EU court backs neonicotinoids ban

May 21, 2018

Legal action against 2013 ban dismissed  An EU court has upheld a partial ban on three neonicotinoids that have been linked to declining bee populations. In 2013, the European Commission placed restrictions on clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid, owing to evidence of the threats they pose to bees. Bayer, which developed clothianidin and imidacloprid, and Syngenta, which developed thiamethoxam, challenged the regulation. However, the General Court of the European Union said yesterday (17 May) that it upholds the ban and ‘dismisses in their entirety the actions brought by Bayer and Syngenta’. The ruling states that the commission had correctly applied the ‘precautionary principles’, which allow protective measures to be taken without having to wait until harm occurs, when there is scientific uncertainty about the risks to human health or the environment. A recent report by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) found that all neonicotinoids pose a threat to many bee species, regardless of how or where they are used in the environment. Last month, a majority of EU member states... ...

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Strategic alliance to support development of agri-food sector

May 21, 2018

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Queen’s University Belfast have formed a new strategic alliance that will see both institutions form a research and education partnership. Under the agreement, the organisations will pool their resources and expertise to support the development of the agri-food sector. It will work across three core themes: enabling innovation, facilitating new ways of working and partnerships.   ...

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Homeless pets sing for royal couple

May 21, 2018

Beagle pup and a Shetland pony star in tribute to Harry and Meghan With royal wedding fever sweeping the nation, one animal charity has come up with a novel way to celebrate the upcoming nuptials: getting their animals to sing a rendition of Here Comes the Bride. Blue Cross says that dozens of dogs, cats and horses from its rehoming centres across the UK feature on the track, created as a special gift for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. They include a beagle pup named Marley, four adorable short-haired kittens and a Shetland pony named Tristan. Meghan Markle is a huge animal lover and her adopted beagle Guy made the move to the UK when the royal couple got engaged last year. Sadly her Labrador-shepherd mix Bogart had to remain in Canada as he was too old to make the journey. “We know that Meghan Markle is a huge fan of rescue pets and the fantastic support she provides for animals is something we want to celebrate,” said Mandy Jones,... ...

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New pig virus could be a threat to humans

May 21, 2018

Study shows virus can transmit to people, cats and chickens A recently discovered pig virus could spread to humans and other animals, a study has shown. Porcine deltacoronavirus was first detected in pigs in China in 2012 and has since spread to various other countries. It causes acute diarrhoea and vomiting in young infected pigs and can even be fatal. So far, no human cases have been reported but scientists are concerned about the possibility. Public health experts are particularly concerned about the emergence of this virus, because of its similarity to the life-threatening viruses responsible for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). New research published online in the journal PNAS suggests that porcine coronavirus could go into the cells of different species, including humans. Scientists from Ohio State University and Utrecht University looked at a cellular receptor called aminopeptidase N. The potential for a virus to cross species is known to be highly dependent on its ability to bind to receptors on the cells... ...

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THE REAL COST OF OWNING A PET

May 21, 2018

  New study reveals just how much Britons are spending on their pet each month – including £240 on average for a dog and £100 for a cat   New study from MORE TH>N reveals that in spite of these high costs, the majority of pet owners – 58% of dog owners and 83% of cat owners – did no research into their prospective pet and associated costs ahead of owning it Survey also reveals that 60% of dog owners have insurance for their canine, in comparison to a paltry 30% of cat owners, which can mean expensive repercussions for many in the event their pet does fall ill New research released as part of the launch of the MORE TH>N Future of Pet Ownership Report – a comprehensive new study that looks at the state of the nation’s pets based on a survey of 10,000 owners across the UK   The financial burden of owning a pet in Britain has been revealed today in a new report from MORE... ...

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