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Scientists discuss new approaches to equine grass sickness
“I genuinely feel we are at the beginning of the end of a century of research to find a solution to something that is the worst fear of every horse owner” - Kate Thompson.

The cause of the often-fatal disease remains a mystery. 

Leading scientists with no previous experience of Equine Grass Sickness (EGS) gathered in Edinburgh on Thursday (24 March) for a day exploring new approaches to the disease.

Experts from across the fields of veterinary immunology, genetics, and molecular biology met with an array of environmental scientists for a day of discussion and debate at the Moredun Research Institute.

The participants listened to talks from experts in EGS for more than eight hours before being grouped into their various disciplines to identify new areas of research.

Event organiser and Moredun’s principal investigator, Dr Beth Wells, said: “Bringing together so many disciplines in one room, for one day, to discuss an animal disease they have no previous knowledge of is unique. 

“Their input is a game-changer in terms of generating new areas of research or new technologies that can revive previous research. The Equine Grass Sickness Fund needs more funding to support research in new areas. We appeal to the industries that benefit from equine ownership and sport to provide the funding we need to bring an end to the misery of Equine Grass Sickness.”

Equine Grass Sickness is the most devastating disease affecting horses, but its cause remains a mystery.

Healthy sport, leisure and family horses might be discovered dead in their fields and stables without explanation. In some circumstances, horses develop depression, which rapidly leads to an inability to swallow and digest forage.

Kate Thompson, from the Equine Grass Sickness Fund, shared her optimism that  EGS can become a disease of the past.

“I am so grateful for Moredun Research Institute taking a lead with such an innovative and productive event,” she said. “I genuinely feel we are at the beginning of the end of a century of research to find a solution to something that is the worst fear of every horse owner.”

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk