22 June 2001

BSEbattle being won

VETERINARY and government officials still insist the fight against BSE is almost won, despite more evidence of disease in cattle born after current controls came in.

BSE has been found in a cow born on May 27, 1997, nearly 10 months after controls governing the meat and bonemeal ban in feed were significantly stepped up.

The Friesian cow from Somerset is the second born after August 1, 1996 to be confirmed with the disease. The State Veterinary Service is investigating how the animal became infected.

The animal believed to be its mother, born in 1989, is still alive. This appears to rule out maternal transmission as the source of the disease, according to British Veterinary Association past president Francis Anthony.

"This suggests there has been a glitch in the feed ban," he said.

"But I do not think it is significant as there have only been two cases in animals born after the ban was tightened. The disease has essentially gone away."

Government epidemiologists predicted there would be 17 cases in cattle born after the ban was tightened between 1999 and the end of 2001, a figure now unlikely to be reached. &#42