THE control of sheep scab in Wales is one step closer following the production of an industry-led sheep scab report.

The report is a collaborative project between individuals from the farming unions, veterinary practitioners and other leading industry and stakeholder experts.

It was written in response to growing concern over the levels of sheep scab infestation in Wales.

The recommendations of the Welsh sheep scab industry group, which are contained in the report, have been passed to the Welsh Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group and to the Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths AM.

Group members, including the FUW, are now calling on the Welsh Government to provide the funding needed to implement the recommendations outlined in the report.

Sheep scab is an insidious problem and has significant welfare implications for infected sheep.

The disease is caused by the scab mite, Psoroptes ovis, and can cause excessive scratching and can lead to poor body condition in infected livestock.

Common problems when tackling the disease include issues such as misdiagnosis and reinfection from neighbouring farms.

Previous attempts to eradicate this disease have had limited success and this is largely due to treatment regimes which have attempted to control this disease on a farm-by-farm basis.

Farmers in Wales cannot control this disease in isolation and the report of the Welsh sheep scab industry group recognises the need for treatment to be co-ordinated across contiguous premises.

If funded, the programme would put a scab control regime in place which would increase the likelihood of neighbouring farms working together to eradicate this disease.

It is this fresh perspective on the disease that makes the recommendations within this industry-led report a more holistic and workable approach to disease control.

It is hoped that better disease management and control will eventually lead to sheep scab freedom in Wales.

It is now crucial that sufficient funding is provided to allow the recommendations in this collaborative industry-led report to come to fruition.