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Philippines confirms first outbreaks of ASF
Strict quarantine and monitoring protocols are in place to protect pig farms elsewhere in the country.
Fourteen out of 20 samples test positive 

The Philippines has culled more than 7,000 pigs following the country’s first outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF).

Agriculture secretary William Dar told a press briefing that 14 out of 20 samples tested positive for ASF at a UK laboratory.

Tests are ongoing to confirm if the strain is similar to that seen in Vietnam and China.

According to local news reports, the outbreaks occurred in two towns close to the capital Manila. Authorities suspect the source of the infection could be backyard pig keepers feeding ‘swill’ - leftover food scraps from hotels and restaurants.

Other possible routes include frozen meat being smuggled into the country and overseas workers returning with infected pork products.

Strict quarantine and monitoring protocols are in place to protect pig farms elsewhere in the country. The Department for Agriculture also suspended ground operations in Rizal province to focus on cleaning and disinfecting.

The Philippine government is reassuring the public that it is safe to eat pork. Around 65 per cent of the country’s PHP260 billion (approx £4 billion) swine industry is contributed by small backyard pig keepers.

Myanmar and Serbia last month confirmed their first cases of ASF, while 130,000 pigs were culled in Bulgaria due to the virus between 19 July and 3 August.

The disease has spread widely across Asia, as well as to parts of central and Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. It has led to the deaths of more than 800,000 pigs and wild boar in Europe and around four million pigs in Asia.

Defra implemented a new campaign at UK borders in July, in a bid to keep ASF out of Britain. It is predicted that if the disease enters the UK, it could have a devastating impact on the country’s commercial pig industry, which numbers five million pigs.

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Celebrity chefs urge public to get baking to support Cats Protection fundraiser

News Story 1
 In support of Cats Protection's Pawsome Afternoon Tea fundraiser, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy have shared biscuit recipes to help keen bakers raise money for needy cats across April.

The celebrity chefs are both cat owners and have said that they hope this fundraiser will help to raise awareness of cats in need and the importance of adopting a cat, rather than buying one.

This is the fourth year Cats Protection has run its Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign, which encourages people to hold tea parties, bake sales and fundraising events to help raise money for the charity.

To view the recipes and other fundraising resources please visit the Cats Protection website. 

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News Shorts
BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.