Threat to semen exports confirmed
By Amanda Cheesely in Brussels
RESTRICTIONS on the export of UK cattle semen could be imposed following advice from the EUs multidisciplinary committee in Brussels yesterday.
The committee says it has been neither proven nor refuted that BSE can be transmitted to calves via their sires semen. But it is playing safe, and believes only semen and embryos from BSE-free herds should be traded, according to EU officials. This could mean restrictions on UK exports, say the officials, although it will be up to the EU Commission to present proposals on the matter.
The committee also found it was likely that BSE could be transmitted from mother to calf – but noted that this “vertical” transmission alone could not keep the BSE epidemic going in the absence of feed-borne infection and “horizontal” adult-to-adult transmission.