29 August 2000
French tests show increase in BSE
by FWi staff
MORE cases of BSE are emerging in France as the government pushes ahead with its programme of spot checks.
Launched at the beginning of June, the tests for sub-clinical BSE are carried out on fallen stock on farms in areas most affected by the disease.
So far the French government has tested over 4500 samples out of 48,000 planned for the year.
Using the Swiss-developed Prionics system, this week it announced another three cases, bringing to seven the total number so far picked up.
The animals were born between October 1993 and July 1994 in three separate herds north-west France. The herds of 367, 83 and 80 cows were destroyed.
A further case was confirmed by the French authorities under conventional reporting procedures, for cattle showing full symptoms of the disease at death.
The animal, from lAin, was destroyed along with the 208 others in its herd.
This brings the total number of officially recognised casualties in France this year to 41, well ahead of the 30 recorded for the whole of 1999.
The latest discoveries lend weight to allegations of widespread under-reporting of the disease in France made by Brussels earlier this year.
Some observers believe the whole herd slaughter policy operated by the French government acts as a disincentive for farmers to declare suspect cases.