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Government steps up campaign to tackle African swine fever
The risk of ASF infection in the UK is currently considered to be low.
Pet pig keepers urged to complete survey on disease.

The UK government has launched a survey aimed at small-scale pig keepers, including smallholders, pet pig keepers and hobbyists, on African swine fever (ASF).

It forms part of a campaign to tackle the introduction and spread of ASF, which has devastated pig populations across much of China and has recently been circulating in parts of Europe.

The survey seeks to find out what small-scale pig keepers already know about the disease, identify their feeding and biosecurity practices, and discover what sources they refer to for guidance on keeping pigs.

Findings will be used to improve the information available to pig keepers to help protect the health of their pigs and the UK pig industry.

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss commented: “African swine fever has no cure and there are currently no effective vaccines. If it were to reach the UK, it would have a devastating impact on commercial pig keepers, small-scale pig keepers and pet pig keepers alike. Everyone who keeps pigs can take actions to contribute to keeping African swine fever out of the UK.

“If you are a small-scale pig keeper or keep pigs as pets, please complete the survey to help governments across the UK understand more about your knowledge of the disease and your pig keeping practices. This will help us to provide you with the information you need to protect the health of your pigs and all UK pigs.”

ASF is a notifiable disease of pigs that has caused serious production and economic loss across the globe. It is highly contagious and can result in death for almost all pigs that are infected.

In the UK, the risk of infection is currently considered to be low but is highly dependent on the level of biosecurity on individual pig premises.

The survey can be found here and closes on 31 August 2020.

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Zoo calls for volunteers in its hour of need

News Story 1
 As ZSL London Zoo begins to get back on its feet, the organisation is putting out a call for volunteers who have time to help out. It comes after three months of unprecedented closure, which has seen zoos across the UK come under enormous financial pressure.

Volunteers will be required to commit to a minimum of half a day each fortnight, helping to assist zoo visitors as they make their way around. Volunteer manager Rhiannon Green said: "We need cheery, flexible people who can help visitors enjoy their day while respecting the measures that keep everyone safe.

For more information, visit zsl.org. Posts are available at both London and Whipsnade Zoos. 

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News Shorts
BSAVA webinars to shine the spotlight on selected journal papers

A free series of webinars that take a closer look at selected papers published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice has been produced by the BSAVA.

In the new BSAVA Science webinar series, authors of the featured papers discuss their results with a panel and how they may impact clinical practice. The authors then answer questions submitted by audience members.

The webinars are available via the BSAVA Webinar Library, covering four different papers. JSAP editor Nicola Di Girolamo, said: "Discussing the research with the authors - experts in their field - really helps to bring the papers to life."