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Northern Ireland to consult on proposals to eradicate bovine TB
Mr Huey reports that the rates of bovine TB in Northern Ireland continue to rise.
Chief vet Robert Huey notes significant rise in incidence of the disease

A public consultation on proposals to eradicate Bovine TB (bTB) in Northern Ireland has been launched.

The consultation document comes in response to a report produced by the independent TB Strategic Partnership Group. Published in December 2016, the report made several recommendations including approaches to dealing with TB in wildlife and how to address bTB risk in the industry.

Chief veterinary officer for Northern Ireland, Robert Huey, said: “I am all too aware of the devastating impact of bovine TB right across the Northern Ireland agriculture industry. The rates of bovine TB continue to rise and latest figures show a herd incidence rate of 9.26 per cent.

“Given the significant rise in the incidence of bovine TB, the concern of the farming community and the pressure that rising bovine TB Programme costs has on our budget, the Department has decided that, in the broader public interest, we should move forward with a consultation on proposals responding to the recommendations made by TBSPG last December.”

The key proposals are:

    •    new management/partnership arrangements with a Northern Ireland Eradication Partnership Board, three sub-regional boards and ad hoc local disease teams;
    •    a number of enhancements and additions to the existing bovine TB Eradication Programme;
    •    a programme of badger removal and vaccination in targeted areas;
    •    greater emphasis and ownership by the farming industry on reducing risk through better herd health management;
    •    changes to the compensation system and the introduction of a payment for an annual herd test.

Mr Huey continued: “I would strongly encourage all those who are interested both inside and outside the farming community to read the proposals in full, as a package of measures which we believe can achieve bovine TB eradication, and respond as fully as possible to the consultation."

The consultation is now live and runs until 1 February 2018. 

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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.