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Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

Supplementary information to the Evidence on BSE given by DEFRA Officials on 22 May 2002

1.   Research which has been commissioned to look into the connections between BSE infection and intensive farming

  There has been no research commissioned to look specifically at this question. However, the epidemiological evidence indicates that it is the exposure to the BSE agent via feed which is the major risk factor. The incidence of BSE has been greater in dairy herds than in beef suckler herds, which are kept extensively. However, BSE has occurred in beef suckler herds and in animals born in these herds. A good proportion of these affected herds would be regarded as extensively managed and a number have approached organic status, even if not formally registered as such. These animals have become infected as a result of having to provide supplementary feed, especially to young stock, during the winter months when hay and silage has been in short supply. In short, if cattle are exposed to the BSE agent in feed they are likely to go on to develop clinical disease whatever the form of farming system in which they are kept.

2.   The age profile of the animals which developed disease before 30 months of age.
Year of
onset
Age at onset (months)
2021 22232425 262728 2930
1986 1
1987 1
1988 1 11 2
19891 41 113 25
1990 2 131 310
1991 1 331 24
19921 123 33
1993 1 3
1994 2
1995 1
1996 1 1
Totals1 1 826 10912 32


3.   The ages of the BSE cases born after 1 August 1996 in GB
Case No.Date of birth Age at slaughter
125 August 199644 months
227 May 199748 months
34 December 199654 months
418 January 199752 months
525 April 199751 months
67 September 199662 months
74 January 199758 months
812 February 199758 months
927 July 199752 months
1030 July 199751 months
116 March 199757 months
1229 September 1996 64 months
1327 April 199758 months
1416 February 199846 months
1527 August 199669 months
1618 September 1996 69 months
1729 November 199753 months
1825 June 199758 months


4.   Costs of the experiment at IAH which failed because of doubts about the provenance of the brain samples

  The value of the contract with the institute for Animal Health for this work was £227,134. The experiment was due to be completed in December 2002. Payments were halted following reports that serious problems had arisen with the work. At that point some £208,878 had been paid.

18 June 2002




 
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