Date lodged: 17 February 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the potential impact of the Schmallenberg virus on sheep stocks, in light of reports that more than 50 flocks in England and Wales have been infected.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 3 March 2017
On the basis of current evidence, including an assessment by the European Food Safety Authority, the long-term impact on the UK susceptible livestock from Schmallenberg virus is likely to be low. However, it can have a significant effect on a small number of flocks and herds. The impact on individual flocks and herds depends on the number of ewes or cattle without immunity that are at the vulnerable stage of pregnancy when infection begins, so it is possible that in a small number of cases the consequences could be much more severe than the average. Tests are available commercially to enable farmers to find the status of their herds and flocks.
The Scottish Government continues to fund Scotland’s Rural College to help diagnose new cases of the disease and that information will be shared with the relevant livestock sectors to help farmers make better informed choices during the breeding season.