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No-deal Brexit could spark rise in demand for horse health checks
The UK would be required to apply as a listed country before horses could travel to the EU.
BVA issues warning amid concerns over veterinary shortages

A ‘no-deal’ Brexit could spark a rise in demand for vets to carry out testing on horses, the BVA has warned, at a time when the workforce is already experiencing significant shortages.

The warning follows the publication of Defra’s technical notice on animal movements which suggests that, in a no-deal scenario, there could be hurdles to clear before horses are allowed to travel to the EU from the UK.

The UK would be required to apply as a listed country before horses could travel, but horses would be subjected to a wide array of disease testing before they would be cleared.

If additional blood tests are required, the increased cost is estimated to be between £200 and £500 depending on the third country category the UK is placed in after leaving the EU.

Currently, a vet needs to hold a recognised equine exports qualification, in addition to their veterinary degree, to be authorised to sign an export health certificate. But a recent BVA survey of Official Veterinarians found that 66 per cent who currently hold this module are not planning to renew their qualification when it is next required.  

“A no-deal Brexit could see a surge in demand for vets to carry out disease checks on horses, heaping pressure on this specialist section of the workforce when they are already experiencing uncertainty and shortages,” said BVA president Simon Doherty.

“It’s doubly worrying that two-thirds of vets holding the required equine exports module plan to drop this qualification. This is partly due to some concerns about the current training and revalidation system being onerous, costly and not fit for purpose, and we have been working with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to help identify where improvements could be made.”

He continues: “Finally if this situation comes to pass it will be critical that laboratories have the capacity and required support to deal with such a huge increase in demand for their services.  We will continue to engage with the government on these points as part of our wider activity supporting members and exploring the potential impacts of a no-deal Brexit on the workforce and animal welfare.”

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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.”