Consultation over sheep scab amendments

The council is seeking views on proposals to amend the Sheep scab regulations to allow plunge dipping of sheep imported to Shetland.

Crofters, farmers and anyone with sheep are encouraged to respond to the consultation, ahead of proposed changes to the legislation. 

The changes are deemed necessary in response to increased risk of introduction of sheep scab to Shetland, with rising cases of sheep scab in the rest of the UK.

Animal experts say commonly-used injectable treatments are becoming ineffective, owing to sheep scab mites developing resistance. 

A sheep scab outbreak occurred in Shetland in February 2022 – the first time that the infection had been identified in the isles since 1994. 

The only effective treatment currently available for sheep scab is plunge dipping with an organophosphate dip.

Plunge dipping has been effective in keeping Shetland sheep scab-free, and the proposed changes support the continued operation of the community dipping facility at Staney Hill, operated by Shetland Livestock Marketing Group (SLMG).

It is also proposed that sheep moving direct to slaughter are exempt from treatment for sheep scab, if certain conditions are met.

Feedback from the consultation will help to shape the final draft regulations that will be presented to councillors for approval, before submission to Scottish Ministers.

Veterinary advisor to Shetland Islands Council Hilary Burgess said: “We all want to keep Shetland free of sheep scab and excellent work by the whole community has so far been effective in doing so since the Spring of 2022. 

“We’re keen to hear from everyone in the crofting and farming community with any views on the draft regulations, which aim to maintain the important sheep scab free status for the isles.”

Two public meetings will also take place on Tuesday 9th January at the SLMG cafe at Staney Hill, and in the Mid Yell Hall on Thursday 11th January.

Both meetings will offer more detail and offer a chance to discuss the proposals.  A Teams link is also available for the Lerwick meeting on 9th January to allow remote attendance for anyone who cannot attend in person – please email

The consultation can be found at: The deadline for responses is Tuesday 6th February 2024.


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