Government move pleases Scottish farmers

Scottish farmers have welcomed the Scottish government's decision to officially seek Tuberculosis Free (OTF) status for Scottish cattle.

The National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS) said that OTF status would enhance Scotland’s reputation for producing quality, healthy livestock.

The NFUS added that the process is likely to take months to complete and has no implications for the coming autumn store sales, but gives a clear message to the rest of the UK and Europe of the standard of Scottish cattle.

Nigel Miller, NFUS vice-president, said: “Scottish Government and stakeholders should be applauded for the leadership they have shown in dealing with the threat posed by bovine TB. Applying for and receiving OTF status sends out a clear message to the rest of the UK and beyond about the efforts being taken in Scotland to improve the health record of our livestock.

"For Scotland to be in a position where it can apply for official recognition that our cattle herd is free of bovine TB is a fantastic achievement, particularly when set against the desperate backdrop of soaring disease incidence in some parts of England and Wales.”

The number of confirmed TB cases in Scotland has now been at a consistently low level over a sustained number of years, so it meets the criteria required for OTF status.

The announcement was confirmed by rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead, and Scotland’s chief vet Simon Hall, will present evidence during the next meeting of the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health next month.

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