24 July 1997
Dramatic fall in BSE deaths
THE number of BSE cases in cattle has fallen dramatically over the past two years, according to a government progress report on mad cow disease.
The number of clinically-suspected cases of BSE reported in Great Britain has continued to fall. By the end of June this year there was 56% fewer cases than at the same time in 1996 and 70% fewer than in 1995. This improvement is expected to continue according to BSE Progress Report.
The governments progress report shows that in 1995 the number of cattle suspected of having BSE was 14,299. That dropped to 8,010 in 1996 and has fallen as low as 1,716 suspected cases in 1997. During the peak of the outbreak in 1992, there were as many as 36,682 cases.
Farm minister Dr Jack Cunningham said: This dramatic downtrend is encouraging. It shows that the measures taken so far are having a dramatic effect on numbers of BSE cases.
This report also sets out the strong measures we are taking to make sure that BSE is wiped out completely from Britain, Dr Cunningham said.
The report comes one day after European farm ministers gave the European Commission the all clear to impose tough anti-BSE rules on abattoirs and meat processors throughout the EU. The new rules will require EU abattoirs to follow the UK initiative and remove specified risk materials from cattle and sheep at slaughter.
Meat and Livestock Corporation director general Colin Maclean commented that now the whole of Europe was dealing with its beef in the same way, there was no longer any logical reason why world markets cannot be opened up to British beef.