AN ABERDEENSHIRE farmer says he and his wife have been left ‘devastated’ by the discovery of BSE in their herd.
Thomas Jackson’s cows face slaughter after one animal presented with a case of the condition, also known as mad cow disease, earlier this week.
In a statement issued by the National Farmers Union, Scotland, Mr Jackson 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.”
A movement ban has been placed on the farm and investigations are underway into the source of the disease, which affects the animals’ brain and central nervous system.
Mr Jackson added: “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.”
“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.”
Following a confirmed case of classical BSE in Aberdeenshire,@FergusEwingMSP has activated @ScotGov response plan, including establishing a precautionary movement ban on the farm https://t.co/VOAXo6lr0a pic.twitter.com/GMrIsUrpOf
— Scot Gov Greener (@GreenerScotland) October 18, 2018
Earlier today, Scotland’s chief vet Sheila Voas said up to four other cows on the farm will be slaughtered and tested for the disease.
Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, she said: “The animal itself is dead, she died before she was tested, and there are three other animals, or possibly four, that will need to be slaughtered purely from a precautionary basis.”
She said brain stem samples would be taken from these animals and tested for BSE.
She believes the disease was not transmitted and occurred spontaneously in the affected animal, but she warned it could be several months before investigators could say for certain.
“All the information we have is this is under control, there’s no reason for people to panic,” she added.
“It’s not the start of an outbreak, it’s a single isolated case that won’t affect the food chain.”
Officials have stressed the case poses no risk to human health and its discovery proves the surveillance system in place is working effectively.
However, any farmer with concerns is advised to seek immediate veterinary advice.
Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has activated a Government response plan to protect the farming industry.
He said: “While it is important to stress that this is standard procedure until we have a clear understanding of the disease’s origin, this is further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working.”
Prior to the discovery of the case in Aberdeenshire, Scotland had been free of BSE since 2009.