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Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Volume 174: debated on Tuesday 12 June 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will list the names and number of cases of BSE detected at each abattoir;(2) how many cases of BSE were

(a) volunteered by farmers, (b) detected at cattle markets, (c) detected at abattoirs by veterinary inspectors and (d) detected at abattoirs by other personnel.

Over 98 per cent. of suspect cases of BSE have been reported on farm. Up to 31 March 1990, 133 suspect cases had been reported in markets (of which 92 were confirmed) and 203 suspect cases reported at abattoirs (of which 149 were confirmed). A breakdown of abattoirs involved is not available.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether the Government will initiate a programme to look for the possible occurrence of spongiform encephalopathy in dogs;(2) if he will investigate the incidence of canine spongiform encephalopathy among breeding bitches in licensed and unlicensed puppy farms;

(3) if he will investigate the incidence on puppy farms of proprietors feeding their dogs on (a) dead sheep which have may have died of scrapie, (b) condemned meat and (c) beef infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy; and if he will make it his practice to advise all puppy farmers to avoid feeding any meat which contained offal.

There have been no reports of naturally occurring or laboratory-induced spongiform encephalopathy in dogs. Nevertheless, as recommended by the Tyrrell committee, the health of dogs is being monitored by veterinary surgeons and a study is being planned on hounds, which are traditionally fed fallen livestock.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who is responsible for the disposal of the carcases of BSE-affected cattle; and what proportion are (a) incinerated, (b) disposed of in toxic waste tips and (c) disposed of in domestic refuse tips.

The disposal of carcases of BSE-affected cattle is the responsibility of the Ministry. Nationally about two thirds are incinerated and one third are disposed of by burial on licensed waste disposal sites approved by local authorities for this purpose. Information on the classification of individual sites is not held centrally.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress is being made in developing a test for identifying BSE in live cattle; and how soon he expects such a test to be available.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) on 21 May at column 86.