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EI outbreak: Horse racing resumes
A risk-managed return to racing began on Wednesday, with strict biosecurity controls in place.
No further positive test results, BHA confirms 

Horse racing in Britain resumed on Wednesday (13 February), after being suspended due to an outbreak of equine influenza (EI).

A total of 10 cases have been detected in vaccinated racing horses since last week. Racing was cancelled across the country after three initial cases were identified at an active racing yard.

Surveillance by the Animal Health Trust (AHT) revealed a further three cases at the same yard, and four cases at a separate yard in Newmarket.

Following the latest test results and consultation with its veterinary committee, the BHA announced that a risk-managed return to racing would take place, with strict biosecurity controls in place.

BHA’s chief regulatory officer Brant Dunshea said: “After analysis of thousands of samples, and no further positive tests on Monday, we still only have two confirmed sites of infection. We have put robust containment measures in place around both.

“From the testing and analysis conducted the disease appears to be contained at present. The BHA veterinary committee believe that the swift controls on movement that were put in place have clearly helped to restrict the spread of this virus.”

Dunshea acknowledged that there is "clearly some risk" attached to a return to racing. However, he added: “This risk has been assessed and, based on the evidence – and ensuring biosecurity measures are in place – the level of risk is viewed as acceptable.”

BHA developed a risk framework to categorise trainers by the level of risk they were exposed to. Decisions about whether runners can return to racing depend on the risk categories the yards have been placed into.

No entries or declarations will be accepted from horses that have not been vaccinated in the past six months. Trainers will be required to provide a health declaration on arrival at racecourses.

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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.