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Farmers urged to be on their guard for blowfly strike
"Good preparation for strike control and continuous vigilance are important" - Richard Wall, compiler of the Blowfly Risk Alerts. 
Latest update shows threat is on the rise

Farmers and animal health professionals are being warned to be on their guard for blowfly strike following the latest update from National Animal Disease Information Service and Elanco.

According to the update, risk levels are currently at “medium” across the UK. However, experts believe this is likely to increase in the imminent future.

Reports of blowfly cases by farmers on the Elanco Blowfly Strike Tracker reveal sheep struck across almost the entirety of the UK.  
Richard Wall, professor of zoology and compiler of the Blowfly Risk Alerts said: "Although temperatures are increasing, dry weather stops maggots surviving, particularly on lambs, and so limits strike risk. However, rain in late May or early June will seriously increase the risk, especially for ewes, so consider applying appropriate strike treatment, extra care when checking sheep or early shearing." 
 
"Blowfly populations are generally slow to build up over the early part of Spring and Summer, but warm wet weather can change the risk quickly. Good preparation for strike control and continuous vigilance are important."

Independent sheep veterinary consultant Dr Fiona Lovatt commented: "Many farmers will wait and treat later due to perceived savings in treatment cost, but this is a false economy as the duration of efficacy for some products is so long anyway.”

"Treating earlier in the year means a smaller lamb and so potentially a smaller dose, which is a genuine saving."

A study by Elanco conducted in partnership with the National Farm Research Unit found that 99 per cent of farmers have suffered financial loss as a result of blowfly strike. A further 82 per cent agreed the blowfly season is getting longer, with cases of strike being reported as early as February and as late as November.

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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RCVS Fellowship board chair elections get underway

Voting for the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Chair election is now underway. This year four candidates are standing for election, including Dr Robert Huey, Professor John Innes, Professor Liz Mossop and Professor Ian Ramsey.

The Chair will attend and preside over Fellowship meetings and take the lead in consolidating the Fellowship’s position as the learned society of the RCVS. Fellows will receive an email containing a link to the online voting form, as well as candidates’ details and manifestos. Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, 5 September.