Animals farmed: Pet smuggling, animal testing and swine fever warnings

Welcome to our monthly roundup of the biggest issues in farming and food production, with must-read reports from around the web

Almost a quarter of the worlds pigs areexpected to die from African Swine Fever (ASF), with Chinese authorities having already warned that the countrys pig population was 40% smaller this year. European food safety officials have said countries in south-east Europe, including Croatia and Greece, were most at risk from ASF spreading through their pig herds.

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Ecuador has emerged as a major supplier for Chinas surging demand for shrimp. Chinese demand has doubled over the past decade, but disease outbreaks in its domestic industry have left it increasingly reliant on imports. China has also now lifted its ban on Canadian beef and pork imports, enacted after residues of the banned feed additive ractopamine were found.

A new campaign funded by the European livestock sector has warned the EU risks a rural exodus if it goes forward with any plan to significantly reduce livestock numbers. It follows reports calling for a 4050% reduction in the size of Europes meat and livestock sector to reduce its environmental footprint. Separately, scientists have claimed the 60bn (51bn) a year common agricultural policy (CAP), which hands out subsidies to farmers, is largely ineffective at retaining or restoring biodiversity.

Men
Men dance in the rain as they celebrate the first rainfall following a drought in Bourke, New South Wales, Australia. Composite: Social media/Tracy Bennett

Australian farmers have celebrated rainfall after one of the countrys longest ever dry spells. Persistent drought has become an established problem for farmers now across New South Wales and southern Queensland.

One of the worlds largest independent seafood companies has apologised after undercover footage filmed at one of its salmon hatcheries showed disfigured salmon being scooped out of overcrowded tanks and tossed into plastic containers where they are left to slowly suffocate. Cooke, which operates salmon farms in the US, Scotland, and Chile, is now being investigated by state officials in Maine, where the farm was located.

The EU is reported to be considering a clampdown on the smuggling on cats, dogs and other pets across its borders. And images emerged from a laboratory near Hamburg of tests on animals, reigniting discussion of this long-running issue.

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The images of research being carried out on monkeys at a German laboratory have led to renewed discussion of the ethics of animal testing. Photograph: Cruelty Free International and Soko Tierschutz/CEN

Quote of the month

Ive always wanted to open a chippy called Woo Tan Scran because the name is hilarious. I never thought it was actually going to happen. Alex Woo, on opening the first vegan Chinese chippy in Liverpool. (For international readers, scran is slang for food.)

Share your stories

We want to hear from you about your experiences and stories from inside the farming industry. Get in touch. We regularly publish views from contributors, such as this one from Leicestershire livestock and arable farmer Joe Stanley.

Joe claimed it makes no sense to shun British meat in favour of a plant-based diet of avocados or almonds grown in some of the driest places on Earth using blue water sucked from rivers, lakes or aquifers. You can contact us at: animalsfarmed@theguardian.com.

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