17 May 2000
MEPs vote for whole-herd BSE culls
By FWi staff
EUROPEAN MPs meeting in Strasbourg have voted in favour of slaughtering all cattle from any UK herd where at least one animal is confirmed to have BSE.
MEPs voted on Wednesday (17 May) to extend to all European Union member states the policy of whole-herd slaughter where BSE is found.
Although the Commissions proposals have not become law, the MEPs decision will carry weight when the plan is put before the Council of Ministers.
A report by Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, for the MEPs environment committee, had earlier broadly welcomed the idea of extending whole-herd slaughter rules.
The committee had wanted the geographical area covered by whole-herd slaughter to be clearly defined and not left up to individual countries.
Phillip Whitehead (Labour MEP, East Midlands) agreed that safety must be a priority. But the UK had already slaughtered animals at risk, he added.
There was no need to introduce a whole-herd slaughter policy in the UK, said Mr Whitehead, who stressed that only deboned beef carcasses were exported.
Exemptions from the whole-herd slaughter were not needed for countries, including the UK, which already had good anti-BSE controls, he argued.
Elspeth Attwooll (Lib-Dem, Scotland) said agreed that some UK measures had proved effective. These made the database export scheme unnecessary.
Jeffrey Titford (UK Independence Party, Eastern) said the proposals would add more bureaucracy. More compliance, not new laws, was necessary, he added.
Robert Goodwill (Conservative, Yorkshire and Humber) believed that the Commission should be seeking to complement the member states legislation.
The UK already had comprehensive measures in place and BSE cases were reducing, he said. There was no scientific justification for whole-herd slaughter.
But other MEPs, such as Jean-Claude Martinez (National Front Party, France), accused Britain of profiteering at all cost by feeding bonemeal to cows.
BSE had not disappeared from the UK and a whole-herd policy should be implemented in the same way as it was in France, he said.