26 October 1999
Still more BSE in UK than in France

CASES of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow” disease have declined sharply in Britain over the last few years.

But British cases are still far in excess of those reported in the rest of Europe.

The disease has claimed the lives of 1595 cattle in Britain this year and the ministry of agriculture expects this to rise to nearly 2000 by the end of December.

This is 1000 fewer than claimed by the French in their submission to the European Commission, and part of the reason why they are insisting on a ban being upheld.

In 1992, over 36,000 cattle were slaughtered in the UK, but there has been a steady decline since — 24,000 in 1994, 8000 in 1996 and 3000 last year.

Cases of BSE are expected to fall sharply to about 900 by the end of next year and to between 300 and 500 in 2001.

A new case of the disease has just been reported in western France, bringing to 22 the total number of French cases this year.