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Northern Ireland considering culling badgers
£4 million research programme to be commissioned

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has responded to recent criticism from the Ulster Farmer's Union (UFU) of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (DARD) policy on badger culling as a means of countering the spread of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) by confirming that controlling the disease is a 'key priority'.

Ms O'Neill stated that “We are investing around £4million to commission a programme of TB and wildlife research and studies towards the ultimate aim of eradicating TB in cattle. We will use the evidence produced by this programme to inform a comprehensive approach that deals with all aspects of TB and will help to reduce the level of disease in cattle.”

“We already have a rigorous EU Commission approved eradication programme in place. We also need to build a sound evidence base to underpin further interventions in cattle and/or wildlife that could help to reduce TB as part of our eradication programme.” the Minister added.

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Shedding light on laminitis

News Story 1
 A new awareness day has been launched to help find out the frequency of laminitis in Britain, as well as possible prevention methods. Horse owners are being asked to share data about this debilitating condition as part of National CARE Month (10 February).

The CARE study is being carried out at the Animal Health Trust and Royal Veterinary College. To date, it is the largest web-based project of its kind. So far, it has 1,500 members who are asked to submit regular information about their horse or pony's health and management.

A further 1,000 members are needed for the study. Participation is open to all types, ages, sizes and breeds of horse or pony, whether they have had laminitis or not. See www.careaboutlaminitis.org.uk for more information.  

News Shorts
What can we learn from the NHS?

NHS worker Jeanine Roberts joined vets at this year's VPMA/SPVS Congress for a fascinating exchange of ideas, which looked at how the veterinary profession can learn from the NHS and vice versa.

To inform the discussions, Jeanine recently visited a veterinary practice, while SPVS president Nick Stuart and practice manager Georgina Hills went to the renowned St Bartholomew's Hospital in London.

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