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Researchers trace origins of zoonoses to Neolithic period
From the earliest days of animal farming, conditions were created for goats to become reservoirs of Brucella Melitensis.

Study explores role of early animal domestication

The origins of zoonoses was a result of farming and can be traced back to the Neolithic period, according to new research.

The study, published in the Royal Society Open Science Journal, explored the role of early animal domestication in the origins of brucellosis.

It found that from the earliest days of animal farming, conditions were created for goats to become reservoirs of Brucella Melitensis, promoting the exposure of humans to a new pathogen.

Researchers say the finding supports the idea that the transition from food collection to production during the neolithic transition, while allowing for larger human population sizes, resulted in significant adverse effects on human health and wellbeing.

It also shows the importance of recognising the complexity of eco-systems, where it is often hard to obtain a holistic impression of the different types of impacts that a particular change in the system has, they add.

The study was conducted by the RVC, together with the City University of Hong Kong, and the University of Reading.

Dr Guillaume Fournié of the RVC commented: “It is generally accepted that the creation of large and dense animal populations has facilitated the emergence of infectious diseases in humans. However, the impact of changes in the demographic profiles of livestock populations on disease epidemiology requires further attention, as it may be a key factor in promoting disease transmission.”
 
Dr Robin Bendrey of the University of Reading added: “Such work can be used to target genetic research to those areas which are most likely to produce direct evidence for the presence of the pathogen in archaeological remains.”

Image (C) RVC.

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New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

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Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”