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Animal research centre in Truro to close
7:00am Saturday 14th December 2013 in News
AN animal research centre in Truro is to close as a result of a new government |disease detection system being introduced.
Truro Investigation Centre at Polwhele is one of seven nationally to see the work taken from them.
The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Angency, which is overseen by Defra, last week announced an “improved approach” to scanning surveillance to “better detect new and |re-emerging animal diseases and threats” in England and Wales.
It will make greater use of the expertise and resources of private vets, universities and the livestock industry, following recommendations of the independent Surveillance Advisory Group to enhance the surveillance |system.
The new system will place less emphasis on post mortems carried out at |government laboratories.
Defra’s farming minister George Eustice, MP for Camborne and Redruth, has welcomed the new approach, saying: “Detection of new diseases and|improving our resilience to them is a key part of safeguarding animal health. It is a responsibility shared by the farming industry and government, and I fully support this vision of partnership |working, sharing skills and expertise to manage disease risk and support our livestock farming industry.”
No mention has been made, however, of the effect on staff at the soon-to-be closed Truro centre.
The Packet understands that no date has yet been set for the closure – although it is expected to be in the first quarter of next year – but it will affect three staff members.
The amount of staff has dwindled in recent years, with questions first raised as far back as 2011 over the future of the centre.
At time Defra confirmed that Polwhele was not on the list of sites to be closed, or being reviewed by AHVLA following a merger of its agencies.
AHVLA surveillance will continue to be carried out from seven post-mortem investigation centres in England and Wales, at Bury St Edmunds, Carmarthen, Penrith, Shrewsbury, Starcross, Thirsk and, until 2015, Winchester.
A carcase collection service will be introduced for a period of three years whilst the network of non-AHVLA pathology providers is established. This will collect carcasses from within the areas where AHVLA post-mortem |facilities have been closed and are not initially covered by other providers.
Livestock keepers will continue to be responsible for transporting carcases to the collection point, with AHVLA |funding the onward journey to a |post-mortem facility.
Statutory disease surveillance, such as testing for tuberculosis in cattle and exotic disease investigations, is |unaffected by these changes.
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