25 March 2017

WELFARE - City of Calgary Recognized by Nature Canada

Nature Canada, Canada’s oldest national nature conservation charity, presented their inaugural Safe Cats Safe Birds Award to the City of Calgary for its progressive municipal policy that keeps cats safe and saves bird lives.

“Our Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives national campaign asks Canadian cat owners to join a growing movement of people who keep their cats supervised if they go outdoors. Unsupervised outdoor cats are at considerable danger from collisions with cars, fights with wildlife, diseases and poisons and are responsible for an estimated 100 to 350 million bird deaths a year in Canada,” said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada.

“The City of Calgary’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw is a model for other municipalities to follow.”

The Calgary bylaw requires both cat and dog owners to license their pets, and to keep animals from roaming at large.

The bylaw is an important factor in Calgary’s success, but the strong public education campaign, the ‘I Heart My Pet’ rewards program and the promise to return licensed pets are motivation for pet owners, earning Calgary the highest compliance rates in the country.

“It is an honour for The City of Calgary to receive Nature Canada’s inaugural Safe Cats Safe Birds Award,” said Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary.

“Our approach focuses on accessible service and education that encourages responsible and accountable pet ownership. The result is a safe and healthy community for pets, and I’m proud of the work done by my colleagues at The City of Calgary to achieve this.”

The conflict between cat lovers and bird fanciers is a long one with deeply entrenched and very opposing views.

Like Nature Canada, organizations like the University of Guelph, by conducting surveys and research around the issue of cat population and protecting the birds, are trying to find ways for the groups to work together.

“The hope is that we can bring together cat supporters and bird advocates to take actions to improve cat welfare and reduce the effect of outdoor cats on birds,” Tyler Flockhart, a Liber Ero post-doctoral researcher at U of G, said.

24 March 2017

BUSINESS - Blockchain Research Institute Launches in Canada

(Alex and Don Tapscott)
Don Tapscott, co-author of the best-selling book Blockchain Revolution with Alex Tapscott, announced the formation of the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) at the DC Blockchain Summit.

Based in Toronto, Canada and funded by companies and governments from several countries, the BRI will conduct the definitive exploration of blockchain use cases, opportunities and implementation challenges.

A global team of dozens of experts will explore financial services, manufacturing, retail, energy and resources, technology/media, healthcare and government; as well as how this new technology changes the way companies are managed.

“We believe blockchain is a transformative technology for businesses. The Blockchain Research Institute with its brilliant team will deepen and enrich the knowledge about blockchain. We highly appreciate and fully support this effort and will contribute our deep expertise in business processes as the global leader in enterprise software,” Juergen Mueller, SAP Chief Innovation Officer, said in a release.

Founding members include:
  • Technology Industry – Accenture, IBM, SAP
  • Financial Industry –  Digital Asset, NASDAQ
  • Global Corporations – Pepsico, Centrica, Liberty Global
  • Government – Province of Ontario, University Health Network
  • Blockchain Pioneers – Nuco Inc., Paycase, Artlery, Votem, Cosmos, Youbase, Wisekey
  • Affiliate Organizations – The Hyperledger Project, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, Coala.io, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

With the growth in cryptocurrency and slow death of cash, blockchain is being adopted by a wide variety of industries around the world.

Blockchain technology describes a distributed, highly secure platform, ledger or database where value – everything from money, stocks, bonds, intellectual property, and deeds, to music, art and even votes – can be stored and exchanged without powerful intermediaries.

Ross Mauri, General Manager z Systems, IBM, said, “Blockchain has the potential to address some of the world's most pressing challenges --  from streamlining trade, to establishing trust in transactions, to tracing provenance for food safety. By working with top experts from around the world, we’ll be able to take full advantage of blockchain’s inherent strengths -- an openly-governed, collaborative approach – to make global business more efficient and transparent for consumers."

Don and Alex Tapscott will lead the BRI as co-executive directors.

Not limiting itself to research, the Institute will actively work on strategies to make a blockchain economy happen.

Projected program deliverables include reports and tools that disseminate program conclusions among member organizations, monthly webinars and executive briefings.

A Program Summit for institute members will be held in the spring of 2018.

23 March 2017

INTERVIEW - Caroline Nadeau of the RCMP, Detecting and Keeping K9 Officers Safe from Fentanyl

The fentanyl crisis is an ongoing issue for Canadians.

Fentanyl impacts Canadians across many groups.

From users, who find themselves dealing with a very different high than they anticipated when they encounter heroin or other drugs laced with the inexpensive, powerful, often lethal drug, to family and community members, first responders, and healthcare professionals.

And, of course, the fentanyl crisis impacts law enforcement officers who are trying to stop the drug from hitting the streets.

In Calgary, police are looking at ways to keep canine officers safe such as distributing the fentanyl antidote, naloxone.

Since officers don’t always know when fentanyl will be present in a crime scene, the antidote is one way to make sure that officers (canine or human) are safe even if they risk exposure.

Calgary firefighters also carry naloxone, and although they haven’t had to use the drug to save an officer, they administer it regularly to Calgarians who have been exposed to the drug.

Although neither Calgary police nor any RCMP canine units have suffered an overdose while working, the same is not true across North America.

Three law enforcement dogs overdosed in Florida late last year, and were saved by applications of Narcan, a brand name version of naloxone.

InfoStream had the chance to communicate with Caroline Nadeau at the RCMP about how the organization is working to keep canine officers safe, even as they accelerate the training program to get more canine units working to keep fentanyl off the streets.

