Foot and mouth disease movement rules amended in Scotland

Two foot and mouth disease movement ban amendments come into effect in Scotland from today as a result of appeals from the livestock industry and the improving disease picture.

Scottish farmers are now allowed to move animals with acute welfare problems distances up to 50km. Previously movements were only permitted by specific licences up to 20km.

Movement of susceptible animals within farm business is also permitted under a general licence up to a maximum of 8km.

Richard Lochhead, Scottish cabinet secretary for rural affairs, said he was responding to specific concerns raised at a stakeholder meeting on Wednesday 15 August.

“We are considering further changes in response to the helpful feedback from the industry and in terms of the improving disease picture.

“We will do whatever we can as quickly as we can – as long as it is safe and the right time to do so,” said Mr Lochhead.

The latest amendment follows changes to movement restrictions announced on Wednesday 15 August in Scotland.

The changes included releasing general licences for pig movement between farms to address acute welfare problems, and a resumption of farm to abattoir movements as part of the Older Cattle Disposal Scheme.

The industry is now looking towards the next meeting of the European Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health next Thursday 23 August, to see if the export restrictions will be relaxed.

Quality Meat Scotland chairman, Donald Biggar, said all eyes will be turned to Brussels next week with producers hoping for good news coming out of the European standing committee meeting.

“The resumption of exports is fundamental to ensuring the future of the Scottish red meat sector, and is particularly critical to our sheep farmers,” said Mr Biggar.

“Until this happens though, I can’t stress enough how important it is for Scotland’s producers to be patient and continue follow the biosecurity arrangements that are in place.

“Whilst the risk of further outbreaks is reducing, the consequences of further or widespread outbreaks don’t bear thinking about,” he added.