Posted on

COVID-19: there’s more to life than this

The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown taught us that life is too short to be working 80 hours a week. Starting from April 2020 we will be closed on Fridays for the foreseeable future. These guys are pretty excited about it too:

We intend to spend more time together at the beach, in the garden and generally doing nice things as a couple.

It’s still business as usual 9am to 5pm Monday – Thursday.

Posted on

Compare the digestive systems of a ruminant and a monogastric animal

It’s that time of year again when this beast rears it’s ugly head: compulsory practical comparing the digestive systems of a ruminant animal and a monogastric animal.

I know it’s been put into the curriculum, but in typical Biro Pilot fashion the writers of the curriculum didn’t consult with the industry stakeholders on whether this was actually reasonably possible. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Not only have we discussed the issues with transporting a bucket of farts in a truck before, we now have the added complications of:

  1. long term drought right around the country
  2. the 2019-2020 bushfires that wiped out 1/3 of the national sheep population
  3. the utter devastation of farmland and infrastructure in the fire affected areas

So, what about monogastric gastros?

As yet we aren’t experiencing any trouble with sourcing the gastros from pigs for our GIT specimen, but we are closely watching the pork industry. In the last 12 – 18 months the industry has rapidly been reducing the number of pigs in production.

This is a backlash from about 5 years ago when pork prices were really high so every farmer and his son went into pig production. The oversupply then forced prices down and everyone changed their minds about growing pigs. Now there is a national shortage and even butchers were having trouble getting enough to keep up with Christmas orders last year.

Added to that the potential threat from African Swine Fever and we’ve got a perfect storm for the Australian pork industry.

What’s Miss Vivi going to do about it?

Well, Mr Vivi is going to keep it sweet with the suppliers that we have on the team and we’re going to support the pork and lamb industry the best way we know how – by buying their stuff as often as we can. As they say, “don’t clap, throw money!”. You can support that too by working with us so the money flows into those towns that really, really need it right now. Don’t ever forget that every family needs a farmer.

Miss Vivi is going to keep supporting you by finding resources you can actually use in the classroom to keep your teachers sweet. So far I’ve found this little gem of a presentation by Bryan Simmons on Prezi. It’s pretty good for a virtual resource. Just click through to the website and use the arrows under the image to click through the slides.

Nothing beats the smell of the real thing, though, does it?

post by miss vivi at dissection connection
Posted on

African Swine Fever risks genetic diversity of pig populations globally

dangers of africa swine fever and how to prevent it biosecurity

We’ve all seen the awful images of thousands of pigs being destroyed across Asia recently from countries that have been hit with African Swine Fever (ASF) and it is not only devastating for their agricultural producers, it threatens the food security of those nations. Small scale farmers are the hardest hit as they can lose their entire herd in one day.

This isn’t only a global crisis in terms of food production. It also has widespread implications for the genetic diversity of pigs around the world as up to one quarter of the world’s pigs have been culled by September 2019 to try and halt the spread of the disease.

Australia has been lucky so far and African Swine Fever has not been detected in Australian pig herds. However, two Western Australian men were jailed very recently for illegally smuggling boar semen from overseas through our airports – and they have been doing it since at least 2009.  ASF was detected in Europe as early as 2007.  It would only take one batch of infected semen to wipe out most of our domestic herds as well.

Imports of pork from affected countries have been restricted as the disease can also be spread through infected meat.  But we’ve all seen the TV shows where tourists are found trying to bring all sorts of biosecurity hazards in their suitcases – and those are just the people that get caught on camera at airports.

NSW DPI Biosecurity says:

“East Timor has become the latest Asian country to be hit with African swine fever, following China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines.

ASF is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs.

Australia is currently free of ASF but meat products containing these pathogens may be illegally imported into Australia undetected by quarantine.

Feeding food scraps ‘swill’ that has been in contact with these products may lead to serious diseases in pigs including foot and mouth disease and African and classical swine fevers.

Banning the feeding of prohibited food waste to pigs and ruminants provides an important defence against these and other serious livestock diseases to Australia.

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2AY4Es6

So, Vivsters, for the sake of our farmers who are already struggling so much to survive, for the sake of our own national food security and the global effort to feed the world and keep the peace, and for the sake of science and strong genetic diversity in all the world’s species – be alert, be a little be alarmed, be informed

and spread the word about how vitally important biosecurity is to the future of all nations.

post by miss vivi at dissection connection

3 Oct 2019