Fresh case of mad cow disease confirmed

Pic: David Cheskin/PA Wire
Pic: David Cheskin/PA Wire
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A CASE of “mad cow disease” has been identified on a farm in Wales, the Welsh Government said.

The case of BSE was found in a dead cow as a result of strict control measures, which see all animals over four-years-old that die on a farm routinely tested for the disease, Rebecca Evans, Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, said.

The animal did not enter the food chain and the Food Standards Agency and Public Health Wales said there was no risk to human health as a result of the isolated case.

It is the latest in a small number of cases of BSE identified across the UK in recent years, with the last case recorded in Wales in 2013.

Ms Evans said: “Identification of this case demonstrates that the controls we have in place are working well.

“Beef across the UK continues to be produced in compliance with the World Organisation for Animal Health rules.”

Officials were working to investigate the circumstances of the case, she added.

The British BSE epidemic, which lasted between 1986 and 2001, is one of the worst animal epidemics and public health scares the nation has seen.

The disease infected more than 180,000 cattle and another 4.4 million were destroyed as a precaution. It cost the taxpayer millions in consumer safeguards, compensation payments and aid to the beef industry as well as costing the lives of humans killed by vCJD.

Yorkshire victims include Sarah Roberts, who died at the age of 28 in 2000 and Matthew Parker, 19, who lost his fight against the disease in 1997. Adrian Hodgkinson, from Harrogate, also died in 1997 aged 24.

For farmers in Yorkshire and across the UK, it was a time of great misery as not only did they see the mass culling of cattle, the public lost confidence in beef and many countries banned the importing of British beef.

The ban meant farmers lost out on trade worth £675 million a year, the National Farmers’ Union said when the European Commission finally lifted the export restrictions in 2006.