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Published April 28, 2014, 11:11 AM

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USDA will require PEDv reporting, Obama signs security pledge with Japan but no trade deal and Minn. woman was arrested for starving horses.

By: Agweek Staff and Wire Reports, Agweek

USDA will require reporting of PEDv

• In an expected move, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on April 18 announced new measures to combat the spread of disease in the U.S. pig population. The agency said it would require reporting of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has killed millions of piglets in the past year, and the Swine Delta Coronavirus. USDA will also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles and other equipment leaving affected premises. Movements of pigs will still be allowed. “USDA has been working closely with the pork industry and our state and federal partners to solve this problem. Together, we have established testing protocols, sequenced the virus and are investigating how the virus is transmitted,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Today’s actions will help identify gaps in biosecurity and help us as we work together to stop the spread of these diseases and the damage caused to producers, industry and ultimately consumers.” PEDv has killed more than 4 million piglets since first being identified in the U.S. a year ago. More than 4,000 outbreaks have been seen in at least 30 U.S. states, as well as Canada. The virus causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration and is transmitted orally and through pig feces. While older pigs have a better chance of survival, the virus kills 80 to 100 percent of piglets that contract it. Major meat producer Tyson Foods says the epidemic could lower U.S. pork production by 2 to 4 percent. Last month, Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor, suspended one day’s kill at a North Carolina slaughterhouse because of a tight supply of hogs attributed to the spread of PEDv. USDA says it continues to work with the pork industry and state and federal partners to develop responses to the PEDv and Swine Delta Coronavirus. PEDv poses no risk to human health.

Obama wraps up Japan visit with security pledge but no trade deal

• U.S. President Barack Obama wrapped up a state visit to Japan on April 25 during which he assured America’s ally that Washington would come to its defense, but failed to clinch a trade deal key to both his “pivot” to Asia and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic reforms. Obama and Abe had ordered their top aides to make a final push to reach a trade agreement after the leaders met on April 24, but Economy Minister Akira says gaps remain despite recent progress. The two sides say they are committed to taking “bold steps” to reach a two-way deal, which would inject momentum into a delayed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. A senior U.S. trade official says the two sides had achieved a breakthrough on market access, but provided few details. The TPP is high on Abe’s economic reform agenda and central to Obama’s policy of expanding the U.S. presence in Asia.

Minn. woman arrested in starving horses case

• PARK RAPIDS, Minn. — A suspect has been arrested in connection with a gut-wrenching case of animal abuse after finding two horses that starved to death tied to trees in Minnesota. Minden Crenshaw, 28, of Park Rapids was arrested at her residence and appeared in court on April 21 on felony charges of animal neglect, according the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office. Crenshaw admitted to owning the horses and tying them to a tree on a neighbor’s property when her mother refused to let her have the horses at home. When Crenshaw moved out of her mother’s house in early April, she admittedly stopped taking care of the animals. The investigation revealed that there was no shelter for the horses for the past three months and that the horses had not been fed or watered since approximately the first of April. The horses were discovered by resident Virgil Johnson as he hiked through the woods. He immediately reported the incident to authorities and the Headwaters Animal Shelter. Johnson lives in the vicinity of where the horses were tied and abandoned. “I just can’t understand cruelty like this,” he says. One horse managed to break its leash, but the other simply dropped in place as it was shackled to a tree in a heavily wooded area. The two had obviously been left there for part or most of the winter.

Minn. woman charged with animal neglect appears in court

• WORTHINGTON, Minn. — A Worthington, Minn., woman facing 11 felony counts of animal neglect resulting in death and nine misdemeanor charges of mistreatment of animals appeared April 22 in Nobles County District Court. Joan Mary Moore was summoned to court after Nobles County deputies investigated a report of remains of 15 horses on her property in Reading. If convicted, Moore faces penalties of two years in jail and a $5,000 fine for each criminal count. The criminal complaint alleges the deaths of the horses occurred between November and December 2013, and that the horses were in various stages of decay when discovered by deputies. During court on April 22, prosecuting attorney Kimberly Pehrson stated the defendant had been compliant with the state and the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office. Moore may remain released on her own recognizance, as long as she abides by the standard release conditions. Moore will make her next court appearance May 6.

Farm groups comment on beef import proposal

• The comment period is now closed on a U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposal to allow fresh beef imports from 14 Brazilian states. The agency will begin wading through more than 800 comments submitted since the rule was proposed in December. Some organizations, such as the American Meat Institute and the American Farm Bureau, support the measure, but others, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Farmers Union, oppose it. Those opposing do so mainly on the grounds that the risk of bringing foot and mouth disease (FMD) into the U.S. would be too great. “(Montana Farmers Union) opposed the proposal … because of concerns regarding a history of unresolved FMD, which could pose a threat to U.S. livestock herds and consequently to family farmers and ranchers across Montana,” MFU says. “It is also important to note that the U.S. has not had a confirmed case of FMD since 1929,” says MFU president Alan Merrill. The South Dakota Farmers Union also submitted comments in opposition of the proposal. “Our first priority needs to be to U.S. cattle producers and the U.S. consumer. If importation is resumed, consumers may fear the safety of their beef supply. History has shown the damage that even rumors of a contaminated beef supply has on U.S. cattle producers,” says SDFU president Doug Sombke. “American consumers can depend upon U.S. producers for a safe food supply. We cannot jeopardize this trust by importing beef from countries that have a history of unresolved foot and mouth disease. The economic costs of an FMD outbreak in the United States would be tremendous.”