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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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Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."


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News Shorts
AHDB Pork calls for stepped-up biosecurity

Pig farmers are being urged to step up biosecurity to reduce the risk of swine dysentery in their herds.

According to Farmers Weekly, AHDB Pork have confirmed cases in the north and east of the UK and is calling on producers to focus on hygiene to protect their animals.

Members of the AHDB Pork Significant diseases charter are reported to have been informed of the outbreaks.