Foot and Mouth – Causing problems for Wildlife Rescue


Volunteer rescuers are getting fed up of not knowing for sure what is going on with movement restrictions due to the Foot & Mouth Outbreak.

On Saturday rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) were told by DEFRA that there was a movement ban on hedgehogs, vets from St Annes Vets in Eastbourne contacted DEFRA on Sunday to be told that were was not a ban on their movement, Monday WRAS contacted DEFRA again to be told one minute that were was not a ban and then next minute that there was a ban.

WRAS has contacted the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) as it is becoming really confused over what they can and cannot do with hedgehogs casualties. the BHPS has told WRAS that they have asked for a written statement of what the situation is and DEFRA is not prepared to provide it. "We have been told by BHPS that decisions on where hedgehogs can be moved seems to be made on a regional basis and is down to the regional animal heath team, so at the moment rescuers in Worcestershire can move hedgehogs but here in Sussex we can’t" said Trevor Weeks, founder of East Sussex WRAS.

"It would be nice if we have a definitive answers really, some groups are moving them other aren’t, what is going on?" said Trevor, "WRAS is introducing biosecurity measurers as a result of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak, which means that when we attend a hedgehogs on site, we can’t move it and we will have to put on protective overalls as well as gloves and disinfect our vehicles etc"

These precautions are not to stop humans from catching the disease but to ensure that no disease is passed from animal to animal in the process of WRAS responding to various calls across the county.

"This has already cost WRAS over £250 in supplies and this will no doubt increase as the time passes" said Trevor, "we are not allowed to move hedgehogs from where they are found which means we will need to look at treating them on site where possible."

Deer to be put to sleep

WRAS is today unfortunately having to put a fallow deer to sleep, as they have not been able to move the deer to St Tiggywinkles Deer unit in Buckinghamshire. The deer was a road casualty on Friday night. "We have given her the best care we can, but it has not been good enough to help her recover, I would like to thank the Sussex Horse Rescue Trust for allowing us to use their Isolation Stable for the deer. It is a shame it has come to this but the deer is not going to recover without the specialist help that St Tiggywinkles could provide, we are now left with no option but to put her to sleep, which I find really upsetting, frustrating and annoying" said Trevor.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958 (private).

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