Mad cow disease (BSE) found on Scottish farm
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Mad cow disease (BSE) found on Scottish farm

A CASE of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease, has been detected at a farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The Scottish Government confirmed that precautionary movement restrictions were put in place at the farm, while further investigations took place to identify the origin of the disease.

Food Standards Scotland have confirmed there is no risk to human health posed by the case.

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.

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"Be assured that the Scottish Government and its partners stand ready to respond to any further confirmed cases of the disease in Scotland.”

BSE was first reported in the UK and Ireland in 1986, peaking in 1993 with over 1,000 new cases per week.

This is the first confirmed case of mad cow disease in Scotland in a decade.

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.”

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