Farmers urged to be vigilant

Sheep farmers in the Borders are being urged to remain vigilant against sheep scab and report any suspicion of the disease.

Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 3:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 3:37 pm
Sheep farmers in the Borders are being urged to remain vigilant against sheep scab.

This comes on the back of Scottish Government figures and maps, just released, detailing that there have been 565 cases since 2010 in Scotland.

Sheep scab is one of the most contagious parasitic diseases in sheep and is considered to be endemic in Great Britain. It is both a highly production limiting disease and a serious welfare problem making tackling the disease a high priority for the Scottish sheep industry.

In December 2007 Scotland introduced the Sheep Scab (Scotland) Order 2010 making it a requirement to report any suspicion of the disease, instead of waiting for confirmation.

This order places reported flocks under restriction until there is evidence that they have either effectively treated/culled affected animals, or sheep scab has been ruled out.

Penny Johnston, Animal Health and Welfare Policy Manager with NFU Scotland commented: “According to the Scottish Government, there have been 565 notifications since 2010, although in the last couple of years notifications have plateaued around the low eighties annually they remain fairly widespread with identifiable hotspots.

“Although these reports could represent some decline in the scale of the problem it is likely they only represent to tip of the iceberg in terms of the ongoing problem.

“Keepers are urged to remain vigilant to the disease and to continue to report wherever there is suspicion of scab.

“It is only by being open about the disease, facing up to its existence and treating problems that we will make progress towards eradication of this widespread problem for the industry.”