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Archive for July 7th, 2013

No Cash, No Feed: Crisis Hits SW Victoria Herd

Posted by feww on July 7, 2013

Hundreds of dairy cows and beef cattle in SW Victoria, Australia are starving to death

“It really comes down to a very fine balancing act between the bank (not giving us any more loans to buy feed) and keeping the cows alive; it’s the toughest, most heartbreaking time we’ve ever faced,” said dairy farmer Scott Gapes.
dying cattle
This photo of dying cattle was sent to The Weekend Australian by Dr Mike Hamblin. Source: The Australian

“I see animals suffering from malnutrition and farmers distressed by their financial situation (that) makes it impossible to feed them,” wrote Dr Hamblin, local veterinarian and dairy consultant.

“Snaps from two farms I visited last week (are attached). These animals are too weak to stand. Owners (one male and one female) were crying openly at their stock starving (but) are financially powerless to correct.

The Weekend Australian was later asked by Dr Hamblin not to publish the distressing photos for fear they would spark an urban backlash.

“And there is worse to come; June is a record dry (month) and feed (to buy) is now so scarce and expensive; what actions do we take; where will it all end?” Hamblin said.

Cows are dying and farmers face ruin as fodder runs out

by: Sue Neales, Rural reporter
From: The Australian
July 06, 2013

Hundreds of dairy cows and beef cattle in southwest Victoria are starving, weak and at risk of death this weekend.

Desperate dairy farmers in the Colac, Camperdown, Warrnambool and Koroit region have no grass in their paddocks and no hay in their sheds to feed their cattle after the driest nine months and hottest summer on record, The Australian reports.

Dairy farmers already struggling with unsustainable debts, low milk prices and falling land values and farm equity are having to choose between putting food on their family’s kitchen table or feeding the milking herd.

Prices for hay and stock grain have quadrupled since the start of the year, as more farmers try to buy in hay, silage, wheat, straw and even almond husks to feed their hungry cows. Top-quality lucerne hay is impossible to source.

As winter arrives, dozens of cows have died in their paddocks from complications linked to starvation and malnutrition. Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber has branded it an animal welfare crisis that will only get worse.

Mr Barber accused the Victorian government, headed by former vet, western Victorian local MP and Liberal Premier Denis Napthine, of keeping quiet about the scale of the impending starving cattle disaster because of concerns about a public outcry.

The Midfield meatworks at Warrnambool is overflowing with old and weak dairy cows that can no longer be fed, with a two-week waiting list to book in cows for slaughter. The pet food processor at Camperdown, who is licensed to pick up carcasses from the paddock, has also been inundated with calls.

Last week, one dairy farmer in Simpson, south of Colac, shot 120 of his dairy cows in the paddock because they were too weak to milk or survive the trip to the knackery to be turned into hamburger mince.

The Victorian Department of Primary Industries is believed to be considering laying charges of animal cruelty against some farmers whose stock have died of starvation.

Winslow dairy farmer Scott Gapes has lost 10 pregnant cows that were so weak they could not stand and developed pregnancy toxaemia. Several others came back into the milking shed after calving “so skinny” that Mr Gapes put them out of their misery.

“It really comes down to a very fine balancing act between the bank (not giving us any more loans to buy feed) and keeping the cows alive; it’s the toughest, most heartbreaking time we’ve ever faced,” Mr Gapes said.

Local veterinarian and dairy consultant Mike Hamblin wrote two weeks ago to state and federal politicians appealing for help to prevent a desperate situation getting even worse.

His letter, followed up by meetings in Canberra with former treasurer Wayne Swan and former agriculture minister Joe Ludwig, was accompanied by stark photos he had taken of dying and starving dairy cows looking like bags of bones.

“I see animals suffering from malnutrition and farmers distressed by their financial situation (that) makes it impossible to feed them,” Dr Hamblin wrote.

“Snaps from two farms I visited last week (are attached). These animals are too weak to stand. Owners (one male and one female) were crying openly at their stock starving (but) are financially powerless to correct.

“And there is worse to come; June is a record dry (month) and feed (to buy) is now so scarce and expensive; what actions do we take; where will it all end?”

In western Victoria, it is too cold until about the third week in September at the earliest for paddocks to start growing grass again. “There is worse to come; June is a record dry (month) and feed (to buy) is now so scarce and expensive. What actions do we take? Where will it all end?” Hamblin says.

Hamblin tells The Weekend Australian it is the worst and driest season he has seen in western Victoria in his nearly 40 years there, with less than half the usual rainfall since last August, a devastatingly hot summer and little spring or autumn grass growth.

After The Weekend Australian was sent his despairing email with a request from the chairman of the Rural Debt working group, Rowell Walton, to “help get the message out”, Dr Hamblin asked the paper not to publish the distressing photographs for fear they would spark an urban backlash.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said the state government was well aware that some livestock were starving in the region because financially stressed farmers could not afford to feed them enough.

“We all knew there was this risk of this happening when there wasn’t an early autumn (rain) break,” Mr Walsh said.

He said the Department of Primary Industries was monitoring the situation and working with farmers. “If we think there is a risk (their cattle are so weak they might die), the preferred outcome is to transport them to an abattoir or knackery rather than (let them die on the farm).”

Read more at The Australian.

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Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, Global Food Crisis, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hundreds Evacuated as Nevada Wildfire Intensifies

Posted by feww on July 7, 2013

520 Evacuated as growing wildfire threatens 400 homes near Las Vegas, NV

Currently the largest fire in Nevada the 16,000 acre Carpenter 1 wildfire was sparked by lightning on July 1 on the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, threatening more than 400 structures.

