Mad cow disease has been found on a farm in Aberdeenshire – the first case in Britain for three years.

The Scottish Government said precautionary movement restrictions have been put in place at the farm, while further investigations to identify the origin of the disease take place.

A spokesman said it was standard procedure for a confirmed case of classical BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), which does not represent a threat to human health. The disease affects cattle.

Scottish Government’s chief vet said the case has “no effect on food safety”, but that the case was “not unexpected”.


In 2015, an entire herd of cows was culled when the disease was found on a farm in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.

Sheila Voas said: “Sad to have confirmed a case of BSE in Aberdeenshire this morning, but good surveillance system is proved to work well.

“Disappointing news, but not unexpected to have occasional sporadic cases, and no effect on food safety.

“Liaising closely with other UK Chief Veterinary Officers and Government and agencies all working together.

“Key is farmer and their household: they have been advised, are co-operating fully and importantly being supported to deal with situation.”

Restrictions have been put in place at the unnamed farm as an investigation is carried out into the source.

The case was identified as part of routine testing and did not enter the human food chain, according to the Scottish Government.

Ms Voas added: “While it is too early to tell where the disease came from in this case, its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job.

“We are working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency to answer this question, and in the meantime, I would urge any farmer who has concerns to immediately seek veterinary advice.”

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, added: “Following confirmation of a case of classical BSE in Aberdeenshire, I have activated the Scottish Government’s response plan to protect our valuable farming industry, including establishing a precautionary movement ban being placed on the farm.

“While it is important to stress that this is standard procedure until we have a clear understanding of the diseases origin, this is further proof that our surveillance system for detecting this type of disease is working.”

Millions of cattle were culled in the UK in the 1990s due to BSE.

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