Glowing Report for Scottish Handling of FMD

SCOTLAND, UK - Quick and decisive action was taken by the Scottish Government to minimise the impact on livestock farmers during the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks last summer, according to a report published today.
calendar icon 26 June 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

In his review of Scotland's response to the 2007 outbreaks in Surrey, Professor Jim Scudamore found that the outbreak was handled well and that the Government's actions were in the best interests of the Scottish industry to ensure the return to normal conditions as quickly as possible.

He praised the dedication of the Scottish Government and other organisations including the Animal Health Agency, the Meat Hygiene Service and local authorities. Key industry stakeholders and the agricultural sector as a whole were commended for their role in reducing the risk of disease incursion and spread.

"Of course every disease outbreak brings its own lessons to be learned."
Professor Scudamore, a former Chief Veterinary Officers for the UK and Assistant SVO in Scotland

Professor Scudamore, a former Chief Veterinary Officers for the UK and Assistant SVO in Scotland, said:

"I found both the national authorities and the agricultural community in Scotland to have responded well to disease being confirmed within Great Britain.

"This review will go a long way to help Scotland further reduce risk and minimise disruption should disease re-occur."

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:

"The Scottish farming industry, the Government and its agencies presented a united front in the battle against FMD last year and I am pleased to see that this has been recognised.

"The outbreaks came at a critical time for Scotland's livestock industry and red meat sector with movement restrictions preventing animals being taken to market and leaving sheep and lambs on the hillsides when grazing was running low. It was crucial that this disruption was minimised.

"Adopting a science-based approach where decisions were taken on the independent, expert advice provided by vets and scientists was instrumental in getting things back to normal as quickly as possible. This was important to address the unique Scottish situation.

"Of course every disease outbreak brings its own lessons to be learned. This outbreak was no different and we will take on board the important issues raised.

"I intend to take forward with industry the report's recommendation that we work with the EU and UK Governments to examine the complexities of regionalisation to ensure Scotland's export status is maintained should an outbreak occur again. This was something I raised with Brussels last summer and the review highlights the need to give it further consideration.

"A review of the arrangements which Scotland and England have over animal health and welfare issues and their delivery is also needed. The time is right to conduct such a review to ensure the arrangements meet our ambitions for a robust and healthy future for the livestock sector in Scotland. We will take this forward alongside the recommendations in this report."

The FMD Review (Scotland) 2007 was commissioned by Mr Lochhead last year. It aimed to examine the response and identify lessons to be learned to help reduce the risk and associated economic disruption to Scotland for future outbreaks.

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