Lockdown as single case of BSE discovered in Aberdeenshire

A case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has been confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire.

In line with the disease prevention response plan, precautionary movement restrictions have been put in place at the farm, while further investigations to identify the origin of the disease occur.

This is standard procedure for a confirmed case of classical BSE, which does not represent a threat to human health.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Following confirmation of a case of classical BSE in Aberdeenshire, I have activated the Scottish Government’s response plan to protect our valuable farming industry, including establishing a precautionary movement ban being placed on the farm.

“While it is important to stress that this is standard procedure until we have a clear understanding of the diseases origin, this is further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working. Be assured that the Scottish Government and its partners stand ready to respond to any further confirmed cases of the disease in Scotland.”

Martin Morgan, executive manager, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, said: “Today’s announcement is clearly disappointing for the whole Scottish beef industry. While this one isolated case does not pose any health risks, it returns our international trading status in relation to BSE to controlled risk (CR), the same ranking as already applies in England and Wales. Member companies are already taking the necessary action to direct all SRM items to the appropriate disposal channels. The fact that both France and Ireland went through exactly the same return to CR status as we are facing today, also due to isolated BSE cases, means that we are not entering unchartered waters in terms of the European industry. We remain extremely upbeat about the Scottish beef industry, therefore, and our ability to compete strongly in the global meat market.”

Chief veterinary officer Sheila Voas said: “While it is too early to tell where the disease came from in this case, its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job. We are working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to answer this question, and in the meantime, I would urge any farmer who has concerns to immediately seek veterinary advice.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.