SCOPS launches Code of Practice to ensure safe and effective sheep dipping

A new Code of Practice has been launched by the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) group, in conjunction with the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC), to ensure access to the best advice on effective treatment of sheep scab with organophosphate (OP) sheep dip, minimising risks to users and the environment.

Confirmation of resistance in sheep scab mites to the injectable macrocyclic lactone (ML) scab treatments, coupled with increasing concern that the use of these products is accelerating resistance to the MLs in gut-worm populations, means more and more sheep farmers have been turning to OP dipping for the treatment of sheep scab.

In contrast, the number of farmers with their own dipping facilities has continued to fall, due to tighter regulation of the purchase, use and disposal of OP dipwash. This means they have increasingly been turning to professional mobile dipping contractors – highlighting the need for support to those service providers.

Reflecting the cross-industry reach of the SCOPS group, the new code has been developed by in conjunction with a number of industry partners, and is for everyone involved in the dipping process – from prescribers through to the end users on farm.

Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association (NSA), said: “If we are to safeguard the future of OP dips against the risk of scab mites developing resistance to the dip and protect the people involved and the environment, we must ensure dipping is carried out properly.

“This Code has the backing of organisations throughout the industry and offers reliable and responsible guidance to all those involved in mobile dipping, including farmers, prescribers and dippers.”

Bryan Lovegrove, AHDA’s secretary general, supports this view.

He said: “The Code brings clarity and understanding to what is required in the safe storage, prescribing and use of OP dips by both contractors and sheep farmers. OP dip is a vital treatment against sheep scab and the code will encourage best practice.”

Stephen Dawson, AMTRA’s secretary general, added: “All sheep medicines, including OP dips, must be prescribed and used responsibly. AMTRA supports this initiative, which will enhance standards and ensure OP dip used by professional contractors.

“It should be read by all SQPs and others involved in prescribing OP dips so that they can play their part in ensuring OP is used correctly.”

The SCOPS Code of Practice can be downloaded, by clicking HERE.

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