Newfoundland : A bee haven that offers clues as global hives struggle Publish Date: 21-JUL-2014 10:03 AM Newfoundland’s healthy honeybees are an increasing draw for researchers in the race to understand why colonies across much of the globe are struggling or dying off. An international panel of 50 scientists last month called for tighter regulations and an ultimate phase-out of such products [neonic pesticides]. The group calling itself the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides compared so-called neonics or neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide that’s chemically reminiscent of nicotine, to the use of DDT in the 1960s.
Tenderized beef will soon need labels Publish Date: 20-JUL-2014 01:25 PM Canadian shoppers will be able to see next month if the beef they’re buying has been mechanically tenderized. Labelling regulations to take effect Aug. 21 are designed to protect consumers after the largest meat recall in the country’s history two years ago. Health Canada says beef that has been mechanically tenderized must have a sticker saying that. Packaged steaks must also have cooking instructions.
Canadians find ‘Agri-food’ label a little confusing, aggravating Publish Date: 14-JUL-2014 09:14 AM Public opinion research conducted for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada found confusion around the term "agri-food" in the department's title. Some thought it had "negative connotations"; others found it "somewhat meaningless."
Pesticide commonly used on Canadian farmland linked to bird declines Publish Date: 09-JUL-2014 09:06 AM Controversial pesticides, which are used “prophylactically” on millions of hectares of Canadian farmland, have now been linked to not only the declines in bees, but birds. A Dutch study released Wednesday provides the strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are harming insect-eating birds like swallows, which are in sharp decline.
Health Canada's quiet move to end use of antibiotics to fatten up animals Publish Date: 09-JUL-2014 09:04 AM For animal producers, antibiotics are an important management tool to keep their herds and flocks healthy and profitable. It's estimated that up to 80 per cent of the world's antibiotics are used in agriculture. Antibiotic use on farms is creating superbug infections in humans. The World Health Organization warns that unless antibiotic use is reined in, the world is headed for a dystopian future where routine infections are deadly.
Bee researchers raise more warning flags about neonicotinoid pesticides Publish Date: 20-MAY-2014 08:49 AM This spring most Canadian corn and soybean growers will be planting another crop of pesticide-coated seeds, even as researchers raise new warnings that the practice may have deadly side effects for bees and other wildlife. The heated debate around the use of the neonicotinoid-coated seeds, developed by Bayer CropScience and introduced here about a decade ago, has divided farmers, beekeepers and scientists, and turned Canada into a kind of environmental battlefront. To protect its bees, Europe banned the use of neonic pesticides last year, while U.S. authorities have so far taken a more cautious approach, saying these pesticides are just one possible factor in the collapse of so many bee colonies. Bayer filed a court challenge against the EU ban in August last year, saying the EU has wrongly linked the pesticide to bee deaths.
As Canada dawdles, Denmark shows the world how to stop mass medicating animals Publish Date: 18-APR-2014 02:58 PM COPENHAGAN, Denmark — Michael Nielsen unlocks the door to his pig factory. He doffs his jacket, pants and muddy boots and zips on white coveralls. Then he steps into the maze-like complex housing several thousand pigs. From the birthing room — where one enormous sow has just delivered 22 squirming piglets — to the insemination stalls where the next generation is in the works, Nielsen prides himself on smart, efficient farming. Here in Denmark that means recording every single dose of antibiotic farmers use. Unlike Canadian farmers who can import antibiotics by the truckload, Nielsen can only obtain them by prescription at a pharmacy. Use too many antibiotics and Nielsen would get a dreaded “yellow card” from the Danish government that has the world’s most comprehensive surveillance system for tracking and targeting overuse of antibiotics.
Canada’s chicken farmers ban injections that trigger superbugs Publish Date: 17-APR-2014 03:01 PM Canadian chicken farmers are putting an end to controversial egg injections, which provided the world with a “textbook” example of the perils of mass medication. By injecting eggs at hatcheries with ceftiofur, a medically important antibiotic, the farmers triggered the rise of resistant microbes that showed up in both chickens and in Canadians creating a “major” public health concern. The case – documented by federal and provincial sleuths who track microbes at farms, slaughterhouses and retail meat counters – is held up as powerful evidence of resistant superbugs moving from farm to fork. “It is going to be in medical textbooks for as long as there are textbooks around,” says John Prescott, a professor with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.
