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BSE hysteria blows over almost as quickly as it started

Despite the media hysteria surrounding last week’s detection of BSE on a farm in Aberdeenshire, the markets’ seasonal trends do not seem to have been adversely affected and importantly, export demand has not wavered.


Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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BSE hysteria blows over almost as quickly as it started

The fairly muted response may well be linked to the effectiveness of the disease surveillance system.

 

As Scotland’s Rural Economy Minister Fergus Ewing and Chief Vet Sheila Voas pointed out as they moved to reassure the public and industry, it was proof the system was working.

 

Our animal health and welfare standards, along with our disease surveillance systems, are world leading and it is vital they are never undermined.

 

While Scotland has lost its Negligible Risk (NR) status, it now falls in line with its UK counterparts.

 

It also echoes situations in the Republic of Ireland and France, where NR status has been lost shortly after gaining it.

 

Not that this is much comfort to the family which found itself at the centre of the media circus which ensued last Thursday.


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The cow was initially only identified as coming from ‘a herd in Aberdeenshire’, but before long, intense media investigations had narrowed it down to ‘near Huntly’.

 

By the day after the discovery the television cameras had descended on Thomas Jackson’s road end at Boghead Farm between Huntly and Alford.

 

Facing every farmer’s worst nightmare, Mr Jackson bravely issued a statement to the press which told of his family’s heartbreak and devastation.

 

As the news cycle churns, thankfully, the story dropped off with the level of force it had when it broke.

 

It is perhaps a reminder that while food and farming scares may prey on the public’s greatest fears and, in doing so, act as ‘clickbait’ for media outlets, our industry must continue to ensure it promotes, and can demonstrate best practice, and deliver the provenance our customers require.

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