28 February 2000
NBA calls for mass anti-BSE cull

By Isabel Davies

THE National Beef Association is asking producers to consider agreeing to cull all elderly cows in five years time to eradicate BSE.

The association says the industry should think about culling all cows over 10 years of age in the autumn of 2005 or 2006.

Although the number of BSE cases has dropped dramatically, the association believes that other countries are still nervous about the levels of BSE animals.

While cases have dropped from their peak in early 1993, MAFF still expects there to be 950 cases confirmed in 2000.

Until this figure can be brought down, the British industry will face restrictive controls, including export curbs and the OTMS cull, it claims.

SRM controls and the Over Thirty Month Scheme may be reassuring to UK consumers, but overseas they are regarded as continuing proof we have a BSE problem, said Robert Forster, chief executive of the NBA.

Mr Forster said he was convinced farmers would welcome a chance to accelerate the extinction of BSE and open up the new post BSE-era.

Initial research suggests NBA members think autumn 2005 or 2006, when cows born after the introduction of the MBM ban in August 1996 will be 9-10 years old, would be acceptable.

“In these circumstances, it sounds like common sense to bring forward the extinction of BSE by killing off all cows that are more than 10-11 years old.

“It is clear that the beef industry would benefit hugely if BSE is wiped out sooner rather than later, and obvious that it must soon begin to move collectively towards agreeing the ideal solution,” said Mr Forster.