Minister admits difficulties in tracking BSE cattle - Farmers Weekly

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Minister admits difficulties in tracking BSE cattle

20 March 1998
Minister admits difficulties in tracking BSE cattle

JUNIOR farm minister Jeff Rooker yesterday admitted that tracking BSE-suspect cattle is “time-consuming and difficult.” His statement followed claims in the Guardian newspaper that more than 49,000 cattle at risk of developing BSE were untraceable, and a further 45,000 suspect cattle are proving hard to track down.

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Minister admits difficulties in tracking BSE cattle

20 March 1998
Minister admits difficulties in tracking BSE cattle

By FWi staff

JUNIOR farm minister Jeff Rooker yesterday (19 March) admitted that tracking BSE-suspect cattle is “time-consuming and difficult.”

Yesterdays Guardian newspaper claimed that internal Ministry of Agriculture documents showed that more than 49,000 cattle at risk of developing BSE were untraceable. A further 45,000 suspect cattle are proving hard to track down after being sold from the farms on which they were born.

“We have contacted all the herds in which BSE cases were born and sought to identify animals which were exposed to the same feed as these cases,” Mr Rooker told Parliament.

“Where these animals have been sold off the farm of origin, we have tried to trace and locate them. … This is a time-consuming and difficult task, made more difficult by the lack of the computerised cattle tracing system which we are now developing. Progress on the cull will inevitably become slower, as increasingly often it is single animals that have to be tracked down.”

Mr Rooker said it is likely that the Governments selective cull will be completed by this autumn. By then, 80,000 cattle will be slaughtered – some 60,000 less than anticipated total of 140,000 which Britain promised the European Union it would kill under the Florence Agreement of 1996.

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