£5m funding allocated to eradicate sheep scab in Wales

The disease has significant economic consequences for farmers (Photo: NADIS)
The disease has significant economic consequences for farmers (Photo: NADIS)

The Welsh Government has confirmed that £5 million of Rural Development Programme funding will be used to help eradicate sheep scab in Wales.

The funding will help deliver an industry led project to tackle the disease in Wales.

Sheep scab is one of the most contagious disease of sheep and has been identified as a disease priority by the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group.

The disease has significant economic consequences for sheep producers and animal welfare issues for sheep.

It is caused by mites living in sheep’s fleeces or hair, which causes intense itching.

The cost of scab to the British sheep industry is currently estimated at £8.3 million per annum.

Further details of the project will be announced in the forthcoming months following ongoing discussions with industry representatives.

Announcing the funding, Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “Eradicating the disease has the potential to deliver significant lasting economic benefits for the sector at a particularly challenging time as we prepare to leave the European Union.”

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomed the announcement, calling it “positive step” in eradicating the disease.

BVA Welsh Branch President, Sarah Carr said: “Vets see first-hand the very significant impact sheep scab has on livestock health and welfare and we are delighted to see Welsh Government supporting vets and industry to eradicate this highly contagious disease.

“Today's announcement is another example of Welsh Government leading the way in demonstrating that industry and government can work together for the benefit of animal welfare.”