19 January 1996

BSE still on decline

BSE cases are continuing to fall – by nearly a half over the past year, according to MAFF figures released this week.

The statistics show a reduction from 23,943 confirmed BSE cases in 1994 to just 12,255 cases in 1995, though the ministry warned this figure may rise slightly due to ongoing tests at the Central Veterinary Laboratory.

The total number of cases confirmed at the end of the year stands at 161,629. But last years cases represented a far lower level than at the height of the BSE scare in 1992, when 36,681 confirmed cases were reported. The age profile of confirmed cases continues to rise with all but a handful directly traceable to feed.

&#8226 Junior farm minister Angela Browning reported that 10 other countries had recorded cases of BSE since its outbreak in the UK in the mid-1980s. Responding to a question from Christopher Gill (Con, Ludlow), Mrs Browning said Switzerland had reported 183 cases, Republic of Ireland 112, Portugal 28, France 12, Germany 4, Italy and Oman 2 and Canada 1. &#42