October 2, 2003
UK Estimates Total BSE Cost At Euro100 Billion
A UK panel of international experts has estimated the total long-term cost of BSE in cattle to be close to €100bn, €92bn (65 sterling pound) of which in Europe.
The group, headed by Professor Patrick Cunningham of Trinity College Dublin, has conducted the inquiry on behalf of the European Association for Animal Production.
"BSE has been a calamity for governments, for the meat trade, for farmers and most of all for the 150 people who have died from the BSE-linked variant Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease," said Professor Cunningham. Although the link between BSE and Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease has never actually been proven, the panel believes that there is such a link.
The cost of BSE in money terms alone is staggering, said Professor Cunnigham. "It makes BSE the most expensive disease that has ever struck the European cattle herd. It is the equivalent of Irish beef exports for 90 years."
The BSE outbreak which started in Europe has spread to 21 countries worldwide, most recently to Canada, where the confirmation of a single case in May 2003 is costing $11m a day in lost exports.
According to the report, the BSE epidemic is slowly drawing to a close, will probably be finished in ten years and is unlikely to recur.