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Four new cases of equine influenza confirmed
The BHA is expected to make a decision this evening (11 February) about whether racing can recommence on Wednesday.

Vets confirm strain is Florida Clade 1 

Four further cases of equine influenza have been identified in vaccinated thoroughbreds at a yard in Newmarket.

The affected yard, which belongs to Simon Crisford, is one of 174 yards being subjected to testing as runners competed at the Newcastle fixture on 5 February, which was identified as an at-risk fixture.

No non-urgent journeys should be made to this yard and anyone wishing to travel there should contact the trainer’s office first, according to advice from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). The Newmarket community, including veterinary surgeries, trainers, farriers and the racing school are urged to continue to practice increased biosecurity.

Over the weekend, a further three cases of equine influenza were also detected at the original affected yard, bringing the total to six.

The strain of equine influenza has been confirmed as Florida Clade 1, which is endemic to North and South America, according to BHA’s veterinary committee. British horses are vaccinated against strains 1 and 2, and while cases are being seen in vaccinated horses, inoculatation still offers some protection, BHA said.

Thousands of nasal swabs have been sent out for testing and the Animal Health Trust is working to carry out testing as quickly as possible.

The BHA is expected to make a decision this evening (11 February) about whether racing can recommence on Wednesday.

David Sykes, director of equine health and welfare for the BHA, said on Sunday (10 February): “It remains paramount that, for the sake of our horse population, we do not take any unnecessary risks. This is not a common cold, it is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease.

“The prioritisation exercise with regards to testing will help deliver a detailed picture of the spread of infection. Targeted testing, alongside the wide survey of data we have already gathered, will help provide a clear picture as to the scale of the spread of the disease. Any decision will include guidance and input from veterinary experts, including the industry’s veterinary committee.”

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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RCVS Fellowship board chair elections get underway

Voting for the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Chair election is now underway. This year four candidates are standing for election, including Dr Robert Huey, Professor John Innes, Professor Liz Mossop and Professor Ian Ramsey.

The Chair will attend and preside over Fellowship meetings and take the lead in consolidating the Fellowship’s position as the learned society of the RCVS. Fellows will receive an email containing a link to the online voting form, as well as candidates’ details and manifestos. Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, 5 September.