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NSA and Moredun webinar - Tick control and louping ill

Date: 20th September 2023

Time: 7.30pm

Location: Online - Zoom


Chaired by Peter Myles, NSA Scottish Region, experts Matt Colston (vet), Beth Wells (Moredun) and Simon Thorp (Bracken Control Group) gave an evening webinar on reducing the risks of ticks and louping ill in your flock.

Matt covered tick control, management and treatment options. Beth discussed the louping ill vaccine in the pipeline and Simon explained how bracken control is essential to reduce the habitats needed for tick populations to thrive.


Speaker bios:

Matt Colston: Matt qualified from Edinburgh in 1986 and worked in mixed, mainly large animal practice in Scotland and Cumbria (including a few years teaching at the vet school) until 2013 when he joined Novartis Animal Health (which was bought by Elanco Animal Health) as a Technical Consultant. He also spent some time as a non-exec director for the Moredun Foundation and served a term as president of the Sheep Veterinary Society.

Beth Wells: Beth has a background in livestock farming and veterinary diagnostics with biological and environmental science, animal production science and parasitology qualifications. With a lifelong interest and experience of farmed livestock, her research interests involve working in interdisciplinary teams to improve the health and welfare of farm animals, through the development of approaches to prevent and control parasitic and endemic diseases. A key area of interest is in working with stakeholders in the land management sector, which has led to income generation in funding the development of a new generation vaccine for louping-ill in sheep. Moredun is collaborating with funders with the aim of producing a commercially available vaccine for this serious tick-borne disease of hill sheep and red grouse.

Simon Thorp: Simon is the coordinator of the Bracken Control Group (BCG), which operates across the UK. BCG established in 2011 and is responsible for submitting the annual applications to allow the continuing use of the main bracken control herbicide (asulam marketed as Asulox), since the 2013 season. Simon was the Director of The Heather Trust from May 2002 until March 2018, and this role provided experience of upland issues in all parts of the UK. Other recent roles include Director of Scotland’s Moorland Forum and Chair of the England & Wales Wildfire Forum. Prior to joining The Heather Trust, he gained extensive experience as a chartered surveyor working in rural management, including being the Resident Agent on two estates in England.