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Horse racing cancelled after equine flu outbreak
BHA said the fact that cases were seen in vaccinated horses ‘presents a cause for significant concern’. (Stock photo)
Concern after three cases confirmed in vaccinated horses 

Horse racing on all British racecourses has been cancelled today (7 February) after an outbreak of equine influenza among vaccinated horses.

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) confirmed three positive cases in horses at an active racing yard.

According to the British Horseracing Authority, which took the decision to cancel today’s racing, horses from the infected yard raced at Ayr and Ludlow yesterday, potentially exposing a significant number of horses from yards across the country and in Ireland.

In a statement, BHA said the fact that cases were seen in vaccinated horses ‘presents a cause for significant concern over welfare and the potential spread of the disease’.

The outbreak follows reports of a number of cases across Europe and the UK, including several in vaccinated horses.

Work has been done to identify which yards could have been exposed yesterday and to take necessary actions. BHA is communicating with yards to ensure quarantine and biosecurity measures are put in place, as well as restricting horse movements to avoid possible further spread of the disease.

The full extent of potential exposure is currently unknown but BHA said it is working quickly, alongside AHT, to understand as much as possible. Any trainer with concerns about the health of their animals should contact their vet.

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.