has active infections:
 
  • Avoid taking your pooch to gatherings with large crowds
  • Keep your furbaby away from any infected individuals
  • Practice good hygiene at home (more below)
  • Have a pet preparedness plan in place (more below)

CDC Guidelines For Pet Owners

On April 27, the CDC updated guidelines for pet owners on. The change was due to positive test results in two domestic cats in New York and eight large cats in the Bronx Zoo. Although Dr. Sandra Newbury, director of the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin believes that it’s probably much harder for a dog to become infected than a cat, she affirms that following these procedures, “during this time is the best way to keep your pets safe.” The CDC recommends:
 
  • Keeping cats indoors
  • Including your pooch in your family’s 6 foot social distancing bubble
  • Walking your furbaby on a leash
  • Avoiding dog parks and other places where groups of people gather
  • Avoid snuggling, sharing bedding, petting, sharing food, and being licked by your pal
  • Arrange for another family member to care for your pup if you become ill
  • If you have no one else to help with your pets when you’re sick, wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after interacting with them.

The FDA Recommends Social Distancing For Pets

On April 30, the FDA released a fact sheet with recommendations for pets during the pandemic. The guidelines include:
 
  • Keeping cats indoors
  • Walking your dog on a leash and including him in your 6 foot social distance bubble from other dogs and people
  • Avoiding dog parks

There is not a call for testing of pets at this time. However, if your furry friend shows symptoms, the FDA recommends that you contact your veterinarian to discuss your next steps.

 

Can Our Dogs Pass Coronavirus To Us?

You may be wondering if it’s possible for dogs to bring the virus to us. The available evidence suggests that the novel virus started from an animal source, possibly bats. However, since its inception, it has spread by human to human transmission.
OIE stresses that there is currently no evidence that pets act as a vector to spread the disease. That’s good news because it means there’s no need to take drastic actions that could endanger your four-footed pal.

In addition to this, Dr. Howe told Marketwatch, “At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States.”

However, you may still be asking:

 

Can Dogs Carry The Virus On Their Fur?

study published on March 17 revealed that COVID-19 can survive on surfaces like plastic, cardboard, and metal for hours to days. What about dog fur? Maybe. We just don’t know yet. Fortunately, pet hair is porous and more likely to trap the pathogen than spread it.

 

Is It Safe To Pet My Dog/How Can I Pet My Dog During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

If you’re not infected with the virus, the AVMA advises that you don’t need to change the way you interact with your pup. As for other owner’s dogs…if they appear healthy, don’t sweat petting their pooch. Just make sure you keep a distance with Fido’s human. In all cases, practice good hygiene by washing your hands after contact.

 

No Need To Panic

OIE stresses that there is currently no evidence that pets act as a vector to spread the disease. That’s good news because it means there’s no need to take drastic actions that could endanger your four-footed pal.
Dr. Evan Antin offers an excellent explanation of COVID-19 and dogs. He affirms that our greatest risk of getting the virus is not from our furry friends but from people.
 

Should I Change My Behavior With My Dog Because Of COVID-19?

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus

If you’re already practicing good hygiene with your pooch, you may not need to change your behavior. Remember, even though it’s unlikely you could get this novel virus from your dog, there are other diseases that pass between canines and humans. Your routine should include:
 
  • Wash Fido’s bedding regularly
  • Wash your hands after feeding, playing with, or cleaning up after your pooch
  • Store dry foods in an airtight container and refrigerate wet foods
  • Wash food and water bowls regularly
  • Wash toys and replace them when they become damaged
  • Keep outdoor areas clean by picking up feces frequently

 

How Will Social Distancing Affect My Dog’s Behavior?

Some owners are reporting behavioral changes in their pups during the shelter-in-place orders. If you usually leave the house during the day to go to work, your constant presence may impact your pooch. The adjustments will depend on your pooch’s personality. Possible actions include:

  • Hyperactivity or agitation
  • Fearfulness
  • Becoming clingy

If Fido is having trouble adjusting to the “new normal” try to give him some space and alone time unless he wants to stay by your side.

