14 October 1999
BSE probe pledges April result

By FWi staff

THE official inquiry into the BSE crisis entered its final stage of hearings today, with a pledge that the report into its findings will be delivered by next April.

Todays session in Lambeth, south London, began with a session examining the current thinking on the origins of BSE.

The hearing is focussing on disputed evidence which so far suggests that BSE originated as a strain of the scrapie disease found in sheep.

Lord Phillips, who is chairing the inquiry, delivered an opening statement to the media and public explaining the purpose of the inquirys final sessions.

“We do not pretend that we can identify with certainty the origin of BSE,” he said.

“But we do think it is important to explore with the experts in the field, and with the benefit of hindsight, the epidemiological factors that may indicate whether BSE had a scapie origin.”

The hearings aim to fill in gaps in current thinking and resolve conflicts in the evidence so the fact-finding process can be completed.

The final report will be delivered by the end of March next year, and drafts of some of the background sections are already well advanced, said Lord Phillips.