Mandatory evacuations are in effect for the Trout Canyon community. Residents have been evacuated from Lee Canyons

The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area has issued a Closure Order:

  • Lee Canyon Rd. (State Route 156) is closed at U.S. 95.
  • Kyle Canyon Rd (State Route 57) is closed at U.S. 95.
  • Trout Canyon Rd. is closed at State Route 160.
  • Lovell Canyon Rd. is closed at Trout Canyon Rd.

Stage 1 Fire restrictions are in affect for Nevada.

Wind Conditions: 15 mph W
Temperature: 82 degrees
Humidity: 18%
Growth Potential: High
Terrain Difficulty: Extreme
Sources: Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Inciweb and local residents.

Carpenter 1 Fire continued to grow on its northern flank late Saturday.

-oOo-

Mandatory evacuations for the Dean Peak Fire, Arizona

Mandatory evacuations for the Pine Lake and Pinion Pines subdivisions remains in place.

Old Highway 93 and DW Ranch Road are closed and Wild Cow Campground will remain closed until further notice. Blake Ranch road is closed except to local residents. The road closure at M.P. 4.6 on Hualapai Mountain Road has been moved back to the intersection of DW Ranch Road and Hualapai Mountain Road.

The Dean Peak Fire started on June 29, 2013 at approximately 3:30 p.m. and was started by lightning. The fire is located approximately 10 miles southeast of Kingman, Arizona, in the Hualapai Mountains, east of Dean Peak.

  • Acres: 5,400
  • Start date: June 29, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Location: 10 miles southeast of Kingman, AZ
  • Containment: 37% percent
  • Fuels: Pinyon, juniper, Ponderosa pine

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Popocatepetl Volcano Alert Level Raised

Posted by feww on July 7, 2013

Popocatepetl peppers Mexico City with ash, airlines suspend flights

Increased level of explosive activity at Popocatepetl prompts Mexican authorities to raise the volcano warning to the third-highest level on the center’s seven-step scale.

Several airlines have reportedly suspended flights into Mexico City after ash from the massive volcano fell on the the capital and nearby towns.

p0705134
Popocatepetl ejects volcanic blocks, July 5, 2013. Source: CENAPRED

Latest Bulletin:  July 06 15:00 h (July 05, 20:00 GMT)

Because of the increased activity of the Popocatepetl volcano, the National Coordination of Civil Protection (CNPC) of the Ministry of Interior (SEGOB), the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) and Scientific Advisory Committee determined in agreement, to raise the volcanic alert level from yellow phase 2 to yellow phase 3.

The Volcanic Alert Level is at Yellow, Phase 3.

p0705139 - 2
Explosive activity at Popocatepetl summit crater-
July 5, 2013. Source: CENAPRED

p0705138
Explosive
activity at Popocatepetl, viewed from TLAMACAS station –  July 5, 2013.  Popocatépetl Volcano (“smoking mountain” in Aztec) is North America’s 2nd-highest volcano. The massive stratovolcano stands 5,450m high and lies about 65 kilometers (40 miles)  southeast of  Mexico City (19.023°N, 98.622°W ) in the eastern segment of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. Mexico’s Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) has warned of large scale explosions, with high probability of  incendiary fragments and ash showers. Image source:  CENAPRED, Mexico.

Earlier bulletin  177 SEGOB – Posted July 06 11:00 h (July 05, 16:00 GMT)

In the last 24 hours monitoring system Popocatepetl volcano has registered 20 hours and low to high frequency tremor, accompanied by a persistent emission of a column of gas and ash that reached 3 kilometer height, northwest direction. Additionally the monitoring system has registered 4 hours of high intensity harmonic tremor. There were also 3 explosive events of moderate magnitude, the most important of which was presented this morning at 00:33 h. Due to weather conditions due to the weather it was not possible to observe the volcano during these events. However, in the early hours of the morning the continuous emission of gases and ash that reached more than 2 miles high and heading northwest was observed. (see image 1).

The Volcanic Alert Level is at Yellow, Phase 2.

CENAPRED places particular emphasis in the following recommendations:

1. Access is restricted within a radius of 12 km from the crater. Permanence in this area is not allowed.

2. The road between Santiago Xalitzintla (Puebla) and San Pedro Nexapa (Mexico State), including Paso de Cortes, is open only to controlled traffic.

 

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, Volcano Hazards, Volcano News, Volcano Watch | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canadian Town Evacuated after Train Explosion

Posted by feww on July 7, 2013

Train explosion kills at least one, leaves dozens missing in Lac-Megantic, Canada

The entire town of Lac-Megantic in Quebec, Canada, was evacuated after a freight train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded, killing at least one person.

The explosions destroyed dozens of buildings in the town, located about 250km east of Montreal.

The runaway Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train, with five locomotives and 73 freight cars carrying crude oil, was parked in the village of Nantes near Lac-Megantic, when the loaded cars became uncoupled, rolled downhill into the town and derailed, said the company.

“We do fear that there will be more fatalities and from now we’re trying to locate the people that are still missing,” said Quebec police.

“When you see the center of your town almost destroyed, you’ll understand that we’re asking ourselves how we are going to get through this event,” said the town mayor.

The incident has been described as a “major catastrophe” by the police.

-oOo-

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

Korean plane crash at San Francisco airport, killing at least 2

An Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea, crashed while landing on San Francisco International Airport’s Runway 28L Saturday, killing at least two people and leaving 60 unaccounted for.

San Francisco General said they had received at least 10 of the critically injured, including two children, according to a report.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was carrying 307 people including 291 passengers and 16 crew.  Not all of the 60 people missing were presumed dead, said the San Francisco Fire Chief.

At least 141 Chinese, 77 South Koreans and 61 US citizens were on the plane the plane, said a report.

-oOo-

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