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Case of mad cow disease detected in Aberdeenshire

The Scottish Government says there is no danger to humans after the incident in Huntly.

BSE: Also known as mad cow disease.
BSE: Also known as mad cow disease. Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa

A case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has been confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire.

The instance of so-called "mad cow disease" is understood to revolve around only one animal and officials say there is no threat to human life.

A quarantine has been put in place at the farm, which STV News understands to be in Huntly, while further investigations to identify the origin of the disease take place.

It is understood the cow never entered the human food chain, with the case identified due to strict control and surveillance measures that are in place.

Whilst BSE is not directly transmitted from animal to animal, the cow's offspring have been located and isolated and will be destroyed in line with EU regulations.

Thousands of cattle were culled in the UK in the 1990s due to the disease.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing 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.

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1431980-mad-cow-disease-what-you-need-to-know-about-bse/ | default

"Be assured that the Scottish Government and its partners stand ready to respond to any further confirmed cases of the disease in Scotland."

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.

Food Standards Scotland said it was working closely with the Scottish Government, other agencies and industry on the matter.

Director of operations Ian McWatt 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."

'Now we need everyone to work together to find out everything they can about this case'
Peter Chapman MSP

Scottish Conservative North East MSP Peter Chapman said: "This is a potentially extremely serious issue for farming in Scotland, and particularly the north east.

"We've been free of BSE for many years, so this is a very concerning development.

"Now we need everyone to work together to find out everything they can about this case.

"The good news is this disease isn't transmissible between cattle in contact with each other, so there is no risk to neighbouring farms.

"But we need to know all about the animal, where it's been, where its offspring are, and offer as many reassurances as we possibly can that this is a one-off instance."

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