penrith’s merrythought vetinary lab saved from closure

Rory has expressed his delight at the successful campaign to save Merrythought Animal Health veterinary laboratory. Rory has been fighting to save the site, since the announcement last month, that many national veterinary laboratories were due to be closed. Rory immediately wrote to Defra Ministers in support of the site and strongly lobbied Secretary of State Caroline Spelman. He had argued that the site was “vital for Cumbria, particularly in the light of the problems caused by Foot and Mouth and which can be caused by bovine TB.”

He also emphasised its strategic importance as a post-mortem examination service of all livestock for farmers referred by local veterinary practices throughout Cumbria, supporting a total of 29 practices. In existence for more than half a decade, the site has had the highest throughput of cattle and sheep carcasses for disease investigation by necropsy than of any other laboratory in England, Scotland or Wales.

The government has now written to confirm the laboratory will not be closed. Rory called this “Fantastic news for a valuable asset to Cumbrian farming communities.  As a livestock-dense county with a solid agricultural base, Cumbria – unlike many other parts of England and Wales – is reliant upon a good local pathology facility for rapid disease diagnosis. We are currently suffering a worrying increase in incidences of bovine TB. Closure of the laboratory would result in the loss of 22 jobs, and relocations would be very challenging. In short, the site is crucial to local veterinary practices and farmers in this stock-dense area of the country, and I am absolutely delighted to learn that the Secretary of State has responded positively to our calls for its survival.”

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