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Government testing foot and mouth contingency plans
Exercise Blackthorn will simulate a large-scale outbreak that has spread from England to the rest of the UK.
Officials to assess current state of readiness

Government departments across the UK are working together to test contingency plans for an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

‘Exercise Blackthorn’ will see officials from DAERA, the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, DEFRA and the APHA test all current contingency plans for an outbreak of the disease. The officials aim to assess the current state of readiness whilst identifying issues and areas for improvement.

“Regularly testing our contingency plans and joining up across the UK is an important part of assuring our capability to respond to disease outbreaks. Exercises like this provide an opportunity for teams across government and industry to engage and to learn lessons in a controlled and safe environment,” said chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens.
“The risk of foot and mouth disease arriving in the UK is low but ever-present. Government monitors disease outbreaks and incidence around the world assessing risk for the UK and taking action to mitigate risk where possible.”

Under the EU Foot and Mouth Disease Directive, Member States are required to exercise their contingency plans twice in a five-year period or during the five year period after a major epizootic disease has been controlled and eradicated.

Exercise Blackthorn will simulate a large-scale outbreak that has spread from England to the rest of the UK. The first simulation exercise took place on Thursday (8 February) and further exercises will be carried out over the next five months. 

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ISFM announces first veterinary nurse conference

News Story 1
 The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) - the veterinary division of International Cat Care - has announced its first annual conference dedicated to veterinary nurses. The day offers an opportunity to meet up with colleagues and enjoy more than five hours of stimulating CPD.

The conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-Upon-Avon, on Saturday 15 September 2018. Tickets are £95 per person and include lunch, coffee breaks, downloadable proceedings and CPD certificate. For details and to book your place visit  

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News Shorts
WSAVA awards Australian vet with 'Next Generation’ award

Australian vet Dr Guyan Weerasinghe has been crowned winner of the WSAVA ‘Next Generation’ Veterinary Award. The award recognises those who graduated within the last 10 years and have made a significant contribution to the welfare of companion animals and the veterinary profession as a whole.

Besides maintaining a small animal caseload, Dr Weerasinghe works for the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture where he is involved with animal disease surveillance and increasing the public health risks in veterinary practice. He also collaborates on various One Health projects across Australia and gives regular talks on the impact of climate change on animal health and welfare.

Dr Weerasinghe will receive his award at the WSAVA World Congress 2018 (25-28 September).