'No risk' from first case of Mad Cow disease since 2013; Government and unions seek to reassure public.
Byline: ANDREW FORGRAVE Rural Affairs Editor firstname.lastname@example.org ANDREW FORGRAVE
BRITAIN'S first case of BSE, found in a dead cow originating from Wales, should not cause undue alarm, farm leaders and government officials have said.
The Welsh Government said the animal did not enter the human food chain and there was no risk to human health.
Its offspring have been traced and isolated, and will be destroyed in line with EU requirements.
While there have been sporadic cases of BSE in the UK in recent years, the last case recorded in Wales was in 2013.
According to the Farmers Union of Wales, isolated cases were to be expected at the latter stages of a successful eradication programme.
A spokesman said: "Since incidences of BSE peaked at more than 37,000 in 1992, an intensive monitoring and eradication programme has all but eliminated the disease.
"The strict controls in place mean that one-off incidences such as this one represent no risk whatsoever." There have been no previous incidences of BSE in the UK this year, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.
One case was confirmed in 2014 and three in 2013. The location of the originating farm in the latest case is not being disclosed at the moment.
But Rebecca Evans, Wales' deputy minister for farming and food, said it showed that the surveillance system was working well.
"The case was identified as a result of the strict control measures we have in place," she said.
BSE, commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease usually affecting cattle at around four to five years.
All breeds are susceptible to a disease that has a long incubation period, from about 30 months to eight years.
All animals over four years of age that die on a farm are routinely tested for the disease.
William Powell, the Welsh Lib Dems' shadow farming minister, said the latest case was "very disappointing news".
Mr Powell sympathised with the Welsh farming sector which has already endured a miserable year.
He said consumers should not be alarmed. "Wales has the best beef produce in the world and that is something our nation can continue to be immensely proud of," he said.