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28 August 2003

Stevenson Urges BEAR Scotland And Scottish Executive To Stamp Out Ragwort

Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson is urging all Banff and Buchan constituents to be on the look out for a beautiful but deadly killer – ragwort. The toxic weed grows on the roadside verges and in open spaces, and is recognisable by its yellow daisy-like flowers. It can prove fatal to horses or cattle if they eat it. Mr Stevenson has received several complaints from constituents on the matter in recent weeks.

Commenting on the deadly plant and the serious problems it can cause, Mr Stevenson said:

“Ragwort really is a killer weed and it is this particular time of year that it flowers. Should an animal, especially horses and cattle, eat ragwort they will get liver poisoning, resulting in a slow and painful death. Furthermore, the seeds from ragwort plants can be spread onto neighbouring fields; therefore all must be done to keep this poisonous weed under control.

“The Weeds Act 1959 covers this deadly weed and states that failure to control ragwort is a notifiable offence. Given the high toxicity of ragwort, both the Scottish Executive and BEAR need to be doing more to eliminate this deadly weed to ensure the safety of all livestock. It is time that they really got their act together. If necessary, we need to see the Weeds Act being enforced and penalties issued to anyone who refuses to deal with the destruction of ragwort.

“All must be done to keep Banff & Buchan free from ragwort so should anyone spot the deadly weed, they should contact either the local council or BEAR as soon as possible so that the appropriate action can be taken.”

Stewart Stevenson
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