The European Parliament has backed plans to allow animal proteins back into animal feed.
MEPs voted in favour of a report which says rules banning animal protein from being fed to pigs and poultry should be lifted.
The ban on protein from cattle and sheep in animal feed and on protein being fed to animals of the same species will remain in place.
The proposals, which were drafted by German MEP Dagmar Rother-Behrendt and voted on by MEPs on Wednesday (7 July), say the fall in MSE cases in the EU mean laws banning animal protein feeds should be gradually relaxed.
The plans also pave the way for new rules on removing specific risk materials from animal feed, changes to cohort culling policy and a higher age limit for BSE testing.
Given the EU’s “protein deficit”, MEPs backed the idea, but said strict conditions and safeguard – particularly around cannibalism and only using animal proteins fit for human health – must be in place.
NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said the decision was vital given that the EU was only 40% self-sufficient in protein animal feed and commodity prices remained high.
“The proteins that can be used as a result of this decision provide the main high quality feed source worldwide,” he said.
“The development will lift confidence in the control measures which have seen BSE become a rare disease and, indeed absent in many parts of the EU.”