The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) has welcomed the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Scientific Commission recommendation for Scotland to be recognised as an area of negligible risk for BSE. The Scientific Commission’s recommendation will now be considered by the OIE World Assembly in May.
“This is the highest recommendation which is available to any country, establishing a disease-free status which was first requested through a detailed paper setting out the case for change which SAMW submitted, and other Scottish meat and livestock organisations supported, to the Scottish Government in February 2016,” said SAMW president, Allan Jess. “Our initiative was the beginning of a process which is now set to deliver many major benefits for everyone involved in Scotland’s livestock and meat industry.
“The OIE breakthrough which has now been secured is fully justified by the fact that the last confirmed BSE case in Scotland involved an animal born in 2002.”
Mr Jess added that the potential benefits to the Scottish industry of being elevated to ‘negligible risk’ status for BSE will include:
- reputational gain from disease-free image,
- removal of obstacles when negotiating access to new markets,
- easier access to markets where some trade already exists,
- trading advantage over competitors from ‘controlled risk’ countries,
- equal trading status with other ‘‘negligible risk’ countries,
- opportunity to trade in the most lucrative global markets,
- removal of costly and unnecessary SRM procedures,
- reduction of SRM disposal costs,
- potential new by product opportunities, and
- better returns for other links in the supply chain.
“We applaud the work done by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, and his officials, in advancing and pursuing the ‘negligible risk’ case on the industry’s behalf and look forward to being free to trade under our new status by as early as the summer,” said Mr Jess.