World News Roundup: October 7, 2017
This week in veterinary news from around the world: parakeets invade Mexico due to a European ban on bird imports, animal cruelty sentences rise to 5 years in prison for UK offenders, and rabies-endemic Busia launches vaccination campaign.
“A cat that was missing for more than a year in England found its way home with the help of social media and the Swedish government.” Both the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Branch shared a photo on social media of the missing cat that had been found wandering the streets. The post was shared by many—even the Swedish embassy—until it reached the cat’s owner.
Over the span of a decade, parakeets have invaded Mexico due to a ban on bird imports in Europe that were prompted by fears over avian flu. But this ban had wide ranging effects in other countries. “There were only a handful of reported sightings of the bird in Mexico City in 2005. But by 2015, feral monk parakeets were documented in 97 cities throughout the country.”
“People in England who commit the most serious crimes of animal cruelty could face up to five years in prison, the government has said.” Currently, there is only a six-month maximum sentence for animal cruelty. But under these new plans, animal abusers face much harder sentences and courts “still retain the ability to hand out an unlimited fine and ban an offender from owning animals in the future.”
Radioactive Boar Found in Sweden (Independent)
A wild boar was shot and killed in Sweden after it was discovered the animal had radiation levels more than ten times the safe limit. “The boar was found in central Sweden and is thought to have high radiation due to living in an area still largely affected by nuclear fallout from the Chernobyl disaster, 31 years ago.” Radiation levels in the area’s boars are reportedly increasing, with this being the highest level environmentalists have measured yet.
The Masham Sheep Fair, which takes place in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in northern England every year, is famous for sheep sales along with sheep racing. But more than 60,000 animal rights activists have signed a petition calling for the racing to be banned, saying they were “unnatural, exploitative, and degrading.” Instead, the petition states “people should dress up as sheep instead of subjecting animals to races.”
Government officials in the rabies-endemic Kenyan county of Busia have embarked on the massive vaccination of animals—especially dogs and cats. “According to Busia District Veterinary Officer Dr. Patrick Barasa, 15 people are bitten by dogs and wild animals in the district per week.”
British Dog Walkers to Set Professional Standards (Pet Product News)
According to the Pet Industry Federation (PIF), a new code of practice for professional dog walkers in Britain will soon be created. The code, developed in collaboration with Dogs Trust and RSPCA, “aims to provide guidelines that professional dog walkers should conform to, ensuring the highest standards of welfare to the dog and with respect to the environment, as well as peace of mind to the owner.”
Welfare Concerns Identified at Cumbrian Zoo (The Guardian)
“Inspectors have identified a number of welfare concerns at a Cumbrian zoo where nearly 500 animals died in less than 4 years.” According to the zoo’s animal director, a diagnosis of chlamydia was given to the zoo’s peacock population. Council inspectors also carried out a two-week inspection last month and concluded there were too many “contact incidents” between animals and visitors.