 


What Should I Do Differently With My Dog If I Have Coronavirus?

Because we can’t be 100% certain that you can’t pass the virus to your furry friend, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
 
  • If possible, plan for someone else to care for your special pal while you’re recovering.
  • If you have no one to take your furbaby, wash hands before and after contact with Fido, and wear a facemask to keep your droplets to yourself.
  • Avoid direct contact with pets – sadly that means no petting, snuggles, kisses, or sharing of food.
  •  Have a pet preparedness plan in place (see below).

 

Is It Okay To Take My Dog For Walks?

As long as you’re not infected or under self-quarantine out of caution, walks are good for both of you. Fresh air and exercise help boost our immunity and mental health. Remember to keep a safe distance from other people and dogs to avoid any risk of transmission.
Remember to keep a safe distance from other people and dogs to avoid any risk of transmission. Dr. Howe recommends that you include your canine companion in the recommended 6-foot social distancing bubble.

 

Is It Okay To Let My Dog Socialize With Other Dogs?

According to the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, there’s currently no evidence that dogs can become infected with the virus. That being said, the Pomeranian from China that had a positive test result died of unknown causes on March 16. Even though it’s unlikely that COVID-19 caused the pooch’s death, practice caution. It’s best to minimize contact with other pups and avoid large groups of dogs just in case.

 

Should I Put A Mask Or Booties On My Dog?

You’ve probably seen pictures of dogs wearing pet masks or booties, but it’s not necessary. From what we can observe, the virus passes between people by their respiratory droplets. There are better things to spend your money on than a facial covering for Fido that will probably make him nervous and uncomfortable.

 

Do I Need To Have My Dog Tested?

The CDC does not recommend testing of pets. However, due to public demand, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. in Maine announced on April 20 that it would make a pet test for COVID-19 available to veterinarians. The roll out will start in North America and eventually spread to the world. Based on guidelines, animals eligible for testing must meet the following criteria:

  • The attending veterinarian has consulted with a public health official
  • The pet lives be in a home with a COVID-19 infected or positive patient
  • The animal has already tested negative for common rule-out diseases
  • The pet must have clinical signs of COVID-19

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus

What If My Dog Gets Sick While I’m In Quarantine?

If you’re not infected but following stay-at-home orders and Fido gets sick, call your veterinarian (some clinics are turning to virtual healthcare to make it easier for dog parents). If your pal’s doctor advises you to bring him in, follow their procedures. In our town, clinics are still open but taking extra precautions. Office workers are meeting people at cars and taking Fido into the buildings while owner waits in parking lot.

 

Will I Need To Quarantine My Dog?

If you become infected, the best practice would be to distance yourself from your dog to make sure you won’t pass anything on to him. Under these circumstances, your pooch will probably not need to be quarantined.
In the unlikely event that your pup becomes infected with COVID-19, quarantine is advised. Shelley Rankin, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia recommends treating infected animals like their human counterparts. Dogs showing signs of illness should be isolated at a veterinary hospital for treatment. For pups that test positive but show no symptoms:
 
  • Keep them at home in a separate room from other animals and people
  • Wash hands before and after handling or feeding them
  • Consider wearing a facemask when you enter their room.

 


Pet Preparedness Plan In Case Of Emergency

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus
Like having supplies and the know-how for basic first aid for pets, owners should have a preparedness plan in place to deal with emergencies such as becoming infected with Coronavirus. Details of your plan to provide proper care for furbaby in extreme circumstances should include:
 
  • Have a first-aid kit for dogs stocked and ready for emergencies and review basic first aid for pets regularly
  • Have an adequate supply of food, medicines, and other products that you need to care for your pooch.
  • Line up a trusted friend or family member who can look after your furbaby if you’re incapacitated.
  • Have food, other supplies, and crates on hand in case you need to move your pup quickly.
  • Keep your special pal up-to-date on all vaccinations required by your boarding facility.
  • Prepare a document detailing all medications, dosing instructions, and prescription information.
  • Make sure your pet has current identification including an ID tag for the collar and a microchip.

