13 October 1995

Snoop line for sheep scab…

A CONFIDENTIAL phone line has been set up by the Irish government to allow people to report cases of suspected sheep scab.

According to the Irish Farmers Journal, callers will be asked where the sheep are, the name of the flockowner and the approximate number of animals involved.

Compulsory dipping in Ireland has been abolished but the disease continues to be notifiable, with compulsory treatment when outbreaks are identified.

In addition to the phone line, the Irish Farmers Association has launched a campaign to get all farmers to dip their sheep to prevent scab outbreaks this autumn. Posters will appear in every livestock market and the IFA will publicise the campaign through national newspapers. The IFA urges farmers to dip their sheep between now and mid-November.

In Britain MAFF launched its new scab publicity campaign this week. It provides practical advice on how to control scab, concentrating on good flock management and the effective use of available treatments, said MAFF.

Leaflets will be sent to farmers with advice on how to keep scab out of a flock and how to deal with any outbreak of the disease.

MAFF will continue its surveillance for scab at markets, and the Meat Hygiene Service will monitor sheep arriving at slaughterhouses for signs of infestation.

Any welfare cases would then be referred to the State Veterinary Service.

Junior farm minister, Angela Browning, said: "The steps we are recommending are common-sense, basic precautions and our campaign has the full support of all the main farming unions and the National Sheep Association."