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UK and Australia collaborate in simulated ASF exercise
The exercise will contribute to the skills of specialised teams that make rapid risk assessments required in an ASF biosecurity emergency.

Nations work to strengthen joint disease control strategies

The UK and New South Wales government in Australia are collaborating this week on a joint, simulated exercise, to test and strengthen biosecurity measures in the event of an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak.

There has never been an outbreak of ASF in the UK, and there are substantial measures in place to protect against it. However, it is a major risk to both Australia and the UK’s pig industries, due to trade links and proximity to affected regions in Asia and Europe.

Current biosecurity measures dictate that, in the event of an outbreak, UK and Australian governments will put in place movement controls for all pig-related businesses, possibly including feed delivery, slaughter houses, pig breeding units or movement of animals to sale.

According to the UK government’s statement, this exercise’s main purpose is to assess how the movement restrictions would be applied in practice to best manage an ASF outbreak. Experts in risk assessment, epidemiology, science and disease control policy from Australia and the UK are taking part, working to develop strategies to control ASF.

The exercise takes place over three days, beginning on Wednesday 29 January. The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will be working alongside Local Land Services and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong. At the same time, teams from Defra and the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) will be participating in the exercise in London, UK.

Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer, said: “The UK has strong links with Australia and scientific cooperation is one of them, so I welcome this initiative to share information and experience, helping us to maintain our high biosecurity standards.”

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Celebrity chefs urge public to get baking to support Cats Protection fundraiser

News Story 1
 In support of Cats Protection's Pawsome Afternoon Tea fundraiser, Masterchef winner Tim Anderson and Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy have shared biscuit recipes to help keen bakers raise money for needy cats across April.

The celebrity chefs are both cat owners and have said that they hope this fundraiser will help to raise awareness of cats in need and the importance of adopting a cat, rather than buying one.

This is the fourth year Cats Protection has run its Pawsome Afternoon Tea campaign, which encourages people to hold tea parties, bake sales and fundraising events to help raise money for the charity.

To view the recipes and other fundraising resources please visit the Cats Protection website. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.