 


In The News: Dogs And Coronavirus Across The Globe

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus

Puppies Sold To Testing Labs

In France, officials enacted a decree that allows dog breeders to sell excess stock to testing laboratories. The animal rights organization, France’s One Voice is circulating a petition to renounce the action. It also filed a complaint with the French high court in hopes of reversing the order.

 

Report From Market Data Analytics

In May, Market Data Analytics released an analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the global anthelmintic market for 2020. The report profiles major market players and covers data from 2015-2019 then forecasts performance from 2020-2026.

 

Cairo Clinic Launches Internet Campaign Against Abandoning Pets

Out of concern for growing numbers of abandoned dogs and cats, a clinic in Cairo, Egypt is taking action. Corolos Majdi and other veterinarians decided to snap pup shots and pictures of kitties bearing signs that tell people they don’t transmit the coronavirus and are safe to keep. You can watch for the pictures on social media outlets.

 

Pups May Join Frontlines In Battle Against Coronavirus

Durham University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are working with the charity Medical Detection Dogs to see if trained pooches can detect COVID-19. Some pooches from this charitable organization already help to detect cancer, malaria, and Parkinson’s disease in patients. If trials prove successful, pups could help identify potential carriers of the virus in public spaces and airports.

Initial trials will involve 6 dogs to see if they can detect the virus on facemasks of COVID-19 infected patients. The CEO of Medical Detection Dogs indicates that he believes trained pups could screen up to 750 people per hour. After Canines single out potentially infected people, those individuals would undergo testing.

 

New Zealand Includes Canines In Social Distancing

In an effort to mitigate the risk of passing coronavirus through the vector of pet hair, New Zealand is requiring pets to stay in the “family bubble”. Owners can still walk their pooches, but they need to prevent contact with anyone outside of the household. 

 

Fallout In China

Early misinformation about the role pets played in spreading the novel coronavirus led some dog owners in China to abandon or euthanize their furry friends. In some cities, volunteer-based shelters are overwhelmed with new animals, and stray pets roam the streets.
In response, OIE, CDC, and other health organizations have been stressing that there’s no reason to suspect companion animals can spread the disease. Still, many dog owners in the nation are investing in pet masks to protect their canines from the virus.

 

Canine Quarantine In Italy?

As the nation of Italy locks down on Coronavirus, people wonder if the restrictions apply to their pups. The government’s mandate to restrict all unnecessary movements leaves some people asking if they can take their furbaby for a walk. According to Italian civil protection chief, Angelo Borrelli, “Surely, taking your dog out to do his business is a valid motivation.”

 

Canine Coronavirus In Australia

Unrelated to the pandemic, Authorities in Australia are dealing with an outbreak of CCoV in the greyhound industry. To help prevent further spread, the following sighthounds will be placed in isolation:
  • Any new animals entering the country
  • Any greyhounds showing signs of disease
  • Any greyhounds that contact infected animals

 


Stay Tuned…

The information above is based on what we currently understand about COVID-19 and our dogs. We’ll update the article if new details regarding the virus come to light. 

Can Dogs Get Coronavirus

Dr. Libby Guise
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

Source: Fluent Woof

Montego makes impressive strides in carbon footprint reduction

Montego

Johannesburg, 22 July 2020 – Montego Pet Nutrition (Montego) has reported a 300-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions in 2020 to date after utilising solar energy as a renewable energy source at its Graaff-Reinet based production facility.

According to Wilfred Cawood, Marketing Manager at Montego Pet Nutrition, this reduction is equivalent of planting approximately 9,000 trees to offset carbon emissions.

