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Living close to livestock reduces allergy risk
Protection tied to living close to a farm was strongest for those who lived near cattle or pigs.
Protection close to those who lived near cattle or pigs

Living close to livestock appears to reduce the risk of allergies, according to new research.

The study, published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, found that people who lived within 327 meters (1,073 feet) of a farm were less likely to experience allergies compared to those living more than 500m (1,640 feet) away.

Researchers found similar results when they looked specifically at pig and cattle farms.

Speaking to news agency Reuters, senior author Lidwien Smit of Utrecht University said: "For 20 years, a large number of studies have shown that allergies are less prevalent in farmers and farmers' children.

“Farming is actually one of the few environmental exposures consistently linked to respiratory allergies. It's important because the number of people affected by respiratory allergies has sharply increased over the last few decades."

More than 2,400 participants submitted blood samples to the study, which were analysed for allergy antibodies to cats, dogs, dust mites and grass. The researchers also used weather and geographic data to ascertain the distance of each person’s home from neighbouring farms, the types of animals on those farms, and to estimate dust emissions.  

They report that around 30 per cent of participants had allergies, mostly to grass and house dust mites. About a third of the participants had lived on a farm during childhood.

The team notes that protection tied to living close to a farm was strongest for those who lived near cattle or pigs, as well as those who grew up on a farm. 

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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.”