An outbreak of bovine TB has been confirmed in a herd of cattle on the Scottish island of Skye.
The worrying news follows a warning from Lockerbie farmer Robin Spence about the disease closing in on the Scottish borders after 16 cases of TB were confirmed in east Cumbria for the first time in 30 years.
Mr Spence was awarded an MBE for his work in helping prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth in the UK.
The Scottish Government has said the infected herd on Skye is under restriction while the source of the infection is investigated.
The farmer affected did not want to speak to the press about the breakdown, but said in a statement: “This is an extremely worrying and difficult time for me. The cattle which tested positive on the farm have been slaughtered and further laboratory tests are now underway to see if they have TB.
“Waiting for those results is very stressful, but I want to get to the bottom of this, get my herd restrictions lifted and get my TB-free status back as quickly as possible and I will work with the authorities to do this.”
An NFU Scotland spokesman was keen to point out how rare TB outbreaks were in the country.
Scotland can maintain its TB-free status as long as less than 0.1 per cent of herds are affected by the disease for at least six consecutive years.
The union spokesman added: “Scotland has achieved disease-free status for TB through a combination of routine testing of our herds, abattoir surveillance and pre- and post-movement testing of animals moving into Scotland from high-risk TB areas in other parts of the UK.
“This regime identifies a small number of cases in Scotland each year, but the number of cattle affected remains low, allowing us to keep our valuable TB-free status.”