Princess Royal praises global collaborations to safeguard livestock health and welfare

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Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal congratulated scientists at the world renowned Moredun Foundation and Moredun Research Institute for their collaborations with others across the world and for sharing knowledge and resources to help prevent and control livestock disease.

The Princess Royal was attending a special event “Challenges in the prevention and control of livestock disease in a changing climate”, held at Moredun’s headquarters just outside Edinburgh. The event focused on the challenges faced when controlling livestock disease in a changing climate, and how science–policy interactions and coherent knowledge exchange are important in addressing these issues. The workshop attracted over 100 delegates from the agricultural, veterinary and research sectors around the world, and speakers included Professor Louise Heathwaite, Scotland’s Chief Scientific Advisor for Rural Affairs and Environment and HRH The Princess Royal herself.

During her speech, HRH The Princess Royal acknowledged Moredun’s core principals of discovery, collaboration and sharing knowledge with others across the globe to develop innovative vaccines, rapid diagnostic tests and the provision of advice to livestock keepers.

The Princess stressed: “Education, communication and learning from each other is vital to enable the livestock industry across the world to become more resilient and adaptive to the challenges we currently face and will no doubt face in the future.”

She added: “Due to the changing climate, competing pressures for land use and a growing global population, the production of safe, nutritious and sustainable food supplies is really important.”

She continued: “Moredun’s research to improve the health and welfare of livestock is as relevant today as it ever was.”

The event also marked the launch of the International Knowledge Transfer and Exchange (KTE) Hub for Livestock Health and Welfare. This hub aims to develop further Moredun’s existing international partnerships and collaborations to engage with others across the world to help combat livestock disease. The new hub will help to facilitate collaborative research projects, workshops, research placements, staff exchanges and the use of new communication technologies to enable independent knowledge about prevention and control of livestock disease to be made as widely accessible in order to benefit all that may need it.

Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, scientific director and chief executive of Moredun, commented: “Scotland may be a relatively small country in global terms, but it makes a real impact in innovative research and its translation into practice. The issue of global food security will be with us for many decades to come, and if we are to feed the estimated human population, we need to ensure that food-producing species are biologically efficient and have optimal health and welfare. Disease risks and transmission vary with changing weather and climate, and Moredun has a key role to play in dealing with disease, working alongside numerous international partners.”

The Princess mingled with guests over lunch and met several of Moredun’s partners working to prevent and control livestock disease in a changing climate. As well as meeting collaborators from the farming, scientific and policy sectors, the Princess also chatted to a group of young scientists and PhD students, and some of Moredun’s international collaborators.

Pentlands Science Park (PSP), the home of Moredun and over 20 other companies is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2014 and HRH The Princess Royal also met some of the staff from PSP and its tenant companies.

Mr George Walker, general manager of PSP, commented: “Moredun is extremely proud of the Park and very grateful to the all of the tenants that have supported us over these 20 years. PSP has enjoyed high occupation, delivered excellent value to Moredun and its commercial tenants and is a key part of both the Midlothian economy and the Edinburgh Science Triangle community.”

Before leaving, HRH The Princess Royal had a private tour of the laboratories and met scientists from Moredun and a number of their collaborators who are working in immunology, water quality and safeguarding marine mammal health in Scotland.

Ian Duncan Millar, chairman of the Moredun Foundation, who escorted the Princess around the labs commented: “It is always a pleasure to welcome HRH, The Princess Royal to Moredun. Her support in opening the KTE Hub is much appreciated. This new initiative will further the work of the Moredun Foundation in spreading the results and discoveries of the Moredun Research Institute, which will benefit of the environment, minimize our collective carbon footprint and contribute towards the wellbeing of both the farmed livestock and the farmers.”

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