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18th Oct 2018

Farm on lockdown after mad cow disease discovered


A case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) – better known as mad cow disease – has been confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire

The first case of mad cows disease in Britain since 2015 has been discovered at a farm in Aberdeenshire, the Scottish government has confirmed.

Investigations are underway to identify the origin of the disease and a movement ban is now in effect on the unnamed farmed.

BSE – or mad cow disease – is a fatal neurodegenerative disease of cattle that can be passed to humans who have eaten infected meat.

Over 180,000 cattle were infected with BSE in the UK and 4.4 million slaughtered during the 1990s following a major outbreak, with the disease killing 177 people in the UK by 2014.

The newly confirmed instance of the disease represents the first time the disease has been discovered in Scotland in over a decade. The last discovery of BSE in the UK was at a farm in Wales in 2015.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s farming minister, 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.”

Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: “I would urge any farmer who has concerns to seek veterinary advice.”

She added: “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.”

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.”