Record turnout for Scotsheep

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IT HAS been confirmed that attendance at last week’s Scotsheep 2004 was a record in the event’s 25-year history.

More than 8,000 visitors were at Poldean farm near Moffat last Friday where Willie and Jennifer Davidson are still rebuilding their business after 2,000 animals were slaughtered during the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic. The visitors to the event included more than 200 children from six local primary schools.

Ian Grant, a former president of NFU Scotland and chairman and first commissioner of the Crown Commissioners, owners of Poldean, said when opening the event: "The Davidson family demonstrated a remarkable resilience and determination to rebuild.

"It is gratifying to see that they are succeeding, while helping others to face up to the opportunities and challenges of the future by hosting this event."

Robin Anderson, managing director of Wallets Marts Castle Douglas and chairman of the organising committee, said: "We set out to make this one the biggest and best and I think we achieved that. It was a great day for the sheep industry in south-west Scotland and demonstrated that genuine confidence is returning to the industry."

During the day it was revealed that the Scottish sheep scab initiative, introduced at Kelso ram sale last September, has received seven anonymous calls to its dedicated helpline, 0131 472 4031, and that the scab outbreaks reported have been dealt with.

NFU Scotland livestock chairman Nigel Miller said: "Farming playing a lead part to control disease is central to the Scottish Executive’s animal health and welfare strategy.

"There is a stigma attached to scab that hampers effective treatment and I believe that the initiative has taken great strides to overcome that.

"The shame is not in having scab among your sheep, but in not treating the infection."