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ASI Weekly updates - from June 1, June 15, & June 29

New Vaccine to Control FMD

A new vaccine developed by scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a U.S. biopharmaceutical company holds promise for protection against foot- and-mouth (FMD) disease, which strikes cattle and swine, as well as sheep, goats and deer.

The new vaccine works quickly, demonstrating effectiveness within seven days. Tests thus far have shown that vaccinated cattle retain immunity for at least 21 days, but scientists expect that future studies will show that the new vaccine at least matches the six months of immunity provided by current vaccines. The new vaccine has been tested on cattle and swine and is equally effective in both species.

FMD is devastating to livestock and has critical economic consequences with potentially severe losses in the production and marketing of meat and milk. Although the US has not had an FMD outbreak since 1929, the disease is still considered a serious threat to the nation's economy and food supply.

Significantly, as this is the first FMD vaccine produced in the US, the federal government can plan adequate supplies for the veterinary strategic stockpile. The vaccine is the first molecular-based FMD vaccine for cattle. Additional testing is examining the vaccine's commercial viability and effectiveness against the various serotypes of the FMD virus.

The new vaccine has many benefits.

It is administered in a non-replicating adenovirus. It does not require expensive, high-containment production facilities, and it can be produced safely in the US because it can be made without using infectious FMD materials.

The vaccine also makes it possible for scientists to determine whether an animal found to have FMD antibodies acquired them through vaccination or from infection--important because of the trade restrictions associated with using current vaccines.

Reprinted from ARS News Service

Wisconsin No. 1 in Sheep Milk Production

Though California has stolen the lead in cow milk production , Wisconsin outranks California and all other states in sheep milk. Other areas in North America where sheep milk is produced include Vermont, New Hampshire, Quebec and Ontario.

"We know how many producers there are in other states, and when we say Wisconsin leads, I don't think anybody argues that fact," said Dave Thomas, a University of Wisconsin- Madison professor of animal science who oversees the university's dairy sheep program at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station.

Much of the credit for development of the business in Wisconsin goes to the Spooner research station, which started milking sheep in 1995, then conducted research and helped start a marketing cooperative. Now the state has more than 2,000 sheep in licensed milking herds and produces roughly a

million pounds of sheep milk per year.

The Spooner station also helped start and is a member of the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative, which markets the 1 million pounds of sheep milk per year, a figure that has been rising by 10 to 15 percent annually.

Reprinted in part from The Capital Times, Wisconsin

Groups Sue USDA Over Sheep Grazing

The conservation groups of Western Watershed Project and the Center for Biological Diversity have filed a lawsuit in federal court this week over sheep grazing.

The groups claim the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) sheep experiment station near Dubois, Idaho, violated federal rules when it authorized sheep grazing on and around Yellowstone National Park.

The groups contend the grazing puts wild bighorn sheep at risk of catching deadly diseases from the domesticated sheep. And that the grazing threatens other animals, including lynx, wolves and grizzly bears.

Editor’s note: Who are these geniuses that think we must protect lynx, wolves and grizzly bears from those vicious sheep?

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