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Volume 175: debated on Monday 2 July 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has investigated the possibility that the scrapie agent could be transmitted to cattle through contact with the scrapie-infected placenta of ewes; and if he will make a statement.

There is no evidence that such transmission occurs. If it does, it is apparently of no consequence since sheep and cattle have been in close contact for many years without a scrapie-like disease becoming established in cattle in the past. Epidemiological studies have show that BSE was most probably caused by feeding cattle with compound feedstuffs containing protein derived from scrapie-infected sheep.