Relaxing BSE regulations gives hope to UK farmers

Restrictions governing British beef exports – enforced since the BSE outbreak three years ago – could be relaxed after the world animal health body, the Office Internationale des Epizooties (OIE), agreed to increase international thresholds for BSE risk categorisation.

The government says that the move brings the closer to making an application from high risk to moderate risk status because of the continuing decline in BSE cases.

Following OIE's annual conference in Paris yesterday, the upper threshold for moderate risk status will rise from 100 cases per million adult cattle to 200 cases per million adult cattle.

In the period between April 2002 and March 2003, the UK had identified 204 BSE cases per million adult cattle from both veterinary surveillance and active monitoring programmes. The government says that numbers are continuing to decline annually.

The first case of BSE was recorded in 1988 and between 1988 and April 30 2003, there have been 180,975 clinical cases confirmed in the UK under normal veterinary surveillance. The figures peaked in 1992 when there were 36,850 confirmed clinical cases compared to just 457 last year.

There are 32 other countries that currently fall within the "moderate risk" status. And it was reported on Wednesday that Canada has recorded its first-ever case of BSE in 10 years - the US responded by issuing a temporary order banning Canadian beef imports.

From the period of the first recorded case of BSE in 1988 until the beginning of this month there has been 129 deaths thought to be linked to variant CJD - the human form of BSE.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

10 December 2009
Swine Flu Deaths 'Less Than Expected'
New data, published today, has shown that anticipated deaths from swine flu are lower than were first anticipated. The British Medical Journal's website, bmj.com, reveals that there were 26 deaths out of every 100,000 cases of swine flu in England (a fatality rate of 0.026%).
02 June 2004
BSE in sheep contingency plan published
A consultation document on the UK's contingency plan for BSE in sheep has been published today. Launching the plan today, Defra and the other UK Agriculture and Rural Affairs Departments said that, while BSE has not been found naturally occurring in sheep, there was a "theoretical risk" that BSE could be present in sheep, masked as scrapie.
18 December 2003
Cot death expert to face professional conduct inquiry
The expert witness at the centre of a number of high-profile cases brought against women charged with killing their infants is to face a professional conduct inquiry.
23 May 2008
Oral HRT 'Doubles' Blood Clot Risk, Says Study
Oral HRT doubles the risk of blood clots, according to a study by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), is regularly prescribed to women suffering from the effects of the menopause.
29 June 2015
Dog Attacks On Postal Workers Decreases - Royal Mail
Dog attacks on postal workers has fallen 10% in the past year, according to the Royal Mail. Between 2014-2015, the number of attacks on postmen and women fell from over 3,300 to more than 2,900. The Royal Mail has suggested the decreased figure is due to a reform to the Dangerous Dog Act in England and Wales in May 2014.