US snubs Belgian BSE sheep request

30 August 2000

US snubs Belgian ‘BSE’ sheep request

By FWi staff

THE US Department of Agriculture (USDA) government has rejected a request by Belgium for the return of 350 sheep suspected of harbouring a BSE-type disease.

Last year a BSE-type condition was discovered in four sheep in flocks in Vermont, which were imported from Belgium.

The USDA said because the sheep came from areas where BSE has been found they could harbour the disease.

This was greeted with scepticism by UK scientists and industry figures who said BSE had never been found in sheep.

The USDA said it would test for BSE as well as a type of scrapie and an unidentified type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).

Belgium asked for the healthy animals in the flocks to be shipped over so that scientists could monitor them.

But the USADA has said the unaffected sheep will be culled, and post-mortems carried out on the infected sheep.

It could take years to discover what they were suffering from.

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