EU GOAT farmers are likely to face increased testing of stock for BSE, following confirmation of the disease in a two-year-old animal in France.
It has long been accepted that BSE could be present in goats, as meat and bonemeal was widely used in their rations until 2001. But this is the first time the disease has been found in a goat outside of laboratory conditions.
The discovery was made in 2002 as part of a routine surveillance programme. French scientists quickly established that the casualty animal, from the Ardche departement, had a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) different from scrapie.
The sample was sent to the reference laboratory in Weybridge, which has issued a statement “supporting the conclusion that the French caprine isolate is likely to contain the BSE strain”.
In response, the EU Commission plans an immediate increase in the level of testing. Over six months, 200,000 healthy goats will be tested.