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BVA welcomes Defra announcement on bovine TB
"We hope this news will provide further motivation for those farms that are currently TB free but do not yet meet the six-year threshold" - Simon Doherty, BVA president.
Move to reduce testing burden on lower-risk farms 

BVA president Simon Doherty has welcomed a government announcement on bovine TB (bTB).

On Tuesday (18 December), Defra announced that farmers with herds in the Edge Area of England who have remained clear of bovine TB for at least six years will be able to revert to annual, rather than six-monthly, testing.

Defra hopes the move will reduce the testing burden on lower-risk farms and incentivise other farms to take steps to mitigate their risk of bTB. The change will take effect in May 2019.

“From stringent biosecurity to the application of risk-based trading principles, farmers need to be doing everything they can to stop this disease spreading,” said farming minister George Eustice. “As a Government we will also continue to robustly apply a range of interventions, including cattle movement controls, increased and better TB testing and licensed badger control in certain areas.”

Responding, BVA president Simon Doherty said the BVA was 'pleased to see the government taking a risk-based approach to TB testing' and reducing the burden on lower-risk farms. He added the change reflects recommendations BVA made earlier this year, that Cattle Health Certification Standards should be prioritised and incentivised, with compliance linked to reduced testing and regulatory burden.

“Farms that have been accredited under the industry-led scheme require a raft of biosecurity measures to be in place and we hope this news will provide further motivation for those farms that are currently TB free but do not yet meet the six-year threshold,” he said.

“We welcome the second round of applications for the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme, and the accompanying grants, to create a buffer zone between the highest and lowest risk areas of England. Halting the spread of bovine TB is essential and it is vital that we continue to take a comprehensive, collaborative and risk-based approach to curbing this devastating disease.”

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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.”