Canada phasing out antibiotic use in livestock Publish Date: 11-APR-2014 08:45 AM Amid growing international concern over the spread of superbugs on farms, slaughterhouses and supermarket meat counters, Health Canada is moving to phase out use of antibiotic growth promoters in Canadian livestock. The drugs have been used for decades to spike the feed and water of chickens, pigs and cattle to boost their growth — “mass medication” that Canada’s top doctor, and many others, has said should stop. In a statement Friday, Canadian drug producers say they have agreed with Health Canada “to phase out uses of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion.” The phase-out is expected to take three years.
Superbugs slipping through ‘gaps’ and ‘loopsholes’ in Canadian regulations Publish Date: 20-FEB-2014 09:14 AM Canada needs to better control and contain resistant microbes — or superbugs — that are killing and sickening thousands of Canadian each year, say leading doctors. A good place to start, they say, is to close “loopholes” that permit Canadian farmers to import antibiotics by the truckload to feed to their animals – a practice that helps breed resistant microbes
When Will Harper’s People Stop Denying Climate Change Publish Date: 18-FEB-2014 08:44 AM One of most unpredictable and dangerous impacts of climate change is the threat it poses to our ability to grow and harvest food across Canada and around the globe.On a global scale, food security in the age of climate change is a serious concern with reports warning that climate change could drive up food prices and lead to millions of people living in a state of food insecurity. In the context of this agricultural insecurity, Gerry Ritz, Canada's Minister for Agriculture, told the House of Commons last week that "this cold weather can't last forever. This global warming has to stop some time".
Bees. Careful. Publish Date: 17-FEB-2014 03:35 PM Farm groups are pressing the Senate to forestall for years any regulations on pesticides rated toxic to bees. Members of the Senate agriculture committee investigating deaths of bee colonies were told any restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides should await a complete review by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
Science-based Decisions – In Whose Interest? Publish Date: 28-JAN-2014 11:28 AM Governments and farm organizations tell us over and over again that decisions made on our farms and by government regulatory agencies must be 'science-based'. Entwined with this adherence to 'science-based' decision making is a demand that we accept that science is absolute and unbiased – that it is never-changing and is never influenced by the interests of funders of the research. Our understanding of our world and of our own farms, however, is ever-changing. Yesterday's knowledge leads us to new discoveries today, which will lead to new understandings tomorrow. Scientific knowledge can never be absolute since if we are open to learning it can constantly lead us to new discoveries and to new knowledge. As evidence we need only look at seed; from the time farmers started collecting and replanting seeds to grow food and feed, we have been actively adding to our collective, ever-changing knowledge of science and of plant breeding.
U.S. food-safety audit gives Canada low grade, calls for better meat oversight Publish Date: 07-JAN-2014 03:23 PM A U.S. audit of Canada’s food-safety system calls on the federal regulator to strengthen oversight of sanitation and the humane handling of animals at meat-slaughtering plants. The findings from the tour of seven food-processing facilities, two laboratories and five Canadian Food Inspection Agency offices in the fall of 2012 were kept confidential until recently.
Farming salmon on land is possible, project suggests Publish Date: 06-JAN-2014 03:18 PM The Canadian fishing industry is on the verge of being able to grow this saltwater fish anywhere – including, hypothetically, in the prairie provinces.
The Namgis closed containment facility on Vancouver Island is the first salmon farm in North America to grow Atlantic salmon on a commercial scale in a completely land-based aquaculture system.
NRC to lay off 57 positions Publish Date: 02-JAN-2014 02:47 PM The National Research Council is in the middle of a nation-wide workforce adjustment process that will result in job losses at NRC locations across the country. NRC officials confirmed Dec. 20 that 57 positions will be eliminated across the country, including six in Halifax, 20 in Quebec, 18 in Ontario, one in Winnipeg and eight in Saskatoon. All of the affected jobs in Western Canada are scientific positions involving experts in aquatic research and crop resource development.
A motley crew of kids, scientists and politicians posed in front of a boxy machine at the Royal Ontario Museum on Thursday. The instrument, known as a laser altimeter, quickly scanned them to create a multi-dimensional map of the scene. Four years from now, a new version of that instrument will be sent to map something slightly trickier — the asteroid Bennu, a carbon-rich space rock with a fascinating, if slightly menacing, biography.
De nouvelles données américaines confirment la hausse continue des températures et l’ampleur de la crise climatique. La dépendance de l’humanité aux énergies fossiles se reflète de plus en plus sur le thermomètre planétaire. De nouvelles données scientifiques publiées lundi révèlent en effet que les derniers mois ont battu des records historiques à la hausse, tant sur les continents qu’à la surface des océans. Un signal de plus de l’aggravation de la crise climatique.