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Concerns over rise in ‘anti-vax’ remedies online
“We are very concerned to see unlicensed, potentially dangerous and ineffective treatments being sold online."
Investigation uncovers misleading claims about 'nosodes' 

Millions of dogs and cats are said to be at risk from a rise in the number of ‘anti-vaccination’ remedies being sold online.

A recent Sunday Telegraph investigation revealed misleading claims that products made from the diseased flesh of animals could offer immunity from fatal conditions.

Online retail giant Amazon last week agreed to remove advertisements for such products, which are known as ‘homeopathic nosodes’.

According to The Telegraph, these treatments included Herpes Combination 50mg, which was described online as offering immunity to litters of puppies if tablets are administered to pregnant mothers.

Vets and animal welfare charities have raised concerns that owners opting for homeopathic remedies instead of vaccines could cause a rise in serious preventable diseases such as parvovirus and leptospirosis.

“This is truly frightening,” veterinary surgeon Danny Chambers told The Telegraph. “Safe and effective vaccines exist for these diseases. Using unregulated and scientifically implausible remedies bought from Amazon will leave your pet with no protection and at a high risk of contracting them.”

RSPCA veterinary director Caroline Allen added: “We are very concerned to see unlicensed, potentially dangerous and ineffective treatments being sold online and would urge people to report these products to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

“While there does seem to be an increasing amount of ‘anti-vax’ material online, this is not supported by a genuine evidence base.”

After being alerted to the Telegraph’s findings, a Defra spokesperson said: “It is illegal to sell products making false medicinal claims and we work closely with companies such as Amazon to stop this. We will bring these products to their attention immediately.”

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UK a step closer to ivory ban

News Story 1
 A UK ban on ivory sales is one step closer to coming into force, as the government has introduced the Ivory Bill to parliament. The ban covers items of all ages, rather than just ivory carved after 1947. Anyone breaching the ban will face an unlimited fine or up to five years in jail.

Conservationists have welcomed the bill, which comes less than six weeks after the government published the results of a consultation on this issue. Around 55 African elephants are now slaughtered for their ivory every day and the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year.  

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News Shorts
Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership.

Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.