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Animal sanctuary appeals for urgent donations
There are over 300 animals being cared for at Ferne Animal Sanctuary.
Ferne Animal Sanctuary could run out of funds in months.

An animal sanctuary in Somerset has called for urgent donations, as increased running costs threaten the charity’s future.

Ferne Animal Sanctuary, which cares for over 300 animals, fears that, without support, it could run out of funds in a few months.

The sanctuary has seen its running costs increase rapidly over the past two years. This has included veterinary and medical bills rising by 46 per cent, feed and bedding costs rising by over 30 per cent, and professional fees rising by over 50 per cent.

Despite action taken by the charity to reduce its operational costs and increase its income streams, the charity says it needs immediate support to continue its work.

The organisation was launched in Wiltshire in 1939, amidst the outbreak of World War Two. In 1965 it became a registered charity and, in 1975, it moved to its current premises in Somerset.

In its 85-year history, Ferne Animal Sanctuary has rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed over 40,000 animals.

It is now calling for supporters across the world to help them to stay open.

As part of its urgent efforts, the sanctuary is also appealing for a benefactor ‘with a big heart’ to purchase a part of the 72-acre sanctuary. It is considering the sale of a 20-acre plot of farm land with three-bedroom cottage, in exchange for a nominal rent-back agreement.

This would allow the charity to continue using the land for its vital animal care work.

Kevan Hodges, chief executive officer at Ferne Animal Sanctuary, said: “We urge animal lovers across the UK and internationally that can afford to support us, no matter how big or small the donation, to do so. We urgently need your help.

“We are caring for over 300 vulnerable animals currently, who are at risk of losing their home. Due to such difficult pasts, many of our animal residents are not suitable for rehoming, which puts their lives at risk if we are unable to keep afloat as a charity.

“Please help if you can, no donation is too small. Thank you - from all of us here at Ferne Animal Sanctuary.”

To donate to Ferne Animal Sanctuary, visit their website.

Image © Shutterstock 

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

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NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.