Last Thursday, the government of Scotland, has confirmed a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) on a farm that is located in Aberdeenshire.
In a statement, the Scottish government said that movement restrictions have already been put in place at the said farm, while more investigations are set to be carried out.
Fergus Ewing, the rural economy secretary, stated: “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.”
Also known as the mad cow disease, BSE can cause the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans.
The said disease devastated the farming industry in the United Kingdom during the 1990s with more than four million cattle slaughtered in order to stop the spread of the disease.
The European Commission imposed a ban on the export of British beef in 1996 which was not lifted until 1999.
However, France continued to refuse the acceptance of imports of British beef until 2002.
China only lifted the ban on British beef earlier this year as a part of a trade deal that has an estimated value of £250 million over five years.
The offspring of a cow that was identified to have BSE is already set to be killed as a form of precaution. Several other cows that are included in the herd are also set to be killed after the infected beef bovine was identified during routine testing in Scotland.
According to a statement that was issued through the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the disease was not able to enter the human food chain.
Thomas Jackson, a farmer, said that he and his wife had felt that the discovery at their farm in Aberdeen “personally devastating.”
Jackson stated: “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.”
He added: “Since this has happened we have been fully co-operating with all the parties involved and will continue to do so as we like everyone want to move forward and clear up this matter.”
He continued: “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.”