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Farmer 'heartbroken' after mad cow disease detected

One cow already destroyed with four more facing slaughter at Aberdeenshire farm.

Four cows face slaughter with one already destroyed.
Four cows face slaughter with one already destroyed. David Cheskin/PA Archive/PA Images

A farmer whose cows face slaughter after BSE was detected has been left "heartbroken".

The case of so-called mad cow disease, known in full as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, was found at Thomas Jackson's farm in Aberdeenshire.

One cow has already been destroyed with four others in the same bloodline facing slaughter.

A movement ban has been put in place at the farm as investigators try to establish the source of the fatal disease.

Mr Jackson described his family as "devastated" in a statement released through the National Farmers Union Scotland

He said: "This has been a very difficult time for myself and my wife and we have found the situation personally devastating.

"We have built up our closed herd over many years and have always taken great pride in doing all the correct things.

"To find through the surveillance system in place that one of our cows has BSE has been heartbreaking.

"Since this has happened we have been fully cooperating with all the parties involved and will continue to do so as we like everyone want to move forward and clear up this matter.

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

"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 co-operating with all the parties with regards to this."

Officials have stressed the case poses no risk to human health and its discovery proves the surveillance system in place is working effectively.

Thousands of cattle were culled in the UK in the 1990s during a BSE epidemic.

It can be passed on to humans in the food chain, causing a fatal condition called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Strict controls were introduced to protect consumers after the link was established in 1996.

The disease has been reduced to a handful of cases each year in the UK, with the last recorded case in Wales in 2015.

Prior to the discovery of the latest case, Scotland had been BSE free since 2009.

Food Standards Scotland said strict controls remain in place to protect consumers from BSE risk.

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