The Politics of BSE by Richard Packer (auth.)

Posted On March 23, 2017 at 9:27 pm by / Comments Off on The Politics of BSE by Richard Packer (auth.)

By Richard Packer (auth.)

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One is a disease of mink known as TME, severe outbreaks of which occur occasionally in mink farms. TME has similar features to other TSEs. It might or might not be relevant that farmed mink are typically fed animal waste such as the carcasses of animals that have died. Apparently7 in one experiment healthy mink fed on scrapie-infected sheep did not succumb to the disease but did so if the scrapie infected material were rubbed into abrasions in their skin. Another TSE was first found in mule deer and elk in wildlife parks in the US states of Colorado and Wyoming.

The CMO had apparently not previously taken on board the existence of BSE, though there had been by this date a fair amount of comment in the newspapers. At that time DoH had no veterinary expertise so the articles in the Veterinary Record would probably have passed them by. Some relatively informal and low-level contacts with MAFF on BSE had taken place, the significance of which had been exaggerated in the papers that had gone forward within MAFF. As a consequence MAFF administrators appear to have assumed DoH were in the picture to a greater extent than was the case.

They were overcapacity, chronic low profitability and lack of investment. But it was the ‘unreasonable’ requirements of EU law that got publicity, even though in my experience the private opinion of most UK experts was that something very like the EU rules should have been adopted by the UK long since. Within government the drive to improve standards of meat hygiene appeared to run directly counter to the political current which from 1992 was given focus in the deregulation initiative. Almost all representations MAFF received on the subject argued either for less onerous rules and/or more ‘sympathetic’ enforcement.

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