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Horse sanctuaries prepare for fireworks season
Last year, Redwings spent almost £1,500 to raise staffing levels during firework season.

Redwings is raising staffing levels to help keep its horses safe.

The equine rescue charity Redwings is preparing for fireworks season by increasing staffing levels at its south Norfolk centres.

There will be additional staff at centres where there aren’t live-in staff to allow for more regular checks on the animals in the charity’s care. The horses will also be provided with extra forage.

The charity knows from its own experiences the harm that nearby firework displays can cause to horses.

In 2016, two ponies at a Redwings sanctuary in Norfolk died after fireworks were set off close by. Sprite, a 19-year-old Welsh pony, was found with severe colic and had to be euthanised, and 25-year-old Percy had to be euthanised after injuring one of his front legs.

Another horse, Cinders, died at the charity’s centre near Harlow, Essex, after fireworks were let off in 2014.

Last year, the charity spent almost £1,500 to bring in staff for additional hours to look after the horses in its care during firework season.

To limit the stress that fireworks cause animals, the charity wants to see the law changed so that fireworks can only be set off as part of licensed events. Staff from Redwings will be attending a Fireworks Working Group for MPs House of Commons 6 December and the charity is supporting the RSPCA’s #BangOutOfOrder campaign.

Lynn Cutress, chief executive of Redwings, said: “As a prey species, horses are naturally fearful of loud noises. When they’re stressed and frightened they can exhibit ‘flight’ behaviours, like galloping to the point of exhaustion or trying to escape their enclosure because they feel unsafe. This can be dangerous for the horse and people who are near them, including potentially road users if horses become loose.

“The financial cost of the extra measures we take during the fireworks season is not insignificant to a charity like ours, but obviously our residents’ welfare is our top priority, and we do everything we can to keep them safe and happy.”

Image (C) Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
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NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.