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Chief vets raise awareness of African Swine Fever risk
"ASF presents an important and increasing risk to the pigs in the UK" - Christine Middlemiss, CVO UK.
Vets urged to report any suspect cases to the APHA 

Chief veterinary officers have joined forces to raise awareness of the risk of African swine fever (ASF) to the UK’s pig population.

Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer (CVO) UK, Robert Huey, CVO Northern Ireland, Sheila Voas, CVO Scotland and Christianne Glossop, CVO Wales have all endorsed an article raising awareness of the growing risk of the disease, which has been spreading throughout eastern and central Europe.

Christine Middlemiss, CVO UK, said: “ASF presents an important and increasing risk to the pigs in the UK. In an outbreak, heightened disease control measures and a potential ban on pork exports could have a financial impact on the pig industry.

“The arrival of ASF would also affect the modest export market of our native rare breed pigs, and those with small populations and genetic pools could be heavily compromised if they had to be culled for disease control purposes.

“We must all play our part in raising awareness with all pig owners of this significant risk, promoting good biosecurity, and ensuring early detection and effective control if the worst happens.”

The article was sent to official veterinarians on Thursday (8 November) by the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA). Together with information on how to keep pigs free of ASF, the article also includes images of the clinical signs and pathology of ASF.

‘Anything you can do to promote these messages amongst your colleagues and to your pig-keeping clients is valuable in reducing the risk of introduction of ASF to the UK, whether their pigs are pets, or in small-scale or commercial herds,’ said the APHA. ‘In addition, if you are visiting clients who have pigs, take the opportunity to discuss and demonstrate best biosecurity practices to them.’

Anyone who suspects they have identified ASF is urged to report the disease immediately to the APHA. Guidance on how to spot and report the disease can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/african-swine-fever 

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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.”