Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

1,500 Chinese raccoon dogs die from tainted feed

October 21, 2008

Some 1,500 dogs bred for their raccoon-like fur have died after eating feed tainted with melamine, a veterinarian said Monday, raising questions about how widespread the industrial chemical is in China’s food chain.

The revelation comes amid a crisis over dairy products tainted with melamine that has caused kidney stones in tens of thousands of Chinese children and has been linked to the deaths of four infants.

The raccoon dogs — a breed native to east Asia whose fur is used to trim coats and other clothing — died of kidney failure after eating the tainted feed, said Zhang Wenkui, a veterinary professor at Shenyang Agriculture University.

“First, we found melamine in the dogs’ feed, and second, I found that 25 percent of the stones in the dogs’ kidneys were made up of melamine,” said Zhang, who performed a necropsy — an animal autopsy — on about a dozen dogs.

Zhang declined to say when the animals died, but a report Monday in the Southern Metropolis Daily said the deaths occurred over the past two months.

The animal deaths were a reminder of last year’s uproar over a Chinese-made pet food ingredient containing melamine that was linked to the deaths of dozens of dogs and cats in the United States and touched off a massive pet food recall.

It was not immediately clear how the chemical entered the raccoon dog feed. But in the tainted milk scandal and last year’s pet food recall, melamine was believed to have been added to artificially boost nitrogen levels, making products seem higher in protein when tested.

At the time, China’s product safety authorities revoked the business licenses of questionable firms, announced tougher guidelines and increased inspections. But the countless small, illegally operating manufacturers found throughout the country make monitoring difficult.

“It’s still happening because it’s enormously profitable. It’s much cheaper to put melamine in as a nitrogen source than to put a real source in,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University who wrote a book about the tainted pet food scandal.

“You’re going to have this kind of thing until you have a food safety system that’s adequate to oversee what’s going on or provide enough of a deterrent that people doing this think there’s too much of a chance they’re going to get caught,” she said.

Bonnie Glaser, a senior associate with the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, agreed.

“This is a problem throughout China where you have incentives that exist to produce things in a cheaper way to make greater profits, and people circumvent the regulations,” she said. “The (central government) is trying to eliminate this, but the problem is that for the few factories you close down, there’s another factory that pops up.”

Raccoon dogs are not the only animals in China that have fallen victim to melamine-tainted products — a lion cub and two baby orangutans developed kidney stones last month at a zoo near Shanghai.

Hospital officials said the three baby animals had been nursed for more than a year with milk powder made by the Sanlu Group Co., which is at the center of the tainted milk crisis.

Melamine has been found in a wide range of Chinese-made dairy products over the past few months. The government is still trying to win back consumer confidence after tainted products turned up on store shelves around the world.

When ingested by humans, melamine — which is used in plastics and fertilizers…

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081020/ap_on_re_as/as_china_
tainted_milk;_ylt=AgP1y_nTwwwpCbbIk8K_jKqs0NUE

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Tainted feed kills 1,500 dogs in China

October 20, 2008
BEIJING (AP) — Some 1,500 dogs in northeast China have died after eating animal feed tainted with the same chemical that contaminated dairy products and sickened tens of thousands of babies nationwide, a veterinarian said Monday.

The raccoon dogs — a breed native to east Asia that is raised for its fur — were fed a product that contained the chemical melamine and developed kidney stones, said Zhang Wenkui, a veterinary professor at Shenyang Agriculture University. All of the dogs died on farms in just one village.

Zhang determined that the animals died of kidney failure after performing a necropsy — an animal autopsy — on about a dozen dogs. He declined to say when the deaths occurred but a report Monday in the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper said they had occurred over the past two months.

“First, we found melamine in the dogs’ feed, and second, I found that 25% of the stones in the dogs’ kidneys were made up of melamine,” Zhang told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The Southern Metropolis Daily also blamed the deaths of several hundred dogs on melamine, but it was not immediately clear how the chemical would have entered the raccoon dog feed. In the ongoing milk scandal, melamine was said to be added to watered-down milk to artificially boost nitrogen levels, making products seem higher in protein when tested.

Raccoon dogs take their name from their fur, which resembles that of raccoons, and is used to make clothing, especially coats.

The animal deaths raise questions about the extent of the chemical’s presence in the country’s food chain.

Melamine has been found in a wide range of Chinese-made dairy products and foods with milk ingredients over the past few months. The government is still trying to win back consumer confidence after those tainted products turned up on store shelves around the world.

Four Chinese babies’ deaths have been blamed on infant formula that was laced with melamine. Some 54,000 other children were sickened.

Last year, melamine-tainted wheat gluten, a pet food ingredient made in China, was blamed for the deaths of dozens of dogs and cats in North America.

When ingested by humans, the industrial chemical — used in plastics and fertilizers — can cause kidney stones as the body tries to eliminate it and, in extreme cases, can lead to kidney failure. Infants are particularly susceptible.

Read the rest:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-10-
20-china-dogs-melamine_N.htm?csp=34

Vietnam: Hamster from Pet To Stew in One Day

March 7, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
March 7, 2008 

The bad news is the kids lose their pets. The good news is there’s hamster stew for dinner.

