12 May 2000
EU vets turn down SRM plan
By Philip Clarke
EU vets failed to back a commission proposal for pan-European controls on specified risk materials at their fortnightly meetings in Brussels on Thursday (11 May ).
The plan calls for a two-tier system, with a long list of SRMs to be destroyed in the UK and Portugal, and a shorter list for everyone else.
A number of complaints were voiced at the meeting.
France, in particular, was against it, because there is no provision to ban imports from third countries operating with lesser standards.
Current national legislation in France prevents imports from countries with no SRM controls.
Portugal also opposed the idea that it should be treated differently from the UK.
It would have to remove vertebral columns from cattle over six months, whereas the UK would only have to do it for over-thirty-month animals.
Most member-state vets said they needed more time to examine it, and that a 1 July start date was far too soon.
This is despite the fact the commission has been trying to get SRM controls agreed for the past five years.
The proposal will be discussed again on 23 May, though it seems unlikely to get the required qualified majority.
It will therefore go to the June farm council for ministers to debate.