- American anti-vaccination campaigner Dr Sherri Tenpenny has cancelled her speaking tour of Australia amid security concerns.
- Concern amongst horse owners that the Hendra vaccine has major side effects including death is mounting, despite authorities and the drug manufacturer disputing the claims.
- A couple Mark and Helen Tyler from Willunga Hill who sold “shares” in their cows to supply unpasteurised milk are on trial in Adelaide for breaching food standards.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 30th January 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
American anti-vaccination campaigner Dr Sherri Tenpenny has cancelled her speaking tour of Australia amid security concerns.
The controversial speaker had booked appearances in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Gold Coast, however a number of venues had cancelled because of mounting complaints from the public.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Dr Tenpenny said that “pro-vaccine extremists had made continual, anonymous threats of vandalism and violence” and that organisers could no longer guarantee the safety of attendees.
Fellow anti-vaccination campaigner Australian Stephanie Messenger had been due to speak with Dr Tenpenny and had organised much of the tour.
“Some people were planning to bring babies,” she said in the Facebook statement.
“The threats have been persistent.
“We are not able to insure that the attendees would be safe from harm.”
Ms Messenger also claimed that “pro-vaccine extremists have been sabotaging the venues and have threatened to disrupt the normal business operations of the locations during the meetings”.
The tour organisers said additional options for Dr Tenpenny were being considered but were not confirmed at this time.
They said that refunds would be issued for all tickets sold.
Virologist and pro-vaccine campaigner Dr David Hawkes said the cancellation of the tour was a win for people who were concerned about public health.
Concern amongst horse owners that the Hendra vaccine has major side effects including death is mounting, despite authorities and the drug manufacturer disputing the claims.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, which issues vaccine permits to vets, has confirmed seven cases where the death of a horse had a ‘possible’ link to the Hendra vaccine.
A group called ‘Say No To Hendra’ has formed on social media to encourage horse owners to share their Hendra vaccine experiences.
The group has over 3,000 members and consists of horse owners, vets and prominent members of the equine industry, including six-time Olympic equestrian rider Vicki Roycroft.
Ms Roycroft said the group formed as a way to discuss what she called the ‘misinformation’ spread by drug manufacturer Zoetis.
“This vaccine has been developed by a very large drug company,” she said.
“People have been aware of the virus [for 20 years], but since this vaccine has come out it’s been ‘vets are going to die’ and ‘children are going to die’.
“There has been very misleading advertisements, you know, full page ads [that imply] ‘everyone’s in danger, everyone’s going to die’.
“That’s the problem. There’s this hysteria and scaremongering going around.”
The Hendra vaccine was released in 2012, but is still being assessed by the APVMA and is yet to be registered. Until then, only vets who have been issued a permit by the APVMA can administer the vaccine.
Despite her concerns about the vaccine and its lack of registration status, Ms Roycroft said she did not consider herself to be ‘anti-Hendra vaccine’.
Equestrian Queensland chairman Peter Toft said he was not against the use of the vaccine either, but said he does not believe vaccination should be touted as ‘a broad-blanket, mandatory situation’.
A south-east Queensland vet said she refuses to administer the Hendra vaccine to horses because she does not trust it, despite having a permit to do so.
A couple who sold “shares” in their cows to supply unpasteurised milk are on trial in Adelaide for breaching food standards.
Prosecutor David White said Mark and Helen Tyler from Willunga Hill, south of Adelaide, operate what is known as a “house cow share scheme” for about 30 milking cows.
They offer shares to the public for about $30 each, which allows people to take home bottles of unpasteurised milk, also known as raw milk, after paying an additional “boarding fee”.
Mr White said the Government did not allow the sale of unpasteurised milk under the Food Act because of public health concerns.
It is, however, legal to drink unpasteurised milk from your own cow.
Mr Tyler brought a cow to the Christies Beach Magistrates Court to show people what they were buying when they bought shares.
He argued they were buying into a cow rather than purchasing milk.
Shareholder Rachael Tyson said she supported the couple because she believed raw milk had health benefits.
The trial heard evidence from Lance Holberton, who helped carry out an investigation for Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA).
He purchased a share in a cow and collected some milk after paying his boarding fee.
His interaction is the subject of the first charge against the Tylers – selling milk that did not comply with the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC).
The samples were tested and showed microbiological contents well in excess of allowable levels under food standards.
The trial is listed to run for three days.
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