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€5.6m funding to tackle ASF and LSD
LSD entered Europe, the Balkans and Caucasus for the first time in 2015 and caused the deaths of thousands of cattle.

DEFEND consortium addresses emerging threats 

A global consortium has been awarded €5.6 million to study two serious and emerging diseases in Europe - African swine fever and lumpy skin disease.

The consortium, called DEFEND, is being spearheaded by the Pirbright Institute in Surrey. It is comprised of 31 members from 21 countries in Europe, as well as Russia, Canada, Israel, Azerbaijan, South Africa and Australia.

Both ASF and LSD present an immediate and serious threat to the pig and cattle industries in Europe and eastern and central Asia.

Since 2007, ASF has moved through eastern Europe owing to the spread of infection by wild boar and the lack of a vaccine. It is highly contagious and causes a haemorrhagic syndrome in pigs with up to 100 per cent mortality.

Meanwhile LSD entered Europe, the Balkans and Caucasus for the first time in 2015 and caused the deaths of thousands of cattle.

DEFEND aims to control the growing epidemics by developing new tests and vaccines, understanding what drives outbreaks and working with decision makers to ensure appropriate and rapid responses.

The consortium’s work is split into 15 work packages. Pirbright contributors include Dr Pip Beard, who will work on an LSD vaccine for use in Europe and neighbouring countries; and Dr Chris Netherton, who will develop an ASF vaccine for wild boar and backyard pigs.

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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."