Erin Stein, June 18, 2014, Bristol, England

Today was a very full day.  We had a very large number of sheep and pigs to process.  Most of the cases were fairly straight forward.  The parasites were similar to the ones that we had already seen:  C. tenuicollis, M. capillaris, and liver flukes in the sheep.  The major thing that we encountered was a group of young lambs that had severe bruising all along their dorsal surfaces which is evidence of severe wool-pulling (tugging or grabbing at the wool in order to get the animals to move).  This is a significant welfare problem, specifically since all of the animals were from the same farm.  It is an opportunity to educate the farmer.  The only lamb in that group that did not have wool-pulling marks was a lamb that had severe reactive arthritis in five joints.  It is likely that the animal simply was not able to run away which was why it did not suffer from wool-pulling.  The lamb with the severe arthritis was ultimately condemned due to the systemic nature of the arthritis as evidenced by petechiation in the kidneys.  The pigs represented a few cases of enzootic pneumonia and milk spots as well.  It was late morning by the time our section of the processing was done.  After a short break for tea, we went to the museum for lectures from Andy and Pia.

The lectures were the same as I had heard the previous week.  However, there was more information and Andy had a few different samples than he had previously.  We also had a much more lively discussion regarding animal welfare and the vast differences between the US and the UK.  Since there was an American among the RVC students, Andy took advantage of the opportunity to tease not one but two Americans!  Pia’s lectures took us through more cases involving emergency slaughter and the role of the OV in England and the EU.

After the lectures, I had a short break for lunch before meeting with Dr. van Klink to go over a lecture on “Global and EU Policies.”  This was basically a more fleshed out version of the material that I had received on a previous lecture on the EU.  We discussed the original formation of the EU as well as how it has adapted over the years.  I found it especially fascinating how political some of the chosen locations for EU headquarters is.  For example, there are two locations for the European Parliament.  In other words, for part of the year, the European Parliament is in Strasburg (France) and then at some point, it picks everything up and moves to Brussels for the remainder of the year.  The Strasburg location was the original location.  However, the Brussels location is much newer, larger, and state of the art as well as cheaper to run.  The move alone costs millions of euros not to mention the millions of euros that it costs to keep the Strasburg location functional.  However, France is not willing to give up the prestige as well as the local income (Strasburg is in a very poor region of the country that has been a disputed area with Germany for centuries) by giving up the location of the European Parliament.  We also discussed the policies that dictate international trade and how certain countries want to be a part of the EU but do not necessarily want to “play by the rules.”  One prominent example is Russia and African Swine Fever.  ASF has been tracked as coming from Russia.  However, Russia denies that ASF came into the rest of Europe (i.e. is spreading west) from Russia; yet, when ASF was discovered in Poland, Russia closed its borders and trade with Poland in a claim to protect its borders even though ASF is already in Russia and was there previously.  It is important to remember that while the EU tries to operate almost as a country, the “country-states” are very much independent entities with long-standing national pride and perhaps even centuries long simmering tensions.

I finished the day with my new friends at a lovely dinner at a pub.  I still find it incredible how welcoming and nice the students and faculty have been.  They have pretty much accepted me as one of their own, and I sincerely hope to continue the friendships.