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Greater Access to Post Mortem Facilities

24 April 2015

UK – Accessibility of post mortem facilities is improving for English and Welsh sheep farmers, according to a government body.

This is defined by the Animal Health and Plant Agency (AHPA) as the number of farm businesses within a one-hour drive.

Numbers of submissions, however, remain relatively low, according National Sheep Association chief executive, Phil Stocker.

He said this means it is a challenge for APHA to keep taps on new disease issues.

The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency was rebranded as APHA recently.

Mr Stocker said: “APHA’s vision is for close working relationships between farmers and vets, supported by APHA’s VI services working on the more unusual and concerning cases, rather than routine losses.

“They believe this will work for the industry at a time when Government spending cuts have been far-reaching.

“APHA is aware that farmers and private vets want more information on disease trends, endemic disease and information at on-farm level.

“It is trying to balance this demand with the fact that its primary concern is new disease threats and not long-established and endemic health problems that farms face. This is an area of work that NSA will continue to engage with APHA on and keep members updated.”

He warned that Schmallenberg, despite no cases from this season’s lambing, was still circulating in the UK and Bluetongue virus was causing heartache in southern Europe.

Schmallenberg is likely to follow a two/three year “disease pattern” in which flocks lose and acquire natural immunity as new breeding females come through, he added. 

“Schmallenberg vaccines are not currently available in the UK, but manufacturers have assured APHA that they will be made available if needed,” he added.

“And Bluetongue is actively circulating in countries south of the Alps and causing huge problems in Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Greece and Spain. Movement of animals in Europe is, therefore, a huge risk and APHA’s monitoring of imported stock is vital.”

TheSheepSite News Desk