This week in veterinary news from around the world: the H7N9 bird flu strain in China has the potential to become a pandemic, New Zealand pet spending hits an all-time high, and Qatar Airways fights illegal wildlife trafficking.
Forced Relocation of Stray Dogs in Istanbul Angers Animal Activists (Hurriyet Daily News)
According to the Animal Rights Confederation HAYKONFED, the municipality in the Istanbul district of Eyüp has allegedly tranquilized and relocated more than 100 stray dogs from the area. “Eyüp Municipality has captured over 100 dogs, most of them already neutered, claiming to bring them to the Kısırkaya Shelter.” The animal rights group also reported that “while some of the dogs arrived at the shelter, many have disappeared.”
Qatar Airways Fights Illegal Wildlife Trafficking (Independent Online)
“Qatar Airways has joined [the] USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transportation of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership to act against wildlife trafficking across transport networks.” The illegal trade of wildlife is the fourth largest black market in the world. By joining ROUTES, Qatar Airways will raise awareness and strengthen its staff capacity to help eliminate wildlife transportation of endangered animals.
New Zealand Pet Spending Reaches $1.8 Billion (New Zealand Herald)
New statistics show that New Zealanders spent $1.8 billion on their pets last year—up from $1.6 billion in 2011. This figure includes everything from pet insurance to pet food to pet grooming. “Last year the average household spent $1686 on dogs, up from $1571 in 2011. The average for cats was $1005 per household, up from $883 in 2011.” Researchers believe this increase is due to the growing “pet parenting” phenomenon.
Scientists have discovered the first evidence of a “huge, meat-eating dinosaur” that roamed southern Africa around 200 million years ago. “Several three-toed footprints left by the two-legged “megatheropod”—an early forerunner of Tyrannosaurus rex—were found” near a river bank in Lesotho. This creature would have been around 30 feet long and almost 9.8 feet tall.
“Lab experiments on a new strain of the H7N9 bird flu circulating in China suggest the virus can transmit easily among animals and can cause lethal disease.” This is raising alarm among researchers throughout the country that the virus has the potential to trigger a global human pandemic. The H7N9 virus has been circulating in China since 2013, but last year the virus split into two distinct strains “that are so different they no longer succumb to existing vaccines.”
Indonesian Villages Pit Wild Boards Against Dogs (Independent)
Boar fighting contests in Indonesia, known as adu bagong, began back in the 1960s, but competitions are still being held today, raising the hackles of animal rights activists in the country. According to participants, “the fights were a way to preserve a tradition of hunting in the area.” Boars and dogs fight to the death, with a cash prize of up to $2000 for the winning animal.
Big Data Project to Improve Veterinary Care in Australia (horsetalk.co.nz)
“A program that collects real-time clinical records in Australia on the veterinary care of companion animals, including horses, is being rolled out across the nation.” All 7 Australian veterinary schools and 180 veterinary clinics are working together on this new Vetcompass Australia program. “Vetcompass is the first nationwide surveillance system collating clinical records on companion animal diseases and treatments, covering cats, dogs, and horses.”