October 22, 2018 – The farm has been put into quarantine with movement restrictions in place as a “precautionary measure”, while officials work to trace the origins of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).
Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, 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.
BSE is a disease which attacks a cow’s central nervous system and is generally fatal to cattle.
It was first detected in Britain in the late Eighties, spreading from there to other parts of Europe and ravaging cattle until the early 2000s.
Millions had to be culled in the UK to stop the outbreak, with strict controls implemented at farms to stop another outbreak. It has been linked to the brain-wasting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
Scottish authorities said the latest case posed no risk to humans and had been detected due to routine testing.
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.”
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.
“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.”
The case is the first in Scotland in more than a decade.
BSE was detected on a dead cow on a farm in Wales in October 2015, but again posed no harm to humans as the virus had not entered the human food chain.
Strict BSE control measures were put in place when the Government first began its plan to stop the outbreak, blocking any cow over the age of 30 months entering the food chain.
Cattle sent for emergency slaughter or that have died they must also be tested for BSE if they are four years or older.
In a report in 2005, the Food Standards Agency said BSE in cattle had fallen to its lowest levels in the UK since records began in 1988.
This was due to measures put in place by the Government to control the disease, the ‘BSE and Beef New Controls Explained’ report said.