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New app aims to help tackle ASF
ASF COMBAT allows pig farmers to improve biosecurity on their premises.
ASF COMBAT identifies areas for biosecurity improvement

Pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim has developed a new app to help farmers protect their stock from African swine fever.

ASF COMBAT allows pig farmers to improve biosecurity on their premises by completing a short questionnaire based on scientific literature and practical experience.

While the risk of the virus is higher in ASF-affected areas, all farms must be prepared and understand the risks they face, the company said. The app highlights the most important risk areas to allow improved biosecurity, pig flow, management and feeding practices.

Risk areas covered by the app are:
  • Animals - ASF virus spreads by direct contact, and live animals can carry the virus.
  • Transport - vehicles that have carried infected pigs can be a risk to other farms because ASF virus is highly resistant in the environment.
  • People - how farm staff behaves can affect the risk profile of the farm.
  • Management - the daily routines on the farm are critical in the prevention of ASF entering the herd.
  • Feeding - ASF virus can stay infective in kitchen scraps, catering waste or food leftovers contaminated with infected pork.
  • Location - proximity to infected swine, wild boar can pose serious risk that need to be understood.

Boehringer said the app is intended to identify potential areas for improvement, not to replace the advice of a veterinary surgeon or health authorities.

ASF COMBAT can be downloaded as an app from the Apple Store or Google Play, or accessed online: 


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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”