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Think before buying pet for Christmas, deputy chief vet says
In January, the USPCA had more than 50 animals waiting to be rehomed.
DAERA and USPCA make appeal to public.

As the festive season approaches, the public is being urged to think carefully before buying or adopting a pet as a Christmas present.

Northern Ireland’s Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has joined with animal welfare charity the Ulster Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) to remind the public that getting a pet is a long-term commitment.

Each year, rescue centres see an influx of pets being given up following the Christmas period. In January this year, the USPCA had more than 50 animals at its centre in need of rehoming.

The appeal comes at a time when centres across the UK are seeing high numbers of pets being given up as people struggle with the cost-of-living crisis.

Nora Smith, USPCA chief executive, said: “It may seem counter-intuitive that we do not encourage anyone to buy or adopt a new pet at Christmas given our centre is full of animals in need of a new home.

“However it’s an upsetting reality that in the weeks and months after Christmas we are often asked to take in puppies, kittens and other pets given as presents once the novelty has worn off.

“It’s not just young animals that come to us, older animals can be discarded to make way for new ones.”

People thinking about getting a pet are being asked to think carefully about the responsibility and to wait until after Christmas to allow more time and space to settle a new pet into the home.

Gemma Daly, Northern Ireland’s deputy chief veterinary officer, said: “Pets are often bought at Christmas as presents for loved ones and whilst there is no doubt potential owners are not seeking to do any harm, unfortunately, if careful consideration has not been given to the implications of bringing a new pet into a household, they can end up having to surrender them.

“Different pets have a range of important and diverse needs and it is critical that prospective owners ensure they can provide for an animal’s care and veterinary needs throughout their entire lifetime.

“Advice on how to care for a range of pets is available on NI Direct and prospective owners should first familiarise themselves with the responsibilities that come with being the owner of an animal before making any decisions on how to proceed.”

Image © Shutterstock

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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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News Shorts
Sixth case of bluetongue confirmed

A sixth case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 has been confirmed in the UK.

The case was detected in an animal on a premises linked to one of the farms within the Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) currently in place near Canterbury, Kent.

In response, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has extended the TCZ. Investigations into the spread of the disease are ongoing.

The cases in Kent come at a time when a new strain of the virus has spread rapidly across farms in the Netherlands. Both the Government and the British Veterinary Association have urged livestock keepers to remain vigilant.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and suspected cases must be reported immediately on 03000 200 301 in England or 03003 038 268 in Wales. In Scotland, possible cases should be reported to the local field services office.