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Cattle vaccination will not work on its own
AHVLA scientists comment on TB vaccine

Cattle vaccination against bovine tuberculosis could offer farmers an important tool to help prevent TB infection in their herds, but it will not wipe out the disease completely.

Glyn Hewinson, chief scientist at the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), commented that he did not think that cattle vaccination "can be a strategy on its own - you have to use all the tools in your toolbox," but he added that "the level of investment that's going into the development of TB vaccines shows the commitment to develop these important tools to control TB in the UK."

Defra has budgeted £15.5 million for research into developing effective cattle TB vaccines over the next four years, and the AHVLA has developed a blood test - a DIVA test - which can distinguish between infected and vaccinated animals.

Defra is currently working with the EU to change legislation to allow a BCG cattle vaccine and the DIVA to be used in combination to tackle bovine TB, with the aim of allowing both to be used legally in the UK.

However, Defra secretary Owen Paterson has insisted that vaccination is still not a viable alternative to badger culling. Speaking at a meeting of the Conservative Rural Affairs Group, in Birmingham, he said that currently, vaccines are "not yet in a position to be deployed" in either cattle or badgers.

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Zoo animals step on the scales for annual weigh-in

News Story 1
 Squirrel monkeys, penguins and meerkats are just some of the animals that stepped on the scales on Thursday (22 August) for the start of ZSL London Zoo’s annual weigh-in.

The annual event gives keepers a chance to check the animals in their care are healthy, eating well and growing at the correct weight. Keepers say that a growing waistline can also help them to detect pregnancies, which is vital as many of the species at the zoo are endangered.

The data is then added to a database shared with zoos and conservationists across the globe. This helps keepers to compare information and provide better care for the species they are fighting to protect.  

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News Shorts
Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.