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Vet warns of threat to donkeys from plastic pollution
Donkeys feed at waste sites on Lamu Island.
Donkeys at a Kenyan clinic are presenting with nutritional colic.

An increasing number of donkeys are dying as a result of plastic pollution, the lead veterinary surgeon at The Donkey Sanctuary’s clinic on Lamu Island in Kenya has warned.

The team at the clinic are seeing up to five per cent of donkeys presenting with signs of nutritional colic, caused by animals foraging at waste sites for food due to a lack of grass or edible vegetation.

Obadiah Sing'Oei, clinic lead at The Donkey Sanctuary’s clinic in Lamu, explained: “At the dumpsites the donkeys will eat all sorts of things, from plastics to clothes to cartons – everything.

“This brings a lot of issues for donkeys’ health – with the majority of the donkeys suffering from colic, as a result of foraging at the dumpsites. Nutritional colic in donkeys is usually fatal. But we also lose donkeys to poisoning, for example, from residual rat poison, which can find its way to the dumpsites after domestic use.”

There are also concerns about livestock being exposed to plastic pollution on the island, after 35kg of plastic waste was discovered in a cow’s stomach at an abattoir on Lamu.

The team at The Donkey Sanctuary’s clinic has been joined by researchers from the Revolution Plastics Institute at the University of Portsmouth to investigate the issue. This has included holding community focus groups with local livestock owners, veterinary surgeons and residents.

The researchers’ initial findings will be published later in the year, but early results suggest that donkeys are at greater risk of death from ingesting plastic than cattle owing to their behaviour and biology.

Emily Haddy, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Portsmouth, said: “From previous discussions with the community, we know there is growing concern about the links between plastic pollution, ecosystem health, animal welfare and human wellbeing. 

“However, the picture is complex, livestock owners often cannot afford to feed their animals and through necessity let their animals loose to graze. The community focus groups have helped us understand more about how these complex issues affect the people and animals involved.”

Image © University of Portsmouth

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.