InfoStream (IS): What are the risks associated with fentanyl?

Caroline Nadeau (CN): Fentanyl is a powerful prescription painkiller about 100 times more toxic than morphine.

Unintentional exposure to pure fentanyl – touching or inhaling – can cause serious harm, including death.

Like their human counterparts, dogs are at risk of exposure from fentanyl and other opioids during investigations.

IS: What precautions are in place to reduce the risk to canine and human officers?

CN: Naloxone is a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The RCMP has distributed naloxone to all frontline RCMP officers for use on police officers and members of the public in cases of accidental contact with the potentially fatal drug.

RCMP dog handlers have been carrying naloxone (also called Narcan) for over 20 years as a precaution.

Naloxone can be safely administered to dogs in the canine units if accidental contact with fentanyl is suspected. It is as safe and as efficient for dogs as it is for humans.

The RCMP has also developed training and information on fentanyl so RCMP members know about the risks and symptoms from contact with fentanyl, how to minimize the likelihood of contact and how to administer the naloxone, if needed.

Because fentanyl can be fatal on contact or if inhaled, the RCMP needed a technique to train dogs that would minimize the risk of exposure.

We addressed this problem by transforming pure fentanyl into a diluted liquid form which preserves the original scent and prevents the dog from inhaling the substance.

This way, the dog can safely and repetitively be trained to recognize the real scent of fentanyl.

IS: What measures is the RCMP taking to protect canine officers (and their handlers)? This is particularly an issue because canine officers can become intoxicated or overdosed either through absorbing the drug through their pads, or through inhalation.

CN: The RCMP trains its dogs to signal the presence of fentanyl through passive indications.

The dog will indicate the presence and location of fentanyl to the handler by sitting down. This way, the dog does not continue to pursue the odour to the source, further reducing the likelihood of inadvertent contact.

The dog and handler keep each other safe as a team.

IS: What are your hopes for the new training program for fentanyl detection?

CN: We believe the Canadian population is safer because of our new fentanyl dog training. By keeping more fentanyl off the street, we save Canadian lives.

Training is expected to be completed for all RCMP canine units across Canada by mid-July 2017.

About Tiffany Sostar
Tiffany is a published academic, an editor with the Editors Association of Canada, an independent scholar and researcher, and a self-care and narrative coach. She is particularly interested in the intersection of technology and identity - how our tools shape our selves and change our stories, and in how the nature of work is changing as we incorporate more technology into our daily lives.

22 March 2017

HEALTH - More Pet Food Recalls

Concerns about pet food may be on the rise this year as more products have been recalled since InfoStream’s initial report in February.

Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food voluntarily expanded its recall of Hunk of Beef and is also recalling Evanger’s Braised Beef and Against the Grain’s Pulled Beef Products due to potential adulteration with pentobarbital.  

The 12 oz. cans of dog foods that are being voluntarily recalled have the following barcodes.  The numbers listed below are the second half of the barcode, which can be found on the back of the product label:
  • Evanger’s: Hunk of Beef: 20109
  • Evanger’s: Braised Beef: 20107
  • Against the Grain: Pulled Beef: 80001

Consumers may return any can of these Evanger’s products to their place of purchase for a full refund for the inconvenience.

Customers may contact the company at 1-847-537-0102 between 10am and 5pm Central Time, Monday - Friday with any questions.

WellPet has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited amount of one canned topper product due to potential elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone.

Recalled Product Details:
  • Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs – 13.2 oz
  • Best-By Dates of 02 FEB 19, 29 AUG 19 and 30 AUG 19 (located on the bottom of the can)

These WellPet products have the potential to contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone.

Elevated levels may affect a dog’s metabolism and can be associated with anxiousness, increased thirst, increased urinary output and weight loss.

However, with prolonged consumption these symptoms may increase in severity and may include vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid or difficulty breathing.

While multiple studies indicate that, for the vast majority of pets, symptoms are reversible once the pet stops eating product with elevated thyroid hormone, if your pet has consumed this product and has exhibited any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Camelle Kent, chief executive officer of WellPet, the maker of Wellness products, said, “We fully intend on maintaining the trust you have placed in us to keep your pets healthy and happy, and are removing this product as part of our ongoing commitment to quality and food safety.”

If you have any of the 13.2 oz recipe with these three best-by dates, please email WellPet at wecare@wellpet.com or call 1-877-227-9587.

Blue Buffalo is voluntarily recalling one production lot of BLUE Wilderness® Rocky Mountain RecipeTM Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs.

Like Wellness, this product has the potential to contain elevated levels of the beef thyroid hormones.

Wet Food for Adult Dogs 12.5 oz cans with a UPC code of 840243101153 and best before date of June 7, 2019 are impacted.

Consumers who have purchased this product should dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Blue Buffalo at 866-201-9072 from 8am to 5pm Eastern Time Monday through Friday, or by email at  CustomerCare@bluebuffalo.com for more information.

EuroCan Manufacturing is voluntarily recalling Lot Number 84 consisting of its individually shrink-wrapped, 6-pack, 12-pack and 25-pack bags of Barnsdale Farms®, HoundsTooth® and Mac's Choice® Pig Ears because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

The pig ears were distributed throughout the United States and Canada.

Consumers who have purchased any of the above-described Barnsdale Farms® pig ears should return product to the place of purchase for a refund.

Contact the company Monday – Friday from 9am to 5 pm Eastern Standard Time at (888) 290-7606 with any questions.

Stay on top of pet food recalls by visiting the AVMA or FDA websites.