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PDSA Dickin Medal celebrates 80th anniversary
Simon is the only cat to have received the PDSA Dickin Medal.
Charity honours animals that served in armed forces.

Veterinary charity PDSA is marking 80 years of the PDSA Dickin Medal, which was founded during the Second World War to honour animals serving in the military.

On Sunday, 12 November, PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin laid a wreath at the Cenotaph to commemorate the animals who served during the two world wars.

The charity is also highlighting the stories of four previous recipients on a special page on its website.

PDSA founder Maria Dickin launched the medal in 1943 with the support of the War Office and Imperial War Museum. The first PDSA Dickin Medals were awarded in December of that year to three carrier pigeons called Winkie, White Vision and Tyke.

Considered to be the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the medal has been awarded a total of 75 times to animals that have shown conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty.

One of the recipients being highlighted by the charity is Simon, the only cat to receive a PDSA Dickin Medal. Simon served on board HMS Amethyst during the Chinese Civil War.

Despite being injured when the ship came under fire from the People’s Liberation Army, Simon helped protect the ship’s limited food supply from rats as it sat stranded in the Yangtze River for almost 10 weeks.

For his work hunting rats and raising the morale of the crew, Simon received the PDSA Dickin Medal in 1949.

Ms McLoughlin said: “We are incredibly proud to be celebrating 80 years of the PDSA Dickin Medal, and as such recognising all of its incredible recipients.

“The PDSA Dickin Medal has demonstrated time and time again how absolutely vital animals are to the war effort. They bring a unique set of skills that no man, woman or machine could match.

“From our first-ever pigeon recipient in 1943 to German shepherd Bass, our most recent PDSA Dickin Medal recipient earlier this year, every single animal who has been awarded the medal over the years is remembered and celebrated today.”

Image © PDSA


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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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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.