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April 2014

The Royal College of Pathologists (RCP) want an urgent review of government funding cuts to animal health surveillance. DEFRA now plans to halve the number of animal health surveillance laboratories in England and Wales from 14 to 7. Two of the seven laboratories Luddington and Preston have already closed. In its almost inimitable governmentspeak, the AHVLA insists that the changes will offer an "improved approach" to the monitoring of animal disease threats. The RCP response to this is voiced by the RCP president Dr Archie Prentice The RCP questions how proposed new systems of disease surveillance and intelligence sharing will actually work. A College spokesman is quoted at http://mrcvs.co.uk/en/news/11683/. Dr Prentice said that prompt laboratory analysis was the pivotal component of the identification of Schmallenberg virus, and laboratory diagnostics have improved greatly in the last decade.

23 September 2011 ~ Vet laboratory closures confirmed, reports BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-15039081 "Laboratory work at eight veterinary centres will be phased out over the next two years, it has been confirmed. The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) said the change could save it about £2.4m a year. Centres in Thirsk, Truro, Langford, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Luddington, Preston and Winchester are affected by the plan. Veterinary science laboratories are responsible for animal health testing, which includes the early diagnosis of diseases such as bovine TB and swine fever. .... Laboratory services in Thirsk, Truro and Langford will be phased out by March 2012. The remaining centres affected will cease to do the work by March 2013.
Laboratory services at Bury St Edmunds, Lasswade, Newcastle, Penrith, Shrewsbury, Starcross, Sutton Bonington and Weybridge are being retained."

September 27th 2011~ Lab closures: "Such a decision affects animal health and human health. This seems a huge backward step."

September 26th 2011 ~ Lab closures: savings made would be vastly and disastrously outweighed by the potential cost of failing to detect Foot & Mouth or dangerous zoonoses