There has been a dramatic fall in the number of BSE detections in Irish
cattle. Niine cases have been found since the beginning of the year, compared to
41 cases in 2006.
In 2005, 69 cases of BSE were recorded, and in 2004 there were 126 cases. The
highest annual total occurred in 2002, when there were 333 confirmed cases of
the disease, but this fell to 182 cases in 2003.
Scientists had predicted
a fall in the number of infected animals when the sub-set of older cows, which
may have been exposed to contaminated cattle feed, moved through the
Meat and bone meal
The most recent cases found here
have been in these older animals, which may have been fed contaminated meat and
bonemeal. Meat and bonemeal was banned from cattle feed in the 1980s but was
used in pig and poultry feed up to 2000.
It was discovered then that
contamination of cattle feed had been taking place in mills and compounding
plants. The segregation of the manufacture of cattle from pig and poultry
rations and the total ban on feeding meat and bonemeal to pigs and poultry in
2000 has led to a decline in the disease here and in Britain, where it was first
identified in the mid-1980s.
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