10 April 1998

SCAB ORDER HELPS BUT…

The Sheep Scab Order came

into force on July 1 last year,

but is it working?

Robert Davies reports

POWYS, which has more sheep than any other British county, is where the success or failure of the new Sheep Scab Order is most likely to be seen.

Ken Smith, chief trading standards officer of Powys County Council believes the order is helping to control the disease, but does not go far enough. He is now urging the councils agricultural committee to press for an eradication programme. He is also considering prosecution of two farmers who failed to notify MAFF or his office of a scab outbreak.

"There is a widespread misapprehension the disease is no longer notifiable, but the Act that required it has never been re-pealed," claims Mr Smith. "As far as I am concerned all scab cases must still be reported and treated."

He is concerned that common land graziers who spot that another commoners sheep have scab are reluctant to get the local authority involved. The scab order gives the power to order a temporary clearance of commons and treatment of all sheep, but this has not yet happened.

Co-operative gatherings are taking place, but any treatment of infected or unaffected sheep is not supervised. There is some evidence that a small number of flockmasters are treating clinical cases by injection, but not dipping for long-term protection.

Farmers Union of Wales spokesman Arwyn Owen thinks that the Scab Order is reducing the incidence of scab on shared grazings, but is flawed. While most producers appear to be taking their responsibilities seriously, the absence of compulsory checking of treatment provides an opportunity for the unscrupulous to avoid treating their whole flocks.

"When there are clinical cases of scab on commons, treatment of all the sheep gathered should be supervised by the local authority.

"We would favour a return to compulsory routine controls, but its is clear that the government is unwilling to consider this."

Paul Matthews farms at Aberhyddnant, Crai. He also chairs of the Farmers Union of Waless Livestock Committee, which has long campaigned for the restoration of compulsory scab controls. As a holder of common grazing rights, he is very conscious that since mandatory dipping ended shared grazings have become reservoirs of infection.

"The Scab Order has reminded the odd one or two graziers of their responsibilities," says Mr Mat-thews. "They know that when scab is found the local authority can order a gathering and seize their sheep if they do not co-operate. But farmers are very reluctant to report unco-operative farmers to Trading Standards officers."

Like others he is concerned about the absence of a check to ensure gathered flocks are treated before returning to grazings.

"Most farmers are determined to do something about scab, but this usually means treating their own flocks more often, which greatly increases costs," he explains.

He believes dipping remains the most effective and economic way of controlling scab, but shares the worries of many about OPs and synthetic pyrethroid dips.

Derek Morgan, Safan-y-Coed, Llangurig, is vice-chairman of the 30 member Cwmdeuddur Com-moners Association, and a supporter of tougher scab controls.

"I hope that we will have some second stage legislation with more teeth, so that the graziers can gather and dip the sheep of members who refuse to do so, and charge for the work."

Even with good co-operation, gathering all the sheep on the 4000ha (9900 acre) common is almost impossible, so dipping is essential to provide extended protection when sheep are returned to grazings and possible contact with scabrous sheep. "The system works well on our common, but the Scab Order does not go far enough to ensure it does everywhere." &#42

Derek Morgan – a supporter of tougher scab controls. Hes looking for second stage legislation with more teeth, so graziers can dip sheep of producers who refuse to do so.

SCAB ORDER

&#8226 Not tough enough.

&#8226 Few report scab concerns.

&#8226 No post-dip checks.

&#8226 Return to compulsory dipping?

SCAB ORDER HELPS BUT…

The Sheep Scab Order came

into force on July 1 last year,

but is it working?

Robert Davies reports

POWYS, which has more sheep than any other British county, is where the success or failure of the new Sheep Scab Order is most likely to be seen.

Ken Smith, chief trading standards officer of Powys County Council believes the order is helping to control the disease, but does not go far enough. He is now urging the councils agricultural committee to press for an eradication programme. He is also considering prosecution of two farmers who failed to notify MAFF or his office of a scab outbreak.

"There is a widespread misapprehension the disease is no longer notifiable, but the Act that required it has never been re-pealed," claims Mr Smith. "As far as I am concerned all scab cases must still be reported and treated."

He is concerned that common land graziers who spot that another commoners sheep have scab are reluctant to get the local authority involved. The scab order gives the power to order a temporary clearance of commons and treatment of all sheep, but this has not yet happened.

Co-operative gatherings are taking place, but any treatment of infected or unaffected sheep is not supervised. There is some evidence that a small number of flockmasters are treating clinical cases by injection, but not dipping for long-term protection.

Farmers Union of Wales spokesman Arwyn Owen thinks that the Scab Order is reducing the incidence of scab on shared grazings, but is flawed. While most producers appear to be taking their responsibilities seriously, the absence of compulsory checking of treatment provides an opportunity for the unscrupulous to avoid treating their whole flocks.

"When there are clinical cases of scab on commons, treatment of all the sheep gathered should be supervised by the local authority.

