More than £11 million of research projects have announced results today (Nov 8) as part of a concerted effort to help UK farming combat endemic animal diseases.
More than £11 million of research projects have announced results today (November 8) as part of a concerted effort to help UK farming combat endemic animal diseases.
Outcomes of the projects include the possibility of breeding cows that are more resistant to bovine TB and new advice on the management of footrot in sheep.
Endemic diseases – those that are always present in a region – of farmed animals are a serious drain on farming, undermining attempts to ensure food security as well as significantly affecting the welfare of farmed animals.
Bovine tuberculosis – just one of the many endemic diseases that persist in UK farm animals – is estimated to have cost the UK economy £90 million in 2010 and is on the rise.
Researchers funded by the £11.5 Initiative, which is led by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have been working for four years to combat many of the most harmful endemic diseases of farmed animals in the UK.
Scientists from the 10 funded projects were joined by guests, including representatives from the farming and pharmaceutical communities, to discuss the outcomes of their work. Many of the researchers have already worked with industrial partners to ensure that their findings can be put to use to help improve the management and control of these diseases on the farm.
Launched in 2007, the CEDFAS (Combating Endemic Diseases of Farmed Animals for Sustainability) Initiative was set up to use scientific research to improve our ability to manage some of the most costly diseases of UK livestock including:
- bovine TB,
- bovine mastitis,
- infectious bronchitis,
- parasitic gastroenteritis and
BBSRC chief executive Douglas Kell said: “While new outbreaks of infectious diseases of animals such as foot-and-mouth and bluetongue rightfully demand our attention, endemic diseases are a persistent cause of harm to farmed animals and a significant economic drain on the farming sector.
“These projects include many great examples of how deepening our understanding of the biology of disease causing organisms can lead to new ideas about controlling and managing their spread both to the benefit of the rural economy and to the wellbeing of our livestock.”