19 March 1998
Cunningham questions Laceys BSE claims
By PA Staff
FARM Minister Dr Jack Cunningham today questioned claims by food scientist Professor Richard Lacey that farmers were secretly burying BSE-infected cattle.
Dr Cunningham told the Commons the allegations were doubtful because farmers taking such action would lose out on cash payments of between £531 and £663 on every animal found to have mad cow disease.
“BSE is a notifiable disease and such burials would of course be an offence,” Dr Cunningham said. “I find it very difficult to believe that, given the situation in UK farming today, farmers would voluntarily forego some £500 million to £600 million.”
Prof Lacey told the BSE inquiry in South London on Tuesday (17 March) that figures showing a fall in cases of BSE-infected cattle were unreliable because farmers were burying the carcasses to avoid reporting them.