FOUR CATTLE have been culled in Aberdeenshire following the discovery of BSE or ‘mad cow disease’ in a fiveyear-old animal on a farm in Lumsden.
As the first confirmed case in Scotland for a decade, the country’s negligible risk status will be lost, bringing it back in line with the rest of the UK.
NFU Scotland President, Andrew McCornick said: “It is disappointing, but not unexpected to see a new case and it has demonstrated the efficiency of the surveillance measures in place. When Scotland applied for BSE negligible risk status it was with the full knowledge that there was every possibility of a sporadic case of BSE emerging as had been seen in France and Ireland.”
Speaking through NFU Scotland, Thomas Jackson, the farmer in Aberdeenshire whose four cattle have now been culled said prior to their slaughter: “This has been a very difficult time. We have found the situation personally devastating. The cohorts and offspring of the cow have now been identified and as a purely precautionary measure they will be slaughtered and tested in due course. Again we are fully cooperating with all the parties with regards to this.”
The discovery of a confirmed Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy case in Scotland has garnered much media attention. Between 1986, when BSE was first detected in cattle in Britain, and 2001, 180,000 cattle were affected. It reached a peak in 1993 when around 1,000 new cases were reported every week.
In 1996, the first recorded deaths from a human version of mad cow disease, Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), were reported and 176 individuals are believed to have died since from eating contaminated beef products from the central nervous system of infected cattle. Exports of British beef were hit, and for a significant period the public was fearful of eating anything that might contain high-risk offal.
Brain and spinal cord no longer enter the food chain and there is a more rigorous process for monitoring. The biggest concern is in international confidence which some commentators feel, with Brexit on the horizon, could be a barrier to new export markets.
Scotland has suffered its first BSE case for a decade