Moredun's 90th Anniversary
2010 is Moredun's 90th Anniversary and marks 90 years of excellence in animal health research.
The origins of Moredun go back to the years following the First World War which saw an increased demand for home grown food and a significant rise in the market value of livestock. This emphasized the seriousness of the losses associated with disease and concerned farmers voiced their strong support for an organized body to conduct research into livestock diseases.
In the 1920’s Louping Ill and Braxy claimed almost a third of the lambs born in Scotland and Grass Sickness was having a devastating effect on horses, which were used for heavy labour on farms at that time.
In March 1920 a group of enlightened Scottish farmers held a public meeting at the Highland and Agricultural Society’s chambers in Edinburgh and the Animal Diseases Research Association (now known as the Moredun Foundation) was formed. Within six years the founder members had raised enough funds to buy a plot of land and build the Moredun Research Institute.
Within ten years of the research Institute opening, Moredun scientists had discovered the cause and developed vaccines and treatment strategies for Braxy and lamb dysentery. Scientists then went on to solve the mystery of Louping Ill which was found to be caused by a virus transmitted by ticks and a vaccine was soon developed.
By the 1940’s over half a million doses of vaccine and treatment products were produced and distributed by Moredun.
Research gained momentum and further funding was secured to find out the causes of many different diseases such as: scrapie, pine, milk fever, Johne’s disease and a range of respiratory and reproductive disorders. Vaccines, diagnostics and treatment strategies followed. Today, many of the veterinary medicines and vaccines that are routinely used on farm have either being researched, developed or tested at Moredun.
This research is vital – 17% of the value of the UK sheep industry is lost each year due to infectious diseases. Subclinical infections of gut parasites are estimated to cost the UK sheep industry over £84 million a year in lost production. Enzootic abortion in ewes is thought to cost the UK sheep industry £15 million a year and Johne’s disease costs the UK cattle industry £13 a million a year.
50% of the research institute’s funding comes from the government and the rest is raised through grants and royalties as well as its charity, the Moredun Foundation.
Ninety years on, and still governed by farmers, Moredun’s mission to improve animal health and welfare remains strong and Moredun continues to apply cutting edge science and technology to help protect both livestock and people, today and tomorrow.
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