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‘Meat testing’ press release criticised by RUMA
RUMA said the press release fails to acknowledge the strict regulation of all antibiotic use in farm animals.
Randox Health tested beef for antibiotic residue at Aintree kitchens

RUMA has strongly criticised a press release by the Grand National sponsor Randox Health for making ‘inaccurate and misleading’ statements about the use of antibiotics in farm animals.

Randox issued the press release last week, saying it tested meat for traces of antibiotics before serving it from the Aintree kitchens to around 12,000 people. The Ladymoor Farm Beef was given the ‘all-clear’ by Randox’s Food Diagnostic division after being tested using its Biochip Array Technology.

According to its website, Randox offers ‘tools for the screening of antimicrobials, growth promoting hormones and drugs of abuse in animals and produce’. The company said it wanted to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and is ‘working closely with the industry to promote a responsible approach to antibiotic use in farm animals’.

However, RUMA, which promotes the responsible use of medicines in farm animals, said the press release fails to acknowledge the strict regulation of all antibiotic use in farm animals, and the withdrawal periods observed to avoid the presence of antibiotics in meat, milk and other products. It also confuses residue testing with the separate issue of antibiotic resistance.

RUMA secretary John Fitzgerald referred to the press release as “an ill-conceived PR stunt” and called it “irresponsible and incorrect” to imply consumers would be harmed by antibiotics from any farm produce, when residue levels have long been tightly controlled.

“Regarding the altogether different issue of antibiotic resistance, its relationship to the testing of meat for residues is bewildering,” he added. “Antibiotic resistance is complex enough already; it should be a moral duty to clarify the facts rather than cause further confusion or, worse still, seek to use it for economic gain.”

Randox was also chastised for attributing a rise in human prescriptions of ‘last resort’ drugs to farm animals, when RUMA says farm animal sales of all antibiotics, including high priority drugs, have fallen.

RUMA said it had contacted Randox for urgent clarification. 

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Giraffe Conservation Foundation named BVNA’s charity of the year

News Story 1
 BVNA president Wendy Nevins has named The Giraffe Conservation Foundation as the association’s charity of the year for 2017/2018.

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation dedicates its work to a sustainable future for wild giraffe populations. Wendy Nevins said: ‘I have chosen the Giraffe Conservation Foundation for the BVNA Charity of the Year because I have always thought Giraffes were magnificent animals.

‘I also think it is important that we look at the wider issue of conservation and education across all species.’  

News Shorts
Scientists win award for openness in animal research

UK scientists have won an award for the 360ş Laboratory Animal Tours project, which offered the public an online, interactive tour of four research facilities that are usually restricted access.

The project won a public engagement award at the Understanding Animal Research (UAR) Openness Awards, which recognise UK research facilities for transparency on their use of animals in research, as well as innovation in communicating with the public.

The tour was created by the Pirbright Institute, the University of Oxford, the University of Bristol and MRC Harwell Institute.