The Princess Royal visits Moredun - Veterinary Practice
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The Princess Royal visits Moredun

To celebrate 100 years of excellence in animal health research, HRH The Princess Royal visited the Moredun Foundation’s Pentlands Science Park and congratulated them for achievements in developing innovative and practical solutions to prevent and control infectious diseases of livestock

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal attended a special event held on Wednesday 24 November, at the Moredun Foundation, Pentlands Science Park to celebrate 100 years of excellence in animal health research.

In March 1920, a group of enlightened Scottish farmers held a public meeting at the Highland and Agricultural Society’s chambers in Edinburgh involving representatives of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture and the Farmers Union of Scotland and the Animal Diseases Research Association (now known as the Moredun Foundation) was formed.

Set up by farmers for farmers, the Moredun Foundation is one of the largest livestock charities in the UK, and Moredun is known throughout the world for its work in prevention and control of infectious diseases of livestock through research and education.

HRH The Princess Royal, patron of the Moredun Foundation for over 30 years, congratulated the organisation for all the achievements in developing innovative and practical solutions to prevent and control infectious diseases of livestock on the farm and emphasised the importance of communicating new science and technology effectively to bring benefit to as many people as possible.

She also commended the new Moredun Centenary Fellowship scheme to offer opportunities to talented early career researchers to progress new ideas and develop new solutions to combat disease.

The other speakers at the event included, Mungo Guthrie who spoke about the unique relationship between farmers and scientists that has been Moredun’s strength over the years; Dr Peter Nettleton, MBE, giving his perspective of starting as a veterinary virologist over 50 years ago at Moredun; Dr Francesca Chianini talking about the power of pathology in understanding the causes of disease; Dr Alasdair Nisbet, director of research and innovation at Moredun, talking about past and future vaccine development and Dr Kathy Geyer, a new research fellow at Moredun talking about a new project to find the cause of equine grass sickness.

The Princess was invited to unveil a plaque to commemorate Moredun’s centenary by Gareth Baird, chairman of the Moredun Foundation. Gareth said: “We are delighted and honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to this special event to celebrate the contribution Moredun has made to the livestock industry over one hundred years and to look to some of the exciting new developments going forward.

“Science and research is needed now more than ever to help combat disease and improve the health of animals, people and our environment and I am confident that Moredun will continue to deliver practical science solutions to make a significant impact not only in UK but across the world.”

During the visit, The Princess Royal met guests including a group of post-graduate students and early career scientists along with those representing the farming industry, veterinary surveillance, land managers, government and policy groups, Moredun Scientific and Pentlands Science Park and the Equine Grass Sickness Fund.

Her Royal Highness also participated in a private tour of Moredun’s laboratories to speak first-hand to the scientists involved in developing 3D organoid cultures and those involved in collaborating with the NHS to provide extra capacity for SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before leaving, the Princess opened the new Moredun Mobile Laboratory and Education bus that was designed and built to celebrate Moredun’s centenary and is a nod to Moredun’s past as the first mobile laboratory was commissioned in 1926 to conduct epidemiology work on farms in Scotland.

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