Farm locked down after mad cow disease found in Scotland

By Sky News

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BSE has been detected on a farm in Aberdeenshire. File pic

(SKY NEWS) – A case of BSE, also known as mad cow disease, has been confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire.

Movement restrictions have been put in place at the farm in Scotland while authorities try to identify the origin of the disease.

The Scottish government said it was standard procedure for a confirmed case of BSE “which does not represent a threat to human health”.

The case was identified as part of routine testing and did not enter the human food chain, it added.

Scotland’s 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 at Food Standards Scotland, said inspectors were carrying out checks in every abattoir in Scotland to ensure the safety of consumers.

The Animal Health Agency is investigating the source of the outbreak.

BSE – or bovine spongiform encephalopathy – is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle that may be passed to humans who have eaten infected flesh.

More than 180,000 cattle were infected in the UK and 4.4 million were slaughtered during an eradication programme in the 1990s.

When transmitted to humans, it is known as Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which has killed 177 people in the UK.

The link between vCJD and BSE was discovered in 1996, prompting stricter controls to protect humans.

Scotland had been BSE free since 2009 before the latest case.

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