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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

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