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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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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.