Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE): how to spot and report the disease

Advice on what to do if you suspect there is an outbreak of this infectious disease.

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The Scottish Government will only pay compensation in the following cases:

  • where APHA issues a notice of intention to kill, and then kills a BSE suspect, the offspring or the cohort(s) of a confirmed BSE case
  • where APHA issues a notice of intention to kill a BSE suspect, the offspring, the cohort of a confirmed BSE case, but the animal dies (or is killed for other reasons) after APHA has valued it
  • where APHA restricts the movement of an animal for BSE control purposes and it has to be killed for welfare reasons because it has suffered an accident. To qualify for compensation, these cattle must be accompanied by a private veterinary certificate confirming that they would otherwise have been fit for human consumption*

Compensation is based on a valuation carried out by an independent appraisal.

*The compensation payable is the market value of the carcass.


If you suspect signs of any notifiable diseases, you must immediately notify your Scotland: field service local office at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Failure to do so is an offence. 

This applies to cattle in your possession or under your control at farms, markets, slaughterhouses or other places. You may wish to take advice from your private veterinary surgeon who will contact APHA if they suspect BSE.

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