3Multi-million drive to tackle farm animal diseases

UK- A multi-million pound drive was launched yesterday to tackle endemic animal diseases that cost UK farmers hundreds of millions of pounds a year, and which cause significant animal welfare problems.
calendar icon 1 August 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The £11.5m research programme aims to tackle some of the most harmful and widespread diseases affecting farmed animals in the UK, including bovine TB, footrot in sheep and post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome in pigs.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is supporting 10 projects across the UK employing the latest bio-science to study the diseases. The goal is to improve animal health and welfare, reduce economic losses and improve the overall sustainability of UK farming.

BBSRC Director of Science and Technology, Nigel Brown, said the research will generate better scientific understanding of the behaviour and spread of the diseases that can be used to improve their management and control.

“Endemic animal diseases cost UK farmers and consumers huge amounts of money every year and cause real suffering to animals,” said Professor Brown. “These projects are targeted at bringing the country’s world-class science to bear against some of the most damaging diseases. “By working with farmers and industry, scientists can make a real difference in areas where help is needed.”

The initiative, Combating Endemic Diseases of Farmed Animals for Sustainability, is backing research into a range of diseases, including bovine TB and mastitis, footrot in sheep and the viral pig disease post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome.

Post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome is a common viral disease of pigs identified in the UK only in 1999, which has now spread across the country.

It has a high mortality rate and causes significant suffering for the animals, with symptoms including wasting, diarrhoea, pneumonia and jaundice. Working closely with UK pig farmers, and with support from the British Pig Executive, this project will identify why the disease occurs and work on ways to control it.

Source: icWales/Western Mail

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