The worst aflatoxin outbreak in decades began in 2012 and is expected to peak this summer, causing problems for companies that produce products using corn. The problem has extended north to states not normally affected by extensive aflatoxin. The FDA allows for contaminated grain to be blended with unaffected stores at low levels, but testing is critical because aflatoxin can be carcinogenic in animals and people.
On Friday, Houston Zoo veterinarians and staff made the decision to euthanize their baby giraffe, Yao Ming, after his bone infection progressed despite intensive treatment. "In the long run, it was definitely the right decision. ... We don't want to see the animal suffer and go through chronic pain," said veterinarian Wyatt Winchell, who treated the giraffe.
The Connecticut Legislature may soon consider a bill to appoint legal representatives for pets in court cases such as custody battles and animal abuse cases. Rhode Island instituted pet legal representation last year, and the Michael Vick dogfighting case involved a representative for the interests of the dogs. Advocates say such a measure would ensure pets are treated humanely and fairly in court, but opponents say it will further complicate standing laws, adding unnecessary costs and administrative responsibilities to an already overwhelmed system.
The new Petbrosia company creates customized pet foods based on information provided by owners and the company's nutrition formula. Petbrosia was started recently by former Proctor & Gamble product innovation employee Keith Johnson. The food sells at roughly twice the cost of other pet foods, but Johnson says it's worth it. "Our overall goal is to hopefully see fewer chronic conditions later in life, when the effects of an unhealthy diet can add up," Johnson said.
Natura Pet Products has voluntarily recalled all dry pet food and treats that expire by March 24, 2014, expanding a recall initiated in March because the food may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Agriculture officials in Georgia and Michigan identified salmonella in some of the products included in the recall. "Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products," the company said.