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NI vets praised for rapid response to ASF traces
ASF outbreaks have been confirmed in countries such as Belgium, Bulgaria and China.
DNA fragments found in seized passenger luggage 

BVA president Simon Doherty has praised vets and inspectors in Northern Ireland for rapidly detecting traces of African swine fever (ASF) in passenger luggage at airports.

DAERA announced last week that more than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland airports in June. A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, revealing fragments of ASF DNA.

ASF can be easily transmitted in infected pork products and outbreaks have been confirmed in countries such as Belgium, Bulgaria and China. Northern Ireland has strict controls banning personal imports of meat and dairy products from most countries outside the EU.

Mr Doherty commented: “It’s very encouraging to see that government vets and inspectors are united in their vigilance to prevent the incursion of this deadly disease. We are fortunate in Northern Ireland to have a surveillance facility like AFBI that can carry out quick and effective testing and continuous monitoring for disease risks.

“African Swine Fever poses a significant and growing threat to animal welfare and agriculture throughout all regions of the UK, so we need to continue to make every effort to curb its spread and raise public awareness of the risks of bringing animal products that may be carrying the disease into the country.

“The seizure of 300 kg of illegally imported products in June alone really underlines the scale of this important task ahead.”

DAERA said that the discovery of ASF fragments in imported products does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status. However, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products.

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.

Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.