"We would favour a return to compulsory routine controls, but its is clear that the government is unwilling to consider this."

Paul Matthews farms at Aberhyddnant, Crai. He also chairs of the Farmers Union of Waless Livestock Committee, which has long campaigned for the restoration of compulsory scab controls. As a holder of common grazing rights, he is very conscious that since mandatory dipping ended shared grazings have become reservoirs of infection.

"The Scab Order has reminded the odd one or two graziers of their responsibilities," says Mr Mat-thews. "They know that when scab is found the local authority can order a gathering and seize their sheep if they do not co-operate. But farmers are very reluctant to report unco-operative farmers to Trading Standards officers."

Like others he is concerned about the absence of a check to ensure gathered flocks are treated before returning to grazings.

"Most farmers are determined to do something about scab, but this usually means treating their own flocks more often, which greatly increases costs," he explains.

He believes dipping remains the most effective and economic way of controlling scab, but shares the worries of many about OPs and synthetic pyrethroid dips.

Derek Morgan, Safan-y-Coed, Llangurig, is vice-chairman of the 30 member Cwmdeuddur Com-moners Association, and a supporter of tougher scab controls.

"I hope that we will have some second stage legislation with more teeth, so that the graziers can gather and dip the sheep of members who refuse to do so, and charge for the work."

Even with good co-operation, gathering all the sheep on the 4000ha (9900 acre) common is almost impossible, so dipping is essential to provide extended protection when sheep are returned to grazings and possible contact with scabrous sheep. "The system works well on our common, but the Scab Order does not go far enough to ensure it does everywhere." &#42

The Sheep Scab Order came

into force on July 1 last year,

but is it working?

Robert Davies reports

POWYS, which has more sheep than any other British county, is where the success or failure of the new Sheep Scab Order is most likely to be seen.

Ken Smith, chief trading standards officer of Powys County Council believes the order is helping to control the disease, but does not go far enough. He is now urging the councils agricultural committee to press for an eradication programme. He is also considering prosecution of two farmers who failed to notify MAFF or his office of a scab outbreak.

"There is a widespread misapprehension the disease is no longer notifiable, but the Act that required it has never been re-pealed," claims Mr Smith. "As far as I am concerned all scab cases must still be reported and treated."

He is concerned that common land graziers who spot that another commoners sheep have scab are reluctant to get the local authority involved. The scab order gives the power to order a temporary clearance of commons and treatment of all sheep, but this has not yet happened.

Co-operative gatherings are taking place, but any treatment of infected or unaffected sheep is not supervised. There is some evidence that a small number of flockmasters are treating clinical cases by injection, but not dipping for long-term protection.

Farmers Union of Wales spokesman Arwyn Owen thinks that the Scab Order is reducing the incidence of scab on shared grazings, but is flawed. While most producers appear to be taking their responsibilities seriously, the absence of compulsory checking of treatment provides an opportunity for the unscrupulous to avoid treating their whole flocks.

"When there are clinical cases of scab on commons, treatment of all the sheep gathered should be supervised by the local authority.

"We would favour a return to compulsory routine controls, but its is clear that the government is unwilling to consider this."

Paul Matthews farms at Aberhyddnant, Crai. He also chairs of the Farmers Union of Waless Livestock Committee, which has long campaigned for the restoration of compulsory scab controls. As a holder of common grazing rights, he is very conscious that since mandatory dipping ended shared grazings have become reservoirs of infection.

"The Scab Order has reminded the odd one or two graziers of their responsibilities," says Mr Mat-thews. "They know that when scab is found the local authority can order a gathering and seize their sheep if they do not co-operate. But farmers are very reluctant to report unco-operative farmers to Trading Standards officers."

Like others he is concerned about the absence of a check to ensure gathered flocks are treated before returning to grazings.

"Most farmers are determined to do something about scab, but this usually means treating their own flocks more often, which greatly increases costs," he explains.

He believes dipping remains the most effective and economic way of controlling scab, but shares the worries of many about OPs and synthetic pyrethroid dips.

Derek Morgan, Safan-y-Coed, Llangurig, is vice-chairman of the 30 member Cwmdeuddur Com-moners Association, and a supporter of tougher scab controls.

"I hope that we will have some second stage legislation with more teeth, so that the graziers can gather and dip the sheep of members who refuse to do so, and charge for the work."

Even with good co-operation, gathering all the sheep on the 4000ha (9900 acre) common is almost impossible, so dipping is essential to provide extended protection when sheep are returned to grazings and possible contact with scabrous sheep. "The system works well on our common, but the Scab Order does not go far enough to ensure it does everywhere." &#42

Derek Morgan – a supporter of tougher scab controls. Hes looking for second stage legislation with more teeth, so graziers can dip sheep of producers who refuse to do so.

SCAB ORDER

&#8226 Not tough enough.

&#8226 Few report scab concerns.

&#8226 No post-dip checks.

&#8226 Return to compulsory dipping?