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Young lambs at ‘very high’ risk of nematodirus
Warm weather in February put early-born lambs at risk.

Online map shows rising risk levels after temperature fluctuations

Young lambs are now at ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk of nematodirus in many parts of the UK, the latest forecast suggests.

Warm weather in February put early-born lambs at risk, meaning many farmers had to treat earlier than normal, according to SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites). Risk levels rose again after a cold start to April.

In cooler regions of the UK, temperatures are yet to reach the threshold, so SCOPS is advising farmers in these areas to watch the forecast carefully.

A new feature on the online map shows when each location has changed from one risk level to another. It suggests that many areas across the UK have risen to ‘very high’ risk in the past seven to 14 days.

Kerry Sykes-Marsden, a shepherd with 900 ewes in Lincolnshire, commented: “Based on the advice on the website we’ve treated lambs earlier this year and this has avoided the ‘wait and see’ approach when we haven’t acted in the past to see clinical signs.

"Some years we have just gone in and wormed at six weeks of age, which could be too early or, even worse, too late.”

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Wales to ban third party puppy and kitten sales

News Story 1
 The Welsh Government has said it will ban third party sales of puppies and kittens, after a consultation showed overwhelming public support.

A consultation in February received nearly 500 responses, most of whom called for greater action to improve the welfare of cats and dogs at all breeding premises.

Concerns were also raised about online sales, impulse buying, breeder accountability and illegal puppy imports.

A consultation will now be held on plans to implement a ban. Environment minister Lesley Griffiths said she will also revisit the current breeding regulations to improve welfare conditions.  

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News Shorts
WHO declares Congo Ebola outbreak an international health emergency

The World Health Organisation has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The move comes after a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for Ebola in the DRC. The committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma - a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.

The committee also reinforced the need to protect the livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open.