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Aberdeenshire farmer confirms no other animals tested had mad cow disease

Boghead Farm, Lumsden.     
Picture by Kami Thomson
Boghead Farm, Lumsden. Picture by Kami Thomson

The farmer at the centre of the latest BSE case discovered in the UK has confirmed none of the other animals slaughtered and tested had been carrying the deadly disease.

Only one of the five cows from the farm in Lumsden, near Huntly, tested positive – in what seems to be a “sporadic” one-off incident of the disease.

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The case was found as part of routine testing at Thomas Jackson’s Boghead Farm following the death of one cow aged over four years.

The five-year-old pedigree Aberdeen Angus tested positive for the disease, prompting officials to step in and place the farm under quarantine last month.

The cow’s calf, along with three other ‘cohort’ cows, were culled and also tested as a precautionary measure.

These four animals have now been confirmed as not having BSE, a finding Mr Jackson has welcomed after what he said had been a “very difficult” time.

Last night, commenting on the test results, Mr Jackson said: “As part of the robust surveillance requirements, the cohorts and offspring of the cow found to have BSE were identified and were slaughtered and tested as there is no test that can be carried out on the live animals.

“As was expected, the tests carried out on these four animals have come back negative for BSE.

“The cow involved seems to have been one of the very few sporadic cases that still happen across the world. Unfortunately it just happened to be ours.

“We have fully cooperated with all the parties involved throughout the investigation.  We now need to move on from what has been a very difficult time for us and get back to some form of normality.”

It is the first time in a decade the disease has been detected in Scotland.

The case of BSE, known in full as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, was found at Mr Jackson’s farm last month.

Colin Clark, Gordon MP and a former cattle farmer, said: “This is excellent news and confirms this was an isolated case. It must be a relief to the farmer and to the broader beef industry.

“This case demonstrates the surveillance system is effective and the traceability is the best in the world.”

Alexander Burnett, Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West, said: “It is reassuring to hear confirmation that no other animals were found to have BSE.

“Hopefully the farming family involved can now get back to something approaching normality.

“This will have been an incredibly difficult time, and it is important to say again that they have done absolutely nothing wrong.”

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