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From: TSS (
Subject: New scheme to tackle fatal sheep disease -- Wales Minister for Environment
Date: November 1, 2004 at 12:55 pm PST

New scheme to tackle fatal sheep disease


Under a new scheme to tackle Scrapie* in sheep, all farmers who report and have a confirmed case of the disease in their flock will, from today, have to cull the whole flock or blood test the flock to determine its genetic profile.

Wales’ Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside Carwyn Jones, announced the scheme today as enforcement of the EU regulation requiring Member States to take action on sheep flocks and goat herds that report scrapie.

Mr Jones said: "It is vital to the rural economy that the sheep sector remains competitive. We can go some way to achieving that competitive edge by doing all we can to eliminate scrapie from our Welsh flocks.

"The new scheme has been developed in consultation with Welsh farmers. It applies to all farmers who report and have confirmed a case of scrapie, including members of the Voluntary Scrapie Flocks Scheme and cases identified by surveys of adult fallen stock and adult sheep at slaughter.

"The scheme requires either culling the whole flock, or blood testing the flock to determine its genetic profile. Those sheep most susceptible to scrapie will then have to be culled, enabling farmers to strengthen their flocks by breeding from more resistant animals.

"Once a case of scrapie has been confirmed, the local Animal Health Divisional Office will take steps to register the holding into the scheme. A State Veterinary Service Veterinary Officer will then be in contact to assess the flock and discuss the options available."

Compensation will be paid for animals that are culled but cannot enter the food chain. A derogation is available to delay slaughter for up to five breeding years where the level of resistance in the flock is low. This will allow the flock to remain at a viable number and to avoid inbreeding.

There are restrictions on the animals that can be sent off the holding for breeding or for the food chain. In the case of goats, culling of the whole herd is required. This is because according to current scientific advice, goats are not known to possess specific genes that confer resistance or susceptibility to Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies.


* Scrapie is a fatal neurological disease of sheep. It has been present in the national sheep flock for over 250 years, but is not considered to be transmissible to humans. There is a theoretical risk that BSE could be present in sheep, masked by Scrapie, although it has not been found naturally occurring in sheep. The National Scrapie Plan for Great Britain (NSP) addresses that risk.

* The legislation is not retrospective. Therefore, it only applies in Wales to flocks that have confirmed cases of scrapie after 1 November 2004.

* The standard rate of compensation is £90 for adult animals, £30 for ewes in a flock that has a derogation and £50 for a lamb or kid.

* Organisations in Wales were consulted in November 2003 for a period of 7 weeks. As a result of representation from industry a second consultation was held in June 2004 on the application of a derogation included in the EU Regulation to allow non-pregnant ewe lambs of an unknown genotype to be introduced onto holdings until December 2005.

* More information on the scheme can be found here .


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