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New strain of bluetongue spreads in the Netherlands
More than 700 Dutch farms have been affected by the outbreak.

UK farmers warned to remain vigilant.

A new strain of bluetongue virus (BTV-3) is quickly spreading between farms in the Netherlands, raising fears that it could reach the UK.

In response, Ruminant Health and Welfare (RH&W) has led a series of emergency meetings in the past week. More than 40 stakeholders and representatives from the farming industry across the UK have taken part in the discussions.

Farmers are being urged to source animals from Europe responsbily, proritise biosecurity, monitor livestock closely and report any signs of the disease.

Since first being identified in the Netherlands in early September, the BTV-3 strain has spread to more than 700 farms in the country. A new case has also recently been reported in Belgium.

Great Britain last experienced a major outbreak of bluetongue in 2007.

Dr Joseph Henry, president of the Sheep Veterinary Society and member of RH&W’s steering group, said: “What we are advising is three-fold. Farmers need to beware when buying animals in, especially from Europe, take action to report any signs of the disease, and at all times, remain vigilant.”

Another member of the RH&W steering group, Cat Mclaughlin,
chief animal health and welfare advisor for the National Farmers' Union, added: “Currently, there are no reports of the new strain in the UK. But it is felt that due to the nature of bluetongue’s ability to spread via infected midges, and current warm weather conditions, the risk of it reaching the UK is increasing, so we must adhere to advice and do all we can to keep it out.”

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease. Anyone suspecting a case must report it to the Animal and Plant Health Agency.


Image (C) Shutterstock

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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

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News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.