8 September 1995

Campaign has wide support

STAMP Out Scab, farmers weeklys campaign to rid UK sheep of the disease, has received widespread industry support.

The appeal for MAFF to reintroduce scab as a notifiable disease, with the need for compulsory treatment of infected animals, has drawn support from more than 470 individuals and organisations. Nearly 200 readers returned the coupon in the late July and August copies of farmers weekly.

Some 76 auction marts responded to letters from farmers weekly and gave their full backing to the call for MAFF to take action.

Rugby livestock market added its support by deciding to reject any undipped sheep at its annual ram fair on Sept 21 and 22. Of the sheep breed societies, 32 registered their support and 22 colleges and universities joined them.

There was overwhelming support from the farming unions, with backing from headquarters reinforced from regional branches.

NFU vice-president Ben Gill said the recent spread of scab from the "traditional pockets" in the west and south-west to other areas of the country, that had not experienced it for many years, must be of great concern to the industry.

"It is, therefore, imperative farmers should take all practical measures to protect the welfare of their own sheep and their own commercial pressure to prevent and control scab in their flocks."

From Westminster 12 MPs joined the campaign. And there was strong support from the Transport and General Workers Union, although it pointed out that it was against the use of organophosphorus sheep dips.

That point was picked up by other respondents who favoured compulsory treatment in the event of a scab outbreak but who pointed out the health worries associated with OPs.

But, as one vet stressed, with the availability of alternative treatments farmers no longer have to rely on OPs as the only means to control the disease. &#42