Mad cow disease - BSE - found on Scottish farm

Credit PA

Mad cow disease - BSE - found on Scottish farm

A case of mad cow disease has been discovered on a farm in Aberdeen, the Scottish government has confirmed.

There was a confirmed case of BSE in Wales in 2015, but it did not enter the human food chain, and authorities stressed that there was no risk to human health.

The Scottish Government also said in a statement: "The Animal Health Agency (APHA) is investigating the source of the outbreak".

"It is described as "classical BSE", like the vast majority of cases we have seen in the UK". The Scottish government has ordered a quarantine area around the farm and said the isolated case posed no danger to humans.

The real impact of this case will be that Scotland is nearly certain to lose its status as an area with negligible BSE risk, which could affect whether importers buy British beef.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary, said he had activated a government response plan to protect Scotland's farming industry.

BSE is linked to the human disease CJD which the NHS says "is likely to be caused by consuming meat from a cow that had BSE, or "mad cow" disease, a similar prion disease to CJD".

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The monitoring of BSE has been an important function since the crisis of 1986 when 180,000 cattle were infected and 4.4 million slaughtered in order to eradicate the disease in the UK.

The nation was declared "BSE free" in 2009 and was given "negligible risk" status by the World Organisation for Animal Health previous year.

"We will continue to work closely with Scottish Government, other agencies and industry at this time".

Ms Voas told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "The animal itself is dead, she died before she was tested, and there are three other animals, possibly four, on the farm that will need to be slaughtered purely as a precautionary basis".

Although the disease is not directly transmitted from animal to animal, the affected cow's offspring have been traced and isolated and are set to be destroyed in line with European Union requirements.

Ian McWatt, director of operations at Food Standards Scotland, noted that there are "strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE" and that officials remain vigilant.

"This includes the removal of specified risk material such as the spinal column, brain and skull from carcasses".

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