The University of Reading’s veterinary research facility has been awarded new status as an international reference centre.

The University of Reading’s veterinary research facility has been awarded new status as an international reference centre.

Its Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics Research Unit (VEERU)  joins Pirbright and the RVC to make up a group of 19 international Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Centres, which work to provide independent advice and support to the United Nations.

Reading's VEERU has been lauded by the FAOThe VEERU has been designated FAO reference centre for veterinary epidemiology and economics and will work with the FAO on improving global food security through increased levels of nutrition and improve agricultural productivity.

Richard Ellis, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Reading, said: “The designation of VEERU as an FAO reference centre is recognition of the unique expertise among its staff. Since its foundation more than 35 years ago, VEERU has played a key role in the international development work of the University. Along with Reading colleagues working across disciplines in agriculture, food, and climate science, it provides the foundation for the University’s work as a leading centre for food security.”

The VEERU works with Government veterinary departments and international agencies to support animal health policies around the world. It is currently involved in an EU-funded project designed to help control rabies and classical swine fever in the Balkans through the reconstruction of veterinary services in Kosovo.

Other recent work has included:

  • A DEFRA commission to look at bovine tuberculosis in cattle and badgers;
  • Analysis of African horse sickness and its threat to the UK horse sector;
  • A Wellcome Trust project considering the impact of avian influenza on small holders in Vietnam.

VEERU director Tony Wilsmore said: “VEERU’s combination of interests enables us not only to work on animal health and welfare, but also to work towards giving more livestock producers, especially those from developing economies, the opportunity to sell livestock and their products on the world market without risk of spreading disease to other animals or putting human health at risk.

“Recognition as a reference centre by FAO is an acknowledgement of the work VEERU has already undertaken together with FAO in Africa, Asia and South America. This recognition of our resources with regard to both veterinary epidemiology as well as animal health and production economics, should lead to further opportunities for research, training and advisory services in these fields by VEERU alone, and also working together with other departments within the university.”
For more information, visit the VEERU website

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