BSE discovered on Scottish farm

A case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has been confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire, the Scottish government has announced.

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.

The Animal and Plant Health Association (APHA) is investigating the source of the outbreak, which is described as an isolated case.

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

All animals over four years of age that die on farm are routinely tested for BSE under the Scottish surveillance system.

Whilst the disease is not directly transmitted from animal to animal, its cohorts, including offspring, have been traced and isolated, and will be destroyed in line with EU requirements.

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,” he said.

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 Association to answer this question, and in the meantime, I would urge any farmer who has concerns to immediately seek veterinary advice.

Ian McWatt, Director of Operations in Food Standards Scotland 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.”

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