Case of ‘mad cow’ disease confirmed in north

Case of ‘mad cow’ disease confirmed in north

Authorities have been quick to calm fears prompted by the outbreak of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - more widely-known as mad cow disease - after movement restrictions were placed on animals at an unidentified farm in Aberdeenshire, meaning the animals can not be moved to other farms.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland's rural economy secretary, said the government has set up a precautionary ban on the movement of animals from the farm, which is "standard procedure".

Ian McWatt, Director of Operations in Food Standards Scotland reassured consumers that important protection measures are in place.

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".

Farmers concerned about their cattle are being urged to seek advice from a vet immediately.

People can be infected with a version of mad cow called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) after eating meat or food made from cows that have been infected with BSE, according to the FDA.

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

More than 180,000 cattle were infected in the United Kingdom and 4.4 million slaughtered during an eradication program in the 1990s.

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

More than 180,000 cattle were thought to have been struck down by the disease and the European Union put a ban on importing British beef between 1996 and 2006.

An investigation into the source of the animal disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is being carried out at the unnamed farm.

It is thought to be caused by proteins known as prions.

BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, was first recognised in 1986 and peaked in the United Kingdom in 1992, when more than 37,000 cases were recorded nationally.

He said: "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".

Ewing said the case represents "further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working".

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