“As part of our mission of being South Africa’s best pet food manufacturer, Montego is committed to becoming a low-carbon company and sustaining the environment,” says Cawood. “We take our responsibility of establishing renewable energy sources in our business seriously, particularly as this relates to the local context and the challenging state of SA’s utility infrastructure.”

Investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency

Montego’s headway in energy efficiency follows a R22 million investment the company made toward a dedicated solar energy plant last year. The proudly local company completed work on the 843 kWp solar panel system, spanning 4,580 square metres of rooftop space in May 2019.

The nine-month project followed closely on the heels of a R70 million factory upgrade that was implemented in 2018 to meet local and international demand of its premium quality pet food, which boosted overall production by 30%.

“The boost in production and demand for Montego’s pet food and treats meant that a move to renewable energy sources was crucial for us. Not only do we believe it to be our responsibility to sustaining the environment, but solar energy also presented attractive cost efficiencies from a business standpoint,” adds Cawood.

Driving SA’s economic recovery post-pandemic

The move to clean energy sources is a growing priority in South Africa, particularly in the face of the country’s costly dependency on coal. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the damaging impact this has had on South Africa’s economy, a report released by South African National Energy Association (SANEA) also asserts that clean energy could also help drive the country economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Solar energy presents a viable solution to the growing energy demand and strain on South Africa power grid,” says Cawood. “South African businesses have a role to play in facilitating and innovating clean energy solutions, and developing the necessary infrastructure within communities.”

Source: Montego

Your 1-year-old dog isn’t 7 human years old, contrary to the traditional math.

Dog's age

An 8-week-old golden labrador husky mix sleeps on a cushion l Angela Auclair/Getty

Dogs live an average of 12 years. Life expectancy in humans, by contrast, is at least five times that.

That discrepancy is in part the basis for the common rule of thumb that one “dog year” is the equivalent of seven “human years.”

But according to a new study published in the journal Cell, that one-to-seven ratio is wrong. That’s because new genetic evidence shows puppies and younger dogs age faster than their older counterparts do.

That means you’ve probably been estimating your dog’s human age equivalent incorrectly.

A 6-year-old dog would be the human equivalent of about 60 years old, the researchers found.

“I like to take my dogs on runs, and so I’m a little bit more sympathetic to the 6-year-old now,” Trey Ideker, a co-author of the new study, said in a press release. “What’s surprising is exactly how old that 1-year-old dog is – it’s like a 30-year-old human.”

An 8-week-old puppy is the equivalent of a 9-month-old baby.

To come up with a better formula for comparing human and dog ages, Ideker’s team looked at chemical markers in the DNA of 104 labradors ranging from just weeks old to 16 years old.

Although an animal’s DNA does not change during its lifetime, these chemical markers – called methyl groups – do. As years pass, methyl groups accumulate in the DNA, causing certain genes to turn on and off. After tracking how these groups accumulate in different parts of labrador genomes over time, the researchers compared that accumulation rate to the same methyl group changes in humans.

Ideker’s team found that in dogs’ first year of life, the animals accumulate more methyl groups than humans do. So an 8-week-old puppy is equivalent to a 9-month-old baby.

Then as years pass, that accumulation rate slows down in dogs to better match humans’ accumulation rates – suggesting older dogs age more slowly once they get older.

Ultimately, one dog year isn’t equal to seven human years. In fact, in order to calculate your dog’s human age equivalent, you’ll need a calculator.

The researchers formula is: A dog’s human age = 16 ln * your dog’s age + 31. (The ln in this formula refers to the natural log of a number.)

Essentially, for each year older a dog gets, the corresponding increase in “human years” gets smaller and smaller.

So based on that formula, a 6-year-old lab is 60 human years old. But a 12-year-old lab is 70 human years old.

“If we think about aging in terms of how old our cells are, this new paper is really useful in matching up human and dog years,” Lucy Asher, an animal behaviour expert who was not affiliated with the study, told The Guardian.

Going forward, Ideker wants to replicate the study in other dog breeds that have different average lifespans.

