Impact: Economic, public policy and animal health and welfare:
Selective breeding based upon identification of PRNP genotypes can
eliminate animals that are susceptible to scrapie from the flock.
Significance: UK sheep meat exports are worth >£380million.
Breeding for scrapie resistance protected the sheep industry from similar
damage to that inflicted by BSE on cattle and the UK economy.
Beneficiaries: Farmers, animals, consumers
Attribution: Professor Hunter and Dr. Goldmann (Roslin Institute,
now part of UoE) identified polymorphisms of the PrP (PRNP) gene
linked to scrapie susceptibility and resistance in sheep.
Reach: International, programmes breeding for resistance to
scrapie in sheep are now used in the UK, Europe and USA.
Impact: Economic / animal health and welfare: Established health
schemes to control Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) on Scottish farms and
subsequently underpinned the rationale for cost-effective control
strategies that have been adopted in health schemes around the UK. The
farm-level savings to the industry from future eradication are estimated
by Scottish Government to be £50- £80m.
Significance: BVD is a major endemic disease of cattle in Scotland
costing the dairy industry about £38M per year and an additional £11M to
Beneficiaries: Farmers, cattle, animal health authorities.
Attribution: Professors Gunn and Stott (SRUC).
Reach: The associated health schemes began in Scotland (HI Health)
and now operate throughout Britain (UK CHeCS (Cattle Health Certification
Standards) Health Scheme). The research underpins BVD control schemes in
Ireland and other EU Member States resulting in an avoided output loss of
between €500 to €4,000 per dairy farm per year.
The parasite Neospora caninum is the leading cause of abortion in
cattle in the UK, resulting in
around 6,000 abortions per year; and a $1.3b pa international problem.
There are no effective
drugs or vaccines to control neosporosis. University of Liverpool (UoL)
research on the
development of diagnostic tests, understanding the pathogenesis,
epidemiology and transmission
of N. caninum has made an important contribution to developing
best practise herd health
schemes, now offered by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories
Agency (AHVLA) and by
a commercial company `myhealthyherd', to eradicate N. caninum
infection from a herd. This has
enabled cattle farmers to improve their businesses by reducing abortion
rates and other costs
associated with neosporosis.
Impact: Economics, policy, animal and human health: In 2006, SoS
(a Public Private Partnership-PPP) was established involving: University
of Edinburgh, a pharmaceutical company, a charity, and the Govt. of Uganda
to control sleeping sickness by eliminating Trypanasome carriage in
cattle. The prevalence of trypanosomiasis has been reduced by 75% and
sleeping sickness cases have fallen year on year since the PPP was
established and Uganda has received a cost benefit between US$125 and
Beneficiaries: The Ugandan population, Ugandan Cattle population.
Significance: Sleeping sickness, which is difficult to diagnose
and treat in humans, is often fatal. Ten million Ugandans are at risk from
sleeping sickness. SoS established a veterinary network in Uganda
Attribution: Professor Welburn (University of Edinburgh, UoE)
founded SoS and developed essential diagnostic techniques.
Reach: SoS provides a model for the elimination of the disease
across sub Saharan Africa in an economically sustainable fashion - with
over 22 million people at risk.
Research conducted at the University of Bristol between 2003 and 2012 on
the ecology, epidemiology and control of parasitic flies and worms has
improved animal health and welfare in the UK and is addressing a major
constraint on global food production — animal disease, particularly in the
context of climate change. These are some of the impacts:
Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) are essential
nutrients and have many beneficial effects on human health. Fish are the
major source of omega-3 LC-PUFA in the human diet, and its level was
maintained in farmed fish through the use of fish oil as a major component
of extruded aquafeeds. Around 10 years ago it became clear that demand for
fish oil would rapidly outstrip supply, limiting expansion of aquaculture
activities, if fish oil use was not reduced. The challenge this presented
was that alternatives to fish oil lack omega-3 LC-PUFA. However,
replacement of fish oil with more sustainable alternatives is now standard
practice in the industry. Research into fish oil replacement and omega-3
metabolism in the Nutrition Group, Institute of Aquaculture has been at
the forefront of the scientific research in the UK and Europe that has
ensured nutritional quality of farmed fish by developing alternative feed
ingredients and feeding strategies that have maintained levels of omega-3
LC-PUFA despite radical changes to feed composition driven by
sustainability and food security. This work culminated with recent
demonstrations that farmed salmon can be net producers of marine protein
(2010) and oil (2011).
Three specific projects have addressed issues of resource utilisation and pollution related to
poultry production. The novel form of silicon developed by the Poultry Research Unit (PRU)
has been taken into the product portfolio of a FTSE100 company, AB Agri [Associated British
Agriculture PLC] as a feed supplement to reduce poultry lameness. There are approximately
48 billion meat chickens produced globally every year but high incidence of lameness leads
to economic loss and avoidable environmental pollution. In conjunction with ABAgri, PRU
also produced evidence-based research resulting in a patent for recovering yeast from
bioethanol production. The process is now being implemented by ABAgri to produce high-quality
protein for poultry feed alongside bioethanol production to reduce the carbon footprint
of both bioethanol and poultry meat production.
A University of Glasgow bovine tuberculosis (bTB) surveillance model was
fundamental to new
Scottish Government policy on bTB testing. Implemented on 1st
January 2012, the policy change
used the Glasgow model to indicate which cattle herds can be exempt from
routine testing while
still maintaining Scotland's Officially bTB Free status. In 2012 this
translated to exemption of more
than 30% of Scottish herds from routine testing, with an associated
government saving of
£150,000. The revised policy also provided savings to the Scottish farming
industry in the region of
£100,000 (2012) and limited the risks of bTB testing to farmers,
veterinarians and cattle. The rapid
success of the ground-breaking Scottish research-led bTB policy
development has been
highlighted by the Civil Service as best practice and has been presented
to numerous policy
audiences including the European Commission, providing the opportunity to
practices and livestock surveillance policy across the UK and beyond.
Different aspects of Professor Paul Watson's research on artificial
insemination and semen preservation techniques, have delivered impact in
agricultural, human healthcare and ecological spheres. They have
contributed to commercial breeding practices, particularly in pigs,
providing substantially improved efficiencies and reliability. Research on
reducing transmission of infectious agents by semen during storage in
liquid nitrogen has been applied to human AI, informing and driving
changes in practice to protect against contamination leading to infection.
In the field of conservation, the RVC's research has made a significant
contribution to international efforts directed at the survival of highly
endangered species, supporting preservation of biodiversity.
The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for their
pain-relieving properties in
cattle medicine has lagged behind that of other species (e.g. companion
animals) where analgesic
use is now routine. University of Nottingham (UoN) research exploring the
attitudes of vets and
farmers to the use of NSAIDs in cattle, and subsequent marketing by
Boehringer Ingelheim, a
multinational pharmaceutical company, has led to a substantial increase in
analgesic use. UoN
research increased sales for Boehringer Ingelheim and almost doubled the
UK market value of
NSAIDs for use in cattle. With administration of up to 2 million
additional doses per year, the
research had clear benefits for animal welfare.