Researchers from North Carolina State University and West Virginia University have developed a new technology that can reduce air pollutant emissions from chicken and swine barns, and also reduce their energy use by recovering and possibly generating heat.
Specifically, the research team designed, built, and evaluated a proof-of-concept unit that incorporates a biofilter and a heat exchanger to reduce ammonia emissions from livestock barns, while also tempering – or heating up – the fresh air that is pumped into the barns. The biofilters use organic components such as compost or wood chips.
Food & Drug Administration Limits Antibiotic Use in Animals
Bowing to public health groups, the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will limit the presence of one type of antibiotic in meat. The agency said Wednesday it will restrict the use of the cephalosporin group, often given to cattle, swine, and poultry before slaughter. Concord, North Carolina pork producer Tommy Porter says it’s really a moot point:
“I know it’s been many years since any antibiotic has been put in any of our feed that has come for the hog operation.”
The drugs are used to treat pneumonia, skin infections and other ailments in humans, and the theory is that when the same antibiotics are used in food animals that are used to treat human diseases, humans will develop a resistance to them; that has yet to be proven scientifically.
Controversy Brewing over Poultry Cage Size
Several farm organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, have signed a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee calling for the rejection of additional, costly and unnecessary animal rights mandates proposed by the Humane Society of the United States. A bill is being prepared by Oregon Representative Kurt Schrader that would set federal standards for the welfare of egg-laying hens.
The standards would allow for larger, enriched-colony cages and phase out smaller cages over 15 to 18 years at what the United Egg Producers has estimated to be a cost of 4 billion dollars. Opposing groups have estimated the cost to be around 10 billion dollars.
Optimism Abounds for December Retail Sales Numbers
Michael Niemira with the International Council of Shopping Centers says the retail sales numbers for December will be released later this week and the post Christmas shopping week will be a positive:
“We are looking for sales in the 4 to 4.5 percent range for the month as a whole, and that’s about a half a percentage point stronger than our early month expectation.”