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.
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
“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
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