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Moredun announces novel louping ill project
Louping ill is a serous tick-borne virus of sheep and red grouse.
Scientists to develop new vaccine with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

The Moredun Research Institute and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) have joined forces in a bid to combat the growing issue of looping ill, a serious tick-borne virus of sheep and red grouse.

In the 1930s, Moredun developed an effective louping ill vaccine, but it was recently withdrawn from manufacture. The vaccine had been hailed as a game changer for sheep farmers and grouse moor managers alike.

Recently, tick populations have been growing and been expanding their reach into areas where they previously had not been an issue. With this came a rise in tick-borne illnesses and, in the absence of a louping ill vaccine, serious losses in both sheep and red grouse.

“We have had many reports from our hill farming members that they have been losing sheep, mainly ewe hoggs to louping ill, some losing up to 25 per cent of their replacement females which is a serious loss,” explained Dr Beth Wells from the Moredun Research Institute.

“We already have successful partnerships with GWCT and are delighted they have joined us in a new project to work towards a novel vaccine for louping ill control.”

Scientists have identified potential candidates for a new generation louping ill vaccine. These will require further research to ensure they cause an immune response in sheep and protect animals against louping ill.

“This important work will be vital in the fight against LIV, and GWCT is pleased to have been able to help in raising the funds for the Moredun’s work as a separate initiative to our core fundraising activity,” said Dr Adam Smith of the GWCT.

Moredun chair Ian Duncan Miller added: “This research illustrates the benefits of working in partnership and we are very pleased to be working alongside GWCT with this project, which is of extreme importance to both of our industries. This project takes Moredun back to its roots in tackling a really serious disease in the hills and uplands.”

Researchers said the project is due to start later this year and, if successful, will be pushed towards commercialisation ‘as soon a possible’.

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for three months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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LOVE Gorgie Farm seeking veterinary volunteers

LOVE Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is looking for people with veterinary and animal care experience, who would be interested in volunteering to help care for its animals during these difficult times.

The community-owned charity farm opened to the public only last month, but decided to close temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its three-person team is working to care for the animals behind the scenes and the farm is now operating as a food bank for the public, delivering free breakfasts to local school children.

In an effort to build a contingency plan to secure the welfare of its animals, LOVE Gorgie Farm is looking for volunteers who would be able to step in if any team members fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact gorgie@l-o-v-e.org.uk