Con­trol of sheep scab a step closer

Carmarthen Journal - - Farmer - With David Wa­ters, FUW’s Car­marthen­shire County Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer

THE con­trol of sheep scab in Wales is one step closer fol­low­ing the pro­duc­tion of an in­dus­try-led sheep scab re­port.

The re­port is a col­lab­o­ra­tive project be­tween in­di­vid­u­als from the farm­ing unions, ve­teri­nary prac­ti­tion­ers and other lead­ing in­dus­try and stake­holder ex­perts.

It was writ­ten in re­sponse to grow­ing con­cern over the lev­els of sheep scab in­fes­ta­tion in Wales.

The rec­om­men­da­tions of the Welsh sheep scab in­dus­try group, which are con­tained in the re­port, have been passed to the Welsh An­i­mal Health and Wel­fare Frame­work Group and to the Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary, Les­ley Grif­fiths.

Group mem­bers, in­clud­ing the FUW, are now call­ing on the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to pro­vide the fund­ing needed to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions out­lined in the re­port.

Sheep scab is an in­sid­i­ous prob­lem and has sig­nif­i­cant wel­fare im­pli­ca­tions for in­fected sheep.

The dis­ease is caused by the scab mite, Psoroptes ovis, and can cause ex­ces­sive scratch­ing and can lead to poor body con­di­tion in in­fected live­stock.

Com­mon prob­lems when tack­ling the dis­ease in­clude is­sues such as mis­di­ag­no­sis and re­in­fec­tion from neigh­bour­ing farms. Pre­vi­ous at­tempts to erad­i­cate this dis­ease have had lim­ited suc­cess and this is largely due to treat­ment regimes which have at­tempted to con­trol this dis­ease on a farm-by-farm ba­sis.

Farm­ers in Wales can­not con­trol this dis­ease in iso­la­tion and the re­port of the Welsh sheep scab in­dus­try group recog­nises the need for treat­ment to be co-or­di­nated across con­tigu­ous premises.

If funded, the pro­gramme would put a scab con­trol regime in place which would in­crease the like­li­hood of neigh­bour­ing farms work­ing to­gether to erad­i­cate this dis­ease.

It is this fresh per­spec­tive on the dis­ease that makes the rec­om­men­da­tions within this in­dus­tryled re­port a more holis­tic and work­able ap­proach to dis­ease con­trol.

It is hoped that bet­ter dis­ease man­age­ment and con­trol will even­tu­ally lead to sheep scab free­dom in Wales.

It is now cru­cial that suf­fi­cient fund­ing is pro­vided to al­low the rec­om­men­da­tions in this col­lab­o­ra­tive in­dus­tryled re­port to come to fruition.

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