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Vigilance urged in France amid equine herpesvirus outbreaks
Vaccination remains an effective preventive measure against equine herpesvirus.
Around 200 horses thought to have been affected

French officials have urged vigilance after several outbreaks of equine herpesvirus among competition horses.

The French monitoring agency RESPE has confirmed 22 outbreaks of the disease, mainly in the west of the country. However, outbreaks have also been confirmed in IIde-de-France, the East and Gironde.

Some 200 sick or suspicious horses are thought to have been affected by the outbreaks. However, not all cases are reported to RESPE, so the actual figure is believed to be higher.

Cases have been confirmed in sport horses, thoroughbreds and trotters. Farms and at least one training centre have also been affected.

The exact source of the outbreak has not been established. But RESPE suspects links to equestrian events between several hostels housing sport horses.

Several equestrian competitions were cancelled over the weekend whilst others took place with preventative measures. RESPE’s Crisis Unit has advised sites that have recently hosted infected horses to suspend events and competitions on their premises.

The Crisis Unit has also urged horse owners who have participated in affected areas to increase surveillance of their animals and to avoid competition grounds whilst awaiting sample results.

“Typing and characterization of viral strains is under way in the various outbreaks to allow us to understand the peculiarities of this epizootic," it said. "The first results point to the circulation of several different viral strains."

It added that vaccination remained an effective preventive measure.

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”