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Gaza zoo rescue mission postponed
FOUR PAWS aims to resume the rescue mission once the situation has improved.

Borders closed owing to violent escalations

Plans to evacuate 40 animals from Gaza's most notorious zoo have been postponed due to ongoing unrest.

Veterinary charity FOUR PAWS had planned to rescue the animals from Rafah Zoo in March and transfer them to sanctuaries in Jordan and South Africa. But owing to violent escalations on the Gaza strip, the borders have been closed, preventing the team from entering the country.

The charity aims to resume the rescue mission once the situation has improved. Until then, locals inside the Gaza borders are lending their support by feeding the animals.

FOUR PAWS veterinary surgeon and head of mission Dr Amir Khalil said: “Due to the closed borders, it was impossible for our team to enter Gaza. However, we are keeping an eye on the situation and the rescue will take place once the security situation has stabilised.

“We remain on standby and are ready to go through with the rescue at any time. No matter how long we have to wait, we will not give up on the animals of Rafah Zoo”.

Rafah Zoo attracted worldwide attention in January when it emerged that four lion cubs had frozen to death due to harsh weather and poor keeping conditions. A few weeks later a lioness was brutally declawed with a set of garden shears.

The zoo opened on the Egyptian border in 1999 and, from there, wild animals are repeatedly smuggled through underground tunnels to and from Gaza. Since the zoo opened, many of the animals have died in rocket attacks and war battles.

At the time of writing, a petition calling for the zoo’s closure had reached more than 153,000 signatures.


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Dogs Trust announces winners of vet student awards

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 Cambridge vet student James Jewkes has been awarded first place in the annual Dogs Trust EMS Awards, for his paper on the threat of exotic infectious diseases in rehoming centres. James will now go on a two-week placement at the WVS International Training Centre in South India.

Each year the awards allow vet students to gain hands-on experience during work placements at 13 of the charity’s rehoming centres, then submit reports on a relevant subject.  

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Former RCVS president to chair new Horse Welfare Board

Former RCVS president Barry Johnson has been appointed as the independent chair of a new Horse Welfare Board. Barry, who is also past chairman of World Horse Welfare, was selected by an industry panel including the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and The Horsemen’s Group.

The welfare board aims to develop a new welfare strategy covering the whole racing industry. Mr Johnson said: “I’m very pleased to have been asked by racing to take on this role and by the sport’s commitment to continuous improvement in the welfare of racehorses."