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Horse sanctuaries prepare for fireworks season
Last year, Redwings spent almost £1,500 to raise staffing levels during firework season.

Redwings is raising staffing levels to help keep its horses safe.

The equine rescue charity Redwings is preparing for fireworks season by increasing staffing levels at its south Norfolk centres.

There will be additional staff at centres where there aren’t live-in staff to allow for more regular checks on the animals in the charity’s care. The horses will also be provided with extra forage.

The charity knows from its own experiences the harm that nearby firework displays can cause to horses.

In 2016, two ponies at a Redwings sanctuary in Norfolk died after fireworks were set off close by. Sprite, a 19-year-old Welsh pony, was found with severe colic and had to be euthanised, and 25-year-old Percy had to be euthanised after injuring one of his front legs.

Another horse, Cinders, died at the charity’s centre near Harlow, Essex, after fireworks were let off in 2014.

Last year, the charity spent almost £1,500 to bring in staff for additional hours to look after the horses in its care during firework season.

To limit the stress that fireworks cause animals, the charity wants to see the law changed so that fireworks can only be set off as part of licensed events. Staff from Redwings will be attending a Fireworks Working Group for MPs House of Commons 6 December and the charity is supporting the RSPCA’s #BangOutOfOrder campaign.

Lynn Cutress, chief executive of Redwings, said: “As a prey species, horses are naturally fearful of loud noises. When they’re stressed and frightened they can exhibit ‘flight’ behaviours, like galloping to the point of exhaustion or trying to escape their enclosure because they feel unsafe. This can be dangerous for the horse and people who are near them, including potentially road users if horses become loose.

“The financial cost of the extra measures we take during the fireworks season is not insignificant to a charity like ours, but obviously our residents’ welfare is our top priority, and we do everything we can to keep them safe and happy.”

Image (C) Shutterstock

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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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Sixth case of bluetongue confirmed

A sixth case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 has been confirmed in the UK.

The case was detected in an animal on a premises linked to one of the farms within the Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) currently in place near Canterbury, Kent.

In response, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has extended the TCZ. Investigations into the spread of the disease are ongoing.

The cases in Kent come at a time when a new strain of the virus has spread rapidly across farms in the Netherlands. Both the Government and the British Veterinary Association have urged livestock keepers to remain vigilant.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and suspected cases must be reported immediately on 03000 200 301 in England or 03003 038 268 in Wales. In Scotland, possible cases should be reported to the local field services office.