New regulations follow foot-and-mouth outbreak

Scotland’s 35 abattoirs face tough new measures following the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the UK, according to the Scottish environment secretary.

Richard Lochhead said farmers must apply for new rigorous slaughter licenses, display adequate safety measures and face restrictions on the transfer of livestock.

The news comes after the announcement that the complete ban on movement of cattle in Scotland has been relaxed, placing the Scottish meat and livestock industry ahead of its counterpart south of the border – where all movement of animals is still prohibited.

The lifting of restrictions on slaughter was agreed on the advice of Charles Milne, Scotland’s chief veterinary officer and after discussion with UK ministers and officials.

Mr Milne said: "On the basis of a veterinary risk assessment, I am confident that we can proceed with this limited relaxation in Scotland on a strictly controlled basis."

Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals, in particular cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer. A total of 2,030 cases of the disease were confirmed in Great Britain in the outbreak between February and September 2001 according to Defra.