14 July 1995

Notification best?

TRADING standards officers want sheep scab made notifiable again after a MAFF survey found an increase in infected farms.

In a report to Shropshire county councils public protection committee, David Walker, chief trading standards officer, recommends notification as "the best possible compromise solution".

In Shropshire vets reported a significant rise in suspect scab cases, despite MAFFs dipping initiative launched in September. This used publicity and market campaigns in an attempt to combat the spread of disease and stop the sale of "scabby sheep".

"Despite the apparent increase in suspected cases, MAFF is not expected to propose the re-introduction of compulsory disease controls, relying as now on further publicity, etc, as the basis for future sheep scab policy," says Mr Walkers report.

But if sheep scab was made notifiable, control methods could be introduced during an outbreak. These would include notification, treatment controls.

and supervision, and statutory power to clear common land.

"Suitable, effective, alternative products are required as a matter of urgency and until then, despite all of its drawbacks, dipping would appear to provide the most effective answer to scab and overall disease control," says the report. &#42