Weekly News Roundup 8/30 to 9/5

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Veterinary colleges team up to improve education

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded three veterinary colleges a grant for a two-year project to improve veterinary services in developing nations by advancing educational opportunities. The project will work to identify and address issues related to the quality of veterinary teaching by developing a digital platform to store educational resources and teaching tools for faculties across the world. The project includes the Center for Food Security and Public Health at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Public Health at The Ohio State University, and the School of Veterinary Science and Institute of Education at Massey University in New Zealand. . . . more

Restaurant ads about animal welfare don’t move customers

Businesses are increasingly embracing social causes as a way to promote brand trust among consumers while also attempting to better society. Chipotle, for example, made headlines when it released “Back to the Start,” an advertisement promoting more humane food production. But the restaurant industry as a whole, which is often criticized due to concerns about animal welfare and employee wages, has otherwise been slow to capitalize on this marketing trend. “Restaurants have faced a lot of criticism for how they source their food, and it is logical to think that social-cause marketing could mitigate that criticism the way it has for issues in other industries,” says Dae-Young Kim, PhD, associate professor of hospitality management at the University of Missouri. “We found that this kind of marketing does improve trust in restaurants on a variety of issues when the ads include engaging visuals, but when it comes to animal welfare, it doesn’t matter how the message is delivered. Customers don’t care.” . . . more

Dog fakes broken leg to get pets and treats from tourists

You can’t keep a good dog down. A clever canine in the streets of Bangkok was caught on camera faking a broken leg to score free food from tourists. In the footage, the furry scam artist can be seen dragging his back left haunch across the pavement for a few seconds before he pops up, tail wagging, and trots off. The amber-colored mixed breed’s scheme works so well that one man on a motorbike stopped to check on the perpetrating pooch, nicknamed Gae by locals, but laughs when he catches on to his four-legged fakeout. . . . more

Tufts PhD “punished” for reporting adviser’s fabricated research, lawsuit claims

A doctoral graduate of Tufts University’s veterinary school has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the college, claiming that she faced retaliation after she reported her department for animal abuse and fabricating research. The federal lawsuit filed by Kristy Meadows, PhD—who received a PhD from Tufts in biomedical sciences with a concentration in neuroscience in 2017, and in veterinary medicine in 2018—claims retaliation, violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, negligence, violation of privacy, and defamation, among other allegations in a 35-page complaint. Meadows, who graduated near the top of her class and received multiple scholarships, was “punished for speaking up” when she reported her adviser, Elizabeth Byrnes, PhD, for allegedly fabricating data, said Meadows’ attorney, David Russcol. . . . more

Human Salmonella cases linked to pig ears climb to 143

Cases of salmonellosis in humans connected to contact with pig ear treats continue to rise and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising pet owners to take precautions to avoid illness. The organization, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is reporting 143 cases of Salmonella infections in humans who are tied to exposure to pig ears, spread across 35 states. Thirty-three people have been hospitalized, the CDC says, with many cases classified as multidrug resistant. The FDA and CDC recommend owners not buy any pig ears at this time and safely discard any already purchased. Further, the organizations recommend in-store and online retailers stop selling the treats immediately. Three companies in the US recalled products in August, with some treats having tested positive for Salmonella. Additional testing is underway to identify the specific strain(s). Veterinarians should advise clients to dispose of all pig ear treats at this time. . . . more