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Working group set up to safeguard NI vet medicines supply
The news has been welcomed by the BVA.
Vets in Northern Ireland could lose access to over half of veterinary medicines.

The UK government is to set up a new working group to find a long-term solution to the issue of supplying veterinary medicine to Northern Ireland.

As things stand, veterinary surgeons in Northern Ireland could lose access to an estimated 51 per cent of veterinary medicines once a temporary post-Brexit agreement between the UK and the EU ends at the end of 2025.

Set up as part of a deal to restore power-sharing in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the new Veterinary Medicines Working Group will explore ways to safeguard the supply of veterinary medicines to Northern Ireland. The group will be made up of elected representatives, farming and industry representatives, and legal and trade experts and will report its findings ‘urgently’.

The UK government has also said it plans to introduce legislation in the spring to avoid new regulatory divergence between Great Britain and Northern Ireland on veterinary medicines.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which recently gave evidence to a House of Lord’s committee about the risks to human and animal health once the current deal expires, has welcomed the latest development.

Esther Skelly-Smith, BVA Northern Ireland branch president, said: “The British Veterinary Association has been highlighting the serious threat to Northern Ireland’s access to veterinary medicines for some time and therefore it’s good to see the government commit to finding practical, long-term solutions. We have also continued to call for more dialogue between the UK government and EU Commission on this issue.

“The new Veterinary Medicines Working Group is an important step towards safeguarding supply, which if left unaddressed will have serious and far-reaching consequences for the veterinary profession, the farming and equine sectors, as well as public health.

“It is only by a willingness to look carefully and creatively for possible solutions that the ongoing protection of Northern Ireland’s animal and public health and vital agricultural industry will be ensured.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."