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Aberdeenshire farmer speaks of heartbreak after BSE case confirmed

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The Aberdeenshire farmer whose cow tested positive for the first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Scotland in a decade has described the situation as “devastating”.

Thomas Jackson, of Boghead Farm in Lumsden, between Huntly and Alford, has spoken out after one of his five-year-old pedigree Aberdeen-Angus cows tested positive for the disease, commonly known as Mad Cow Disease.

The disease was confirmed as part of routine testing carried out when any cow over the age of four dies on a farm.

Mr Jackson said: “This has been a very difficult time for myself and my wife and we have found the situation personally devastating.

“We have built up our closed herd over many years and have always taken great pride in doing all the correct things. To find through the surveillance system in place that one of our cows has BSE has been heart breaking.

“Since this has happened we have been fully cooperating with all the parties involved and will continue to do so as we like everyone want to move forward and clear up this matter.”

He said the cohorts and offspring of the cow had now been identified and, as a purely precautionary measure, they will be slaughtered and tested in due course.

“Again we are  fully co-operating with all the parties with regards to this,” added Mr Jackson.

The Scottish Government said precautionary movement restrictions have been put in place at the farm while further investigations are carried out to identify the origin of the disease.

It said the incident did not pose a risk to human health, however it means Scotland’s BSE risk status has been downgraded from negligible risk status to controlled risk status – the same as in England and Wales.

Risk statuses are applied in reference to how long a country has been free from BSE.

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