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New animal and human health research facility opens in Edinburgh
Left to right: Professor Jonathan Secki (University of Edinburgh), Dr Ian Campbell (Innovate UK), Professor John Loughhead (Dept. of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and Lyndsay Chapman (CIEL).

Facility will study how to produce livestock that are genetically more resistant to disease

A new £25 million facility designed to boost research into livestock and human health has been opened at the University of Edinburgh.

The Large Animal Research Imaging Facility (LARIF) will research how to produce livestock that are genetically more resistant to disease. Based at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies’ Easter Bush Campus, the facility will also research and develop improved vaccines for animals.

Furthermore, scientists at the facility will safeguard human health by helping to tackle food-borne infections and developing strategies against antimicrobial resistance.

The LARIF leverages state-of-the-art technology to offer in-depth studies into the health and wellbeing of all major farm livestock, including surgical, gene-editing and infection containment facilities.

Also housed at the LARIF is the Wellcome Trust-funded Critical Care Laboratory for Large Animals, which supports the study of large animal biology with all the resources of a human hospital.

European and RCVS-registered specialists in veterinary anaesthesia will provide 24-hour care for the animals involved in studies in the facility. Advanced, onsite-medical imaging equipment will also allow studies into degenerative and neurological diseases, body composition and the anatomy of large animals.

The facility was officially opened by Professor John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
 He said that agricultural technologies are important in supporting the agriculture industry to cut its emissions and develop sustainable farming practices.

“The LARIF illustrates the positive effects of successful collaboration between academia, industry and the Government in spreading knowledge and expertise while developing the technologies of the future,” he added.

Besides seeking to further understand livestock diseases, researchers at LARIF will also investigate human conditions. This means that treatments developed in large animals are more likely to be successful in people than those tested using rats and mice, helping to reduce the number of animals used overall.

"The LARIF is a unique and world-leading facility that significantly enhances our ability to study human and animal health,” said Professor David John Argyle, head of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. “Taking this multidisciplinary approach is a key focus for the University and can lead to significant advances in medicine, veterinary medicine and agricultural science.”

Image (C) University of Edinburgh.

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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