It’s challenging to equate human and dog aging

The new research found that methyl groups accumulated on some of the same genes in dogs and people as the two species aged. This makes sense, according to the study authors, given that dogs share the same living environment as their owners and receive almost the same standard of healthcare.

But even so, age matching doesn’t apply to the two species’ hormones and behaviours.

“Whilst a 30-year-old human might have cells of an analogous ‘age’ to a 1-year-old dog, many dogs won’t be fully grown at this time and they will still have unsettled hormones and behaviour associated with puberty,” Asher told The Guardian.

So there’s a reason your 1-year-old canine won’t act his human age, and instead prefers to chase sticks and squirrels with child-like abandon.

“The development of dogs is not just a shortened version of the human development, which is why it’s difficult to find a clear match-up between a dog’s age and a human’s age,” Asher added

By: Aylin Woodward
Source: Business Insider US

 

Response to the Red Meat Producers Organisation Regarding Live Export by Sea

NSPCA Live Export

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) is amazed by the statement made by the Red Meat Producers Organisation (RPO) regarding their sudden change in position when it comes to live animal export by sea.

In a statement issued on 21 July 2020 by the RPO, it has extended its support of the trade as long as it is ethically undertaken – ethics and live export go together like chalk and cheese. Live animal export by sea is a trade that is inherently unethical given the undeniable and unavoidable animal suffering that takes place on board these ships.

The RPO have referred to the application of OIE standards and that the government, as the “regulatory authority” should oversee these – but these standards were created for countries around the globe, many of which do not have any animal welfare legislation, these standards simply do not belong in a country like South Africa where animals are constitutionally recognised as sentient beings and there is strong animal protection legislation – legislation that supersedes standards in any event. Furthermore, in our opinion, the government is not capable of enforcing the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962, nor would they be impartial.

It is surprising that the RPO have suddenly gone against the decision made by them, and other members of the Livestock Welfare Coordinating Committee (LWCC). In 2012, and later revised in 2019, the LWCC, which the RPO is an active member of, adopted the position to oppose the live animal export by sea – the RPO have now changed their position and have done so on the basis of biased documentation provided by Al Mawashi and KLTT, the Kuwaiti export company, that obviously have high stakes in this operation.

We find it ludicrous that two veterinarians of the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF), who inspected the feedlot and an empty ship, can come to the conclusion that sheep should be loaded “as soon as possible”, especially in light of the fact that August is the hottest month in the year in the Middle East – suffering on these ships is exacerbated during the Northern Hemisphere summers.

The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) issued a press statement reiterating its concern for the welfare of animals, stating that the South African government “could not provide the necessary safety conditions for the animals on sea-vessels”. The MJCHT do not justify the suffering of animals for religious slaughter, in fact, they have stated that animals that are not transported in good physical condition cannot be considered Halaal for slaughter and have agreed that animals should rather be Halaal slaughtered in South Africa.

Read MJCHT’s statement here.

The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) recognises animals as sentient beings that are capable of experiencing both positive and negative states, SAVA therefore does not support live export of animal by sea for the purposes of slaughter upon arrival when humane alternatives are available. This is in line with veterinary bodies around the world.

The RPO and Agri SA, in our opinion, are regressive while others are becoming more informed – it is apparent, in our opinion, that the RPO and Agri SA are disregarding the cruelty entrenched in this business for profit margins, they are simply apathetic to the welfare of these animals and they should be judged in the court of public opinion. Let the campaign begin.

The NSPCA is opposed to the live export of animals by sea. 

FAQ

Q: Why did the NSPCA not attend the inspection of the empty vessel?

A: The NSPCA has already been on board this vessel when there were animals already on it – this is a better indicator of welfare concerns than an empty vessel will ever be able to reveal. Furthermore, there are reports historically of disasters that have happened on this specific vessel and the countless animal welfare concerns are documented.

