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bTB incidence drops in Gloucestershire and Somerset - Defra
“Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK."

Dismay as badger cull is rolled out to 11 new areas

The incidence of bovine TB has fallen in Gloucestershire and Somerset, new data from the government suggests.

Defra says bTB levels in the two areas are now around half what they were before the four-year pilot badger culls began.

TB incidence in Gloucestershire fell from 10.4 per cent before culling started, to 5.6 per cent in year four of the cull. Meanwhile, in Somerset, levels fell from 24 per cent to 12 per cent.

Announcing the new figures, the government also revealed that licences have been granted for badger culls in 10 new areas within the High Risk Area. One additional licence has been granted within the Low Risk Area in Cumbria.

In addition, a new round of applications has opened for Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme grants. The scheme was suspended for two years after a global vaccine shortage, before resuming in 2017.

Farming minister George Eustice said: “Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK. There is no single measure that will provide an easy answer which is why we are committed to pursuing a wide range of interventions to protect the future of our dairy and beef industries and eradicate the disease within 20 years.

“No one wants to be culling badgers forever so the progress reported today is encouraging.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust expressed “extreme dismay” that the county has now been granted a culling licence. Over 40,000 badgers could be culled by the end of 2018 as a result of the extension of the cull to new areas, the trust added.

Julian Woolford, chief executive, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “It is unacceptable that the government has not waited for the results of their own review – which we understand is to be published imminently – before forging ahead with another year of ineffective and expensive badger culling.

“The badger cull is a dangerous distraction from addressing the main route of bTB transmission in cattle which is between cattle.”

Senior policy manager Ellie Brodie added: “We’re calling on the government to invest in medicine, not marksmen. The costs of killing badgers are much higher than vaccinating them – it costs £496.51 to kill a badger compared with £82 to vaccinate a badger.”

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ZSL London Zoo shares animal X-rays

News Story 1
 A selection of X-ray images showing the inner workings of frogs, turtles, snakes and geckos have been shared by veterinary surgeons at ZSL London Zoo.

Taken as part of a routine health check, the images have been shared as part of ‘Vets in Action’ week - a hand’s on role-playing experience for children that explores the life of a zoo vet.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather Mackintosh said: “It’s great to be able to share the work that goes on behind the scenes at the Zoo to keep our residents in tip-top condition – and our visitors are always amazed to find out more about their favourite animals.” 

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News Shorts
Vets in developing nations given free access to BSAVA’s online library

BSAVA has teamed up with the WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to offer vets in developing nations free access to its online library.

The Association’s ‘Foundation Collection’ is comprised of more than 70 hours of articles, lectures and book chapters covering topics such as basic handling skills, working on a budget and emergency triage. Some of the countries set to benefit include Albania, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nicolette Hayward, of BSAVA International Affairs Committee said: “Our mission is to promote excellence in small animal practice through education and science, so we are delighted to work with WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to share these high-quality resources to the veterinary profession in low and middle-income countries.”