Within two years, 2018 – 2020 1.4 million EU citizens signed a petition to end the caging of farm animals. As a result, the European Parliament initiated a study conducted by Utrecht University researchers to study how to accomplish this goal.
The research included behavioral biologists, animal scientists, veterinarians and ethicists. Their main focus was on laying hens and pigs. However, they will look into other animals such as bovines used for milk and meat. In order to accomplish their goal to eliminate cages, the researchers must find a way to assist farmers in transitioning from traditional animal housing to more humane housing.
I personally hope that they can reach this goal and that it will spread to the rest of the world. When I raised chickens, they were always free-ranged and had a hen house to stay in at night.
The swine virus, H3N2 has been found in pigs and people. It seems that it was first passed from humans to pigs and now it is being passed back to humans. Research led by Andrew Bowman of the Ohio State University and published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases which is a publication for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outlines Bowman’s findings.
The study was conducted on pigs that were exhibited at fairs, and of the ones tested, 78% had the virus even though many showed no symptoms. The fair exhibitors where the most likely to contract the virus since they handle and spend more time with their pigs.
Part of the research showed how quickly the virus can travel. Bowman suggested a number of precautions to take to avoid getting the virus. These included testing pigs, limiting the amount of time the pigs are exhibited, sanitation procedures for humans and pigs and vaccinating the pigs against the virus, just to name a few.
He also suggested that visitors who are at risk of catching the flu, such as babies, young children, elderly and those with compromised immune systems avoid going in the pig exhibition area.