The NSPCA’s legal representatives requested that Al Mawashi and KLTT show the NSPCA the improvements that have been made prior to the inspection – this was not provided.

Source: National Council of SPCA’s

Over 350 elephants have mysteriously died

What is killing the elephants? Is it a novel pathogen or a poison?

Over 350 elephants have mysteriously died

This image provided on July 3, 2020, courtesy of the National Park Rescue charity shows the carcass of one of the many elephants which have died mysteriously in the Okavango Delta in Botswana.This image provided on July 3, 2020, courtesy of the National Park Rescue charity shows the carcass of one of the many elephants which have died mysteriously in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. AFP Photo/National Park Rescue

More than 350 elephants have mysteriously died in northern Botswana over the past two months, which scientists describe as a “conservation disaster.” Botswanans view the loss as a blow to the national tourism economy and in many places, a loss to the community.

“It’s the biggest thing that’s happened to elephants in a very, very long time,” Dr Niall McCann, co-founder of UK-based charity National Park Rescue, told ABC News. “Outside of droughts in the 1970s I don’t know of a die-off that has been this significant.”

The government of Botswana is investigating. “To date we have verified 275 carcasses of the 356 that have been reported so far in the area north of the Okavango Delta,” said Dr. Mmadi Reuben, the head veterinarian of the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks. The killer could be a natural pathogen, or poison, Dr. Rubean told ABC News, but, “Poaching has been ruled out as the carcasses were found intact.”

“Anthrax has also been ruled out by the lab in the country,” he said, when contacted by phone by ABC News.

“We do step-by-step elimination of potential causes of mortality,” he explained. “So far, we have not been able to rule out poisoning or some infectious disease. The diagnostic plan includes testing for known potential causes as well as novel pathogens.”

“Three laboratories in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Canada have been identified to process the samples taken from the dead elephants,” the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism said in a written statement on Thursday.

“Samples from the carcasses, environmental samples from soil and water as well as samples from the live animals have been sent to the regional laboratories and abroad,” explained Reuben. “We are awaiting results and continuing the dialogue.”

But he said, there may be clues. “Some of the elephants have profound weakness of their back legs, suggesting the potential for toxins affecting [central nervous system] function of the animal.”

Most carcasses have been found clustered around water sources close to the Okavango Delta, in normal times, a major tourist safari destination. The conditions of the bodies suggest elephants have been dying for some time as many remains are far more deteriorated than others, a local conservationist told ABC News.

Government teams are on the ground, dealing with the carcasses and Reuben noted, they are “removing the tusks of all dead animals, to prevent the illegal harvesting of the ivory.”

The investigation team, equipped with complete PPE, he said, continues to treat the disease with necessary precautions as it’s not clear if it could transmitted to humans. The government has also issued a warning to the local community to stay away from the carcasses.

Over 350 elephants have mysteriously died

This image provided on July 3, 2020, courtesy of the National Park Rescue charity shows the carcass of one of the many elephants which have died mysteriously in the Okavango Delta in Botswana.This image provided on July 3, 2020, courtesy of the National Park Rescue charity shows the carcass of one of the many elephants which have died mysteriously in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. AFP Photo/National Park Rescue

There could be a chance that the elephants could be dying of an unknown disease,” McCann said. “So, the possibility of the pathogen jump[ing] into humans is also impossible to rule out at this point.” “Yes, it is a conservation disaster,” he said, “but it also has the potential to be a public health crisis.”

Botswana is home to the world’s largest elephant population, with more than a third of Africa’s elephants, according to the latest Great Elephant Census, which Rubean’s colleagues at the Department for Wildlife and Natural Parks helped produce. It is also one of the most stable countries in Africa with one of the best wildlife records. Tourism accounts for a fifth of Botswana’s GDP.

For all those reasons, “We are really putting all the efforts to really get to the bottom of this,” Rubean said. “It is a very worrisome situation, the single most perplexing scenario of elephant mortality I have experienced in my career.”

Source: abc NEWS