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First BSE case in 10 years found on Aberdeenshire farm

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A case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, has been confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire.

This is the first case in Scotland in 10 years. It was detected as part of routine testing when any animal over the age of four dies on a farm.

Scottish Government said precautionary movement restrictions have been put in place at the farm, which is believed to be in the Huntly area, while further investigations are carried out to identify the origin of the disease.

It said the disease did 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 disease’s 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.”

“Firstly, I would like to express my sympathy to the farmer involved and their family.

Scotland’s 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.”

What you need to know about BSE

Food Standards Scotland director of operations, Ian McWatt, said: “There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity.

“Consumers can be reassured that these important protection measures remain in place and that Food Standards Scotland Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors working in all abattoirs in Scotland will continue to ensure that in respect of BSE controls, the safety of consumers remains a priority. We will continue to work closely with Scottish Government, other agencies and industry at this time.”

North East region Scottish Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said: “I recognise that having been BSE-free for so many years this will be a huge blow to the Scottish beef industry.

“However, I understand that precautionary movement have been put in place at the farm, and that further investigations are ongoing. There is therefore no reason to suspect that this has entered the food chain.

“I appreciate the Scottish Government’s quick response to date on this issue, and urge a similarly fast investigation to identify the origin of the disease.”

 

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