July 21, 2010


EU's success with BSE control may help cut livestock costs


National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland has welcomed the publication of a second European Road Map that offers several new opportunities to strip out some of the costs to Scotland's livestock sector associated with eradicating Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).


The publication of the TSE Road Map 2 recognises the success throughout Europe in combating all Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), such as BSE in cattle or Scrapie in sheep and goats. That success allows the EU to contemplate changes in some of its testing and monitoring rules and could remove many of the associated costs to the livestock industry.


NFU Scotland Vice-President, Nigel Miller said: "A decade ago, BSE continued to cast a huge shadow over beef production in Scotland, the rest of the UK and throughout Europe. In addition, Scrapie in sheep flocks required to be addressed. The measures put in place at that time tackled the disease threat on farm and, more importantly, helped to reassure those consuming beef and lamb that the food was safe.


"The first TSE Road Map, brought in 2005, started the process of proportionately unwinding some of the testing and monitoring for TSEs that was taking place on farm and in abattoirs. Such has been the success in eradicating these diseases, that Europe finds itself in the position of contemplating further reductions in the relevant rules and regulations.


"This new Road Map, to run between 2010 and 2015, has the potential to recognise the huge improvements in the disease situation and strip out much of the cost associated with TSEs. There would be an immediate benefit to the industry if the age at which cattle entering the food chain require BSE testing were to be increased from its current level of 48 months. At the same time, any opportunity to reduce the cost burden associated with the disposal of Specified Risk Material (SRM) would be welcome."

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