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Stackyard News Nov 06

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SEERAD To Take Forward Industry Sheep Scab Initiative

For three years, the NFUS-inspired Scottish Sheep Scab Initiative has worked to raise awareness of the threat posed by scab and encourage farmers to confront the problem and treat it.


swaledale sheep
The Initiative is now coming to an end and the Scottish Executive will build on the work to date by co-ordinating the next steps in Scotland’s scab control strategy, together with industry representatives. That will involve, amongst other things, discussions with industry on greater enforcement of treatment.

The Scottish Sheep Scab Initiative was co-ordinated by NFUS and has involved major agricultural bodies, vets, marts and pharmaceutical companies. Launched at the Kelso ram sales in September 2003, its focus was to remove the stigma associated with sheep scab by raising awareness and providing information on treatment options. NFUS has distributed hundreds of information packs to farmers through its dedicated helpline. To assist with the transition of ownership of the strategy, NFUS will continue to operate its helpline (0131 472 4031) for farmers wanting to either report disease outbreaks or source technical information.

NFUS Livestock Chairman Nigel Miller has chaired the Initiative since its inception. He said:

“Scab remains a huge issue for the Scottish sheep industry, but I am proud that we have taken huge strides in raising awareness of how best to prevent it and treat it. The first hurdle was tackling the stigma associated with the disease but, as we said from day one, there is no shame in having the disease, only in not treating it.

“We have managed to build consensus across the industry on taking this forward and I thank all the partners in the Initiative for three years of dedication to it, in particular SAC and the National Sheep Association.

“The Executive’s scab survey and the huge response to it has been extremely valuable in mapping the extent and nature of the problem. That will inform the way forward. I am pleased the Executive will build on our work. The first three years have been about awareness-raising, but the next few years will focus on reducing outbreaks of the disease, in line with the Executive’s Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, moving towards eradication. That will include a discussion on enforcement of treatment and how best to take that forward.

“Of course, this is by no means the end of NFUS work on the subject. As well as being part of the stakeholder group, we will continue to operate the Helpline for the time being. We are also focussed on getting cypermethrin dips back on the market. We’re working with SEPA at present to collect data from sites using SP dips so we can demonstrate that good practice protects the environment.”

link Call For Scab Action As Survey Highlights Disease Threat
link Defra publishes its vision for the future of animal welfare
link Scour Solution For Calves Without Growth Setback

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