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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Researchers say pig virus could be spread through animal feed

Researchers believe Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus could be passed along through animal feed. 

As of last month nearly 1,300 pigs in Minnesota had been diagnosed with PEDv, and only Iowa has seen more cases.  The illness kills all pigs less than four weeks old. Scott Dee, director of research for Pipestone Veterinary Clinic in Minnesota, says they recently collected feed residue from three farms in Iowa and Minnesota that had outbreaks of PEDv and had received feed from the same source. They fed it to five piglets in an experiment at South Dakota State University, and all became infected with the virus. Piglets that were not fed the infected feed did not get sick.  While feed may be a carrier of the virus it is not the source of it.  Dee says feed residue still in the bins was found to be contaminated. Earlier studies had looked into whether blood plasma used in pig feed could also be responsible for spreading the virus, but subsequent tests could not confirm a link.


A federal court case playing out in Minnesota pits farmers against government environmental regulators.  The American Farm Bureau Federation argues the Environmental Protection Agency is breaking federal law by releasing personal information about farmers and ranchers from 29 states --  including home addresses, GPS coordinates, telephone numbers, email addresses, and sometimes the personal information of family members.  EPA released data early last year to environmental groups that requested it under the Freedom of Information Act. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says that should worry everyone, not just farmers and ranchers.  The Farm Bureau and National Pork Producers Council filed the lawsuit last July to block EPA from responding to new requests for information about farmers and ranchers in six additional states, including Minnesota.  EPA agreed not to release that information until the court decides the lawsuit. 


The state canvassing board met today and certified results from last Tuesday's primary election.  Just more than ten-percent of the state's eligible voters cast ballots --  402-thousand.  Turnout was slightly higher than 2012, but below 2010 when the state last had a gubernatorial primary.  This year's top race was among Republicans in the gubernatorial race -- five candidates vying for the nomination.  Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson came out on top and will face Governor Mark Dayton in November.  


A former Wisconsin police officer suspected in the deaths of two women, one from Minnesota, has pleaded *not* guilty in one of several cases he's accused in.  Former West Allis police officer Steven Zelich denied killing Jenny Gamez of Oregon and also pleaded not guilty to hiding her corpse.  The Kenosha County case involved the 2012 death of 19-year-old Gamez, after the two reportedly played a sexual choking game at a Kenosha hotel.  The bodies of Gamez and 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Farmington were found in separate suitcases in early June along a rural roadside near Lake Geneva in far southeastern Wisconsin.  Charges are pending in Simonson's death.  She died in similar circumstances last fall in Rochester.  Zelich returns to court next month on two Walworth County charges of hiding corpses.