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UK and Australia collaborate in simulated ASF exercise
The exercise will contribute to the skills of specialised teams that make rapid risk assessments required in an ASF biosecurity emergency.

Nations work to strengthen joint disease control strategies

The UK and New South Wales government in Australia are collaborating this week on a joint, simulated exercise, to test and strengthen biosecurity measures in the event of an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

There has never been an outbreak of ASF in the UK, and there are substantial measures in place to protect against it. However, it is a major risk to both Australia and the UK’s pig industries, due to trade links and proximity to affected regions in Asia and Europe.

Current biosecurity measures dictate that, in the event of an outbreak, UK and Australian governments will put in place movement controls for all pig-related businesses, possibly including feed delivery, slaughter houses, pig breeding units or movement of animals to sale.

According to the UK government’s statement, this exercise’s main purpose is to assess how the movement restrictions would be applied in practice to best manage an ASF outbreak. Experts in risk assessment, epidemiology, science and disease control policy from Australia and the UK are taking part, working to develop strategies to control ASF.

The exercise takes place over three days, beginning on Wednesday 29 January. The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will be working alongside Local Land Services and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong. At the same time, teams from Defra and the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) will be participating in the exercise in London, UK.

Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer, said: “The UK has strong links with Australia and scientific cooperation is one of them, so I welcome this initiative to share information and experience, helping us to maintain our high biosecurity standards.”

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New 'DoggyLottery' to raise funds for rescue centres

News Story 1
 A new 'DoggyLottery' to raise funds for dog rescue centres in the UK will launch on Saturday (4 July). Every four weeks, five different rescue centres will be connected to the lottery, providing much-needed funds - particularly during COVID-19 - and providing vital online exposure.

A weekly game costs £1.50 and entrants will have the chance of being one of 20 guaranteed winners. A massive 60 per cent of the raised funds will go towards the dog rescue centres, more than double that donated by leading lottery companies to charitable causes.

To find out more and play the lottery, visit www.doggylottery.co.uk  

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News Shorts
International Cat Care appoints new head of veterinary division

International Cat Care (ICC) has announced the appointment of Nathalie Dowgray as head of the charity's veterinary division.

Nathalie, who is an RCVS advanced practitioner in feline medicine, will lead the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and a play key role in advancing knowledge and research in feline medicine.

Claire Bessant, iCatCare's chief executive said: "We're absolutely delighted to be welcoming Nathalie to the charity. She brings a depth and breadth of feline expertise and understanding which fits perfectly with the charity's work and development, and her enthusiasm for cats is infectious."