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African swine flu concerns raised over port funding cuts
MPs have also raised concerns about the funding cuts.
NPA chairman has written to government minister.

The National Pig Association (NPA) has raised concerns about the impact that cuts to government funding could have on the UK’s ability to prevent meat infected with African swine flu and other diseases from entering the country.

Since September 2022, checks have been carried out at the Port of Dover to prevent pork and pork products weighing more than 2kg from being brought into Great Britain, unless they have been produced to the EU’s commercial standards. Almost 66 tonnes has been seized by the authorities.

However, in December, Defra announced plans to cut the funding it provides to Dover District Council for carrying out checks at the port.

In a letter to Defra Secretary Steve Barclay, NPA chairman Rob Mutimer wrote: ‘It is hugely disappointing that funding for this activity is allegedly going to be cut by around 70 per cent, and that there has been no further communication from government to the wider industry on this topic.

‘This reduction in resource[s] will lead to more illegal imports arriving into Great Britain, not just from the EU but also from the rest of the world, ultimately increasing the threat of a notifiable exotic disease outbreak in this country.’

The cuts in government funding would mean that Dover District Council would need to meet the cost of the port’s health authorities at its own expense. The council has warned that this could ‘bankrupt’ it unless it scaled back biosecurity measures.

In the letter, Mr Mutimer also called on the government to remove the current 2kg limit to make it easier for the rules to be understood and enforced, and for greater clarity on plans to conduct checks on live animals at a new Border Control Post at Sevington, Kent, 22 miles from the coast.

Mr Mutimer wrote: ’As we still do not know what the checks on live animals will entail, it is unclear whether pigs arriving at Sevington will have to be unloaded at the site, which will put them at risk of disease as well as causing stress to the animals.’

Similar concerns were raised in a letter to Steve Barclay from the chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee earlier this year.

A government spokesperson said: “We have strict border controls in place to protect our high biosecurity standards – and are confident that existing and new infrastructure will have the capacity and capability to maintain these standards.
“We recognise the strategic importance of the Port of Dover and are continuing to work with the port authority on future support options.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

Click here for more...
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CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.