DEFRA participates in regular meetings with the European Commission and other member states through the Commission’s Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Working Group, which meets approximately every two months. DEFRA also attends the Commission’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, which meets approximately every two weeks.
An amendment to Commission Decision 999/2001, enabling member states to apply for a derogation to allow the culling of cohorts to be deferred until the end of their productive lives, will come into force later this month. However, we would need to consider carefully whether to apply for such a derogation. Any changes to bovine spongiform encephalopathy control legislation must be carried out on the basis of a thorough risk assessment, based on sound science. It is unlikely that any change could be made before 2008 at the earliest. Meanwhile, we are required to enforce the legislation that is currently in place.