Girvan TB outbreak 'No Cause for Alarm'
"The Scottish Executive yesterday confirmed a significant outbreak of bovine tuberculosis (TB)on a farm near Girvan in Ayrshire, but joined forces with NFU Scotland in stating that there was no need for widespread concern for the overall health of Scotland's cattle herd.
On 25 January the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland informed the Scottish Executive's Environment and Rural Affairs Department that a cow that had been "exported" from Scotland had shown some symptoms of TB when slaughtered. The State Veterinary Service office in Ayr then traced the animal back to Enoch farm, near Girvan. Movement restrictions were imposed on 26 January and the suspect was confirmed TB positive on 23 February.
Further tests were carried out on the Ayrshire farm, resulting this week in the slaughter of 46 animals. The farmer will receive the full rate of compensation.
All cattle previously moved from the farm have been traced and are now subject to restrictions, isolation and further testing.
A spokesman for NFU Scotland said: "The incidence of cases of TB in Scotland remains extremely low. We had only 11 cases last year and 13 in 2005. That compares very favourably with the almost 2,000 in England and Wales in 2006, and even more the previous year.
"There has been a close working relationship between the Executive and the industry, and that explains why we have kept Scotland almost totally clear of TB." The thrust of that policy is that any animals moved from so-called hot-spots south of the Border must be subject to pre- and post-movement testing. Most of the Scottish outbreaks have been traced back to restocking programmes undertaken by farmers in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001.
The NFU Scotland spokesman added: "We have to stress that there is absolutely no risk to human health, but farmers must remain vigilant."
We are however a tad confused by the Scotish NFU's figures quoted in the piece above: "11 cases last year and 13 in 2005" the man said. Er - yes. But Ayr AHO reported 27 farms under Tb restrictions in 2006, 18 of which were CHI (Confirmed new Tb herd incidents) and these accounted for almost half of Scotland's total breakdowns. That total - from Defra's Tb statistics pages - was 58 herds under restriction, 44 confirmed and 277 herds under restriction due to Tb incident, overdue test etc.
And that is a long way adrift from 11.