Vietnam, a nation with a history of mixed policies on rodents and pets is at it again.

Vietnam agriculture ministry official Nguyen Thanh Son said that starting this Monday, any person in Vietnam possessing a hamster will face a stiff 30 million dong (1,875 dollar) fine.

Why such concern?

Well, it is the Year of the Rat. That caused a tidal wave of hamster sales in Vietnam to honor the new year. But the love of the fluffy and playful creatures turned into a craze. The cost of a hamster rose to between $40 and $50 (US). And, as is the custom in Asia, a huge underground in hamster smuggling sprang up.
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China smuggled in hamsters. Thailand smuggled in hamsters. And hamster control officers at the borders were overwhelmed. Hamsters without papers were nabbed and checked for disease. Although no diseases have been identified or linked to the fun-filled rodents, the Communists state run agricultural ministry got suspicious.

“We have been burned by rodents before,” said Trang Tung from the agricultural ministry by phone from Hanoi. “In 1975 and 1976, while we had a border war brewing with China, we thought China would flood Vietnam with disease bearing rats to both contaminate the people and eat all our crops.”

Rat commandos. Rodent warfare.

The fear never played out.

“But we put a bounty on all rats and offered a reward for formers who brought in the most rats,” Mr. Tung told Peace and Freedom.

“Dead or alive?” we asked.

“Oh dead only, of course,” said Tung.

During that same time frame the Communist government banned all pets as an extravagance of the Yankee Dogs (Americans). In fact, dogs were banned as pets. They were only allowed if they were cultivated for food.

Rats and dogs are both eaten widely in Asia.

But this year, the fluffy hamster was all about fun — not food.  The hamster crazy spawned online hamster forums and real-life hamster clubs.

One hamster owner, using the online name Kun89, informed fellow aficionados in an online forum: “Hamsters like to play acrobatic games. If they do not have enough toys to play with, they will suffer from stress and die.”

And, beacuse Saturday is International Women’s Day, Vietnamese husbands and boyfriends, eager to find lovable gifts for their pretty Vietnamese girls, were trading in hamsters by the million.

Something had to be done, said the communist government — never a big fan of fun.

“Rats and dogs are great eating,” said Truc (she refused to give her last name) from Saigon. “

“My family like them both grilled.”

“So the government just encourage us to get rid of hamsters?  NO PROBLEM!”

A hamster eats as others sleep in a pet shop. Vietnam has launched ...

The Tet New Year, Cuisine, China and Vietnam

January 25, 2008

As we get closer to the new year or Tet I always collect stories about culture and food so if you have any please send them in!

Lunar New Year will be upon us soon!

Because we are entering the Year of the Rat we decided at Peace and Freedom to ask folks about some of their best rat (and Tet) stories.  Several people spoke fondly about eating rat and the consensus us that “the best rat is rice-fed rats.”  In places like Vietnam and China rats share their homes with the rice fields and eat plenty of the succulent grain.  Unlike many “city rats” the rice-fed animals are chubby, tasty and disease free!

Another group of stories includes stories of wild pigs.

A friend in Texas told me the other day he would spend the weekend hunting wild pigs with a rifle.  That same day, a former U.S. Army Ranger told me he hunted pigs with dogs and didn’t use firearms to prevent accidentally killing a dog.  The Ranger jumps on the cornered pigs and KNIFES them!

I told the story of the Ranger hunting with dogs to a Vietnamese man who said, “The best way is to use the dogs and the gun.  Then kill the dogs!  They taste better than pigs!” 


Above: A Saigon food vendor.
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At our first Tet event this year my wife and I each had a bowl of Chao Long, or innards with rice porridge. This is a delicious Saigon street favorite.

We passed on the Tiet Canh, which is traditional blood soup. It’s normally made with duck’s blood (tiet canh vit) or sometimes with pig’s blood (tiet canh heo).
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Vietnam Seizes Snakes

January 25, 2008

Customs officials in Vietnam have discovered a ton of live snakes on a plane.

The illegal cargo, on board a Thai Air flight from Bangkok, was hidden inside 60 ice boxes marked “fresh fish”.

“Who knows what would have happened if they had broken out and crawled around the plane when it was flying?” said Dao Van Lien, head of customs at Hanoi airport.

“It’s an amazing number of snakes,” Mr Lien added, explaining that there were too many for his staff to count.

The non-venomous rat snakes may have been destined for restaurant kitchens in China or Vietnam, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Many died on the journey but the survivors are now at the Wild Animal Rescue Centre, near Hanoi.

Slaughtered rats are grilled at Dinh Bang village, 20 km (12.5 ... 
Slaughtered rats are grilled at Dinh Bang village, 20 km (12.5 miles) outside Hanoi, January 24, 2008. People of Dinh Bang village eat rats as well as other kinds of meat from animals such as pigs, cows, chickens or rabbits. One kilogram of slaughtered rats costs 50,000 dong. ($3.10).
REUTERS/Kham (VIETNAM)
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