HC Deb 07 May 1996 vol 277 cc90-1W
Mr. Alex Carlile

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence he has evaluated of(a) BSE being hereditary and (b) BSE infecting land; and if he will make a statement. [23562]

Mrs. Browning

[holding answer 3 April 1996]: MAFF has funded research into the possible heritability of BSE. Details of this study have been published as "A study of the inheritance of susceptibility to bovine spongiform encephalopathy" by Wijeratne W. V. S. and Curnow R. N., in The Veterinary Record in 1990, vol. 126, p5–8, and "The incidence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the progeny of affected sires and dams" by R. N. Curnow and C. M. Hau, in The Veterinary Record on 27 April 1996, p407–408. Investigation of any association between bulls used in artificial insemination and incidence of BSE in offspring has also been carried out. This work is an ongoing part of the epidemiological monitoring, and has not identified any evidence of heritability. It has been published in part in "Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Related Diseases—An Epidemiological Overview" by J. Wilesmith, in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 1994, vol. 42, p1–8. No heritable mutations that result in spontaneous or heritable BSE have been identified in bovines.

There is no evidence of any link between BSE transmission and possibly contaminated land. Were this to occur, it would be seen as horizontal transmission of the disease from cattle to cattle. This is not seen. Details of this work was published in The Veterinary Record on 1 April 1995, p312 Hoinville et al. A copy of the paper was also annexed to the May 1995 progress report to Parliament, which is in the Library of the House.

Mr. Byers

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to introduce the Narang test to identify cattle infected with BSE before they are destroyed. [25909]

Mrs. Browning

[holding answer 