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Confirmed cases of Schmallenberg rising
sheep and lamb
"It is important that we ascertain the true levels of the virus, because this will help determine whether there is a need to vaccinate later in the year."
Farmers urged to submit lambs for post-mortem
 
Confirmed cases of Schmallenberg virus are rising, prompting a call for farmers to submit lambs for post-mortem examination.

SBV was found in lambs in the south west of England last month, and subsequently in North Yorkshire and on four holdings in the North East of England.

Schmallenberg can infect pregnant sheep and cattle, causing severe malformations of foetuses in the womb. It does not spread from animal to animal but, like bluetongue, is transmitted by infected midges.

The virus emerged across Western Europe in November 2011 and by July 2013, calves, lambs and kids with severe skeletal deformities had been reported in at least 24 European countries.

Ben Strugnell, of Farm Post Mortem Ltd, commented: The possible re-emergence of Schmallenberg was predicted following a study in autumn 2015 which tested young flock replacement sheep in the south of England, the results of which suggested that levels of immunity may have dropped.”

Mr Strugnell urged producers to submit lambs with skeletal deformities for post-mortem examination so that the cause can be confirmed. “The best advice for producers is to contact their vet, who can provide information on the best way to arrange a post-mortem,” he continued.

“Blood sampling of ewes which have affected lambs is also useful. Younger sheep may be most at risk as older ones may be immune from previous exposure to the virus.”

There is currently no available vaccine for Schmallenberg and Mr Strugnell said it is already too late to vaccinate sheep that are due to lamb in spring.

“However, it is important that we ascertain the true levels of the virus, because this will help determine whether there is a need to vaccinate later in the year,” he concluded.

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New York to ban sale of foie gras

News Story 1
 New York City councillors have voted overwhelmingly in favour of legislation that will see the ban of foie gras in the city. The move, which comes in response to animal cruelty concerns, will take effect in 2022.


 Councillor Carlina Rivera, who sponsored the legislation, told the New York Times that her bill “tackles the most inhumane process” in the commercial food industry. “This is one of the most violent practices, and it’s done for a purely luxury product,” she said.


 Foie gras is a food product made of the liver of a goose or duck that has been fattened, often by force-feeding. New York City is one of America’s largest markets for the product, with around 1,000 restaurants currently offering it on their menu. 

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Humane Slaughter Association student scholarships open for applications

Applications for the Humane Slaughter Association’s student/trainee Dorothy Sidley Memorial Scholarships are now open.

The Scholarships provide funding to enable students or trainees in the industry to undertake a project aimed at improving the welfare of food animals during marketing, transport and slaughter. The project may be carried out as an integral part of a student's coursework over an academic year, or during the summer break.

The deadline for applications is midnight on the 28 February 2020. To apply and for further information visit www.hsa.org.uk/grants or contact the HSA office.