Livestock Briefs: USDA rejects animal rights group petition
3 counties labeled at high risk for bovine tuberculosis
State officials have designated portions of three northern Michigan counties as "potential high-risk areas" for bovine tuberculosis.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development applied the label to parts of Cheboygan, Iosco and Presque Isle counties.
The move came after four free-ranging whitetail deer were found that tested positive for the fatal illness. The designation requires that all cattle and bison herds located within a 6.2-mile radius of a bovine TB-positive deer be tested within six months.
Officials say the testing ensures the disease has not spread from deer to livestock, protecting Michigan's cattle industry and reassuring the state's trading partners.
The department is contacting affected herd owners to schedule testing.
TOWN OF EMMET
Livestock killed in barn fire
Eight goats were killed in a barn fire in Marathon County Sunday evening.
The Marathon City Fire Department responded to reports of a fire near Valley View Drive in the town of Emmet, according to Fire Chief Mike Tylinksi. The fire started around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Crews were on scene for three hours, he said. The department determined it was an electrical fire.
The barn was a total loss, Tylinksi said. A tractor and a pickup truck also were destroyed in the fire. No people were injured during the fire, he said.
LITTLE ROCK, AR
Hog farm bill poised for passage
The Arkansas House and Senate approved identical bills that would make it harder to perpetuate complaints against farms that need permits to retain then dispose of liquid animal waste.
Under the proposals, third parties wouldn't be able to raise complaints following a comment period if the farm remains in "good standing" with state regulators.
Opponents fear an inability to remedy potential problems and a state senator said it could establish a precedent of regulators ending public input on other matters.
The bill's House sponsor, Rep. Jeff Wardlaw, has routinely prefaced his remarks by saying the proposal didn't pertain to the C&H Hog Farm, which since 2012 has been authorized to hold 6,503 pigs near a tributary of the Buffalo National River.
Environmentalists concerned about potential manure runoff fear a new law might undermine their fight against C&H. State regulators rejected a C&H permit application in January as the farm sought to change from one type of permit to another. The farm continues to operate while it appeals the rejection.
DES MOINES, IA
USDA rejects Mercy for Animals humane bird slaughter request
U.S. Department of Agriculture has rejected a petition from an animal rights group that sought more humane treatment for turkeys and chickens sent to slaughter.
California-based Mercy For Animals filed a petition in November asking the USDA to include poultry in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, a 1958 law that makes it a crime to abuse or neglect pigs and cows during slaughter.
The head of the USDA's Office of Food Safety said in denying the petition that other regulations ensure humane poultry treatment.
Mercy for Animals says it has proof chickens are abused or scalded to death in tanks of hot water and sometimes have legs and wings cut off while still conscious.
SIOUX CITY, IA
Sioux City traces nearly 30 odor complaints to plant
Nearly 30 odor complaints filed in recent months have been traced to a livestock nutrients plant in Sioux City's former stockyards area, city officials said.
City staff confirmed that 17 new odor complaints in the past week have been traced to Kay Dee LLC's processing facility, the Sioux City Journal reported. Kay Dee is an independent manufacturer of mineral and protein supplements.
Kay Dee has released a statement saying harsh winter weather has "caused unexpected problems" at the plant and that they're cooperating with the city to fix the issue. Officials say the plant is expected to produce a plan to mitigate the odors by March 31.