17 November 1999
US row over ‘BSE’ sheep

AGRICULTURE officials in the USA want to slaughter two flocks of sheep they fear may have been exposed to BSE.

The 350 East Friesian sheep, imported from Belgium and The Netherlands, are under quarantine at two Vermont farms.

The owners and the US Department of Agriculture are deadlocked, with the federal officials claiming the safest step would be to destroy them and the farmers insisting that the government is wrong.

The sheep were brought to America in 1996 to make speciality cheeses.

The agriculture department halted further imports and said that, because they came from areas where BSE has been found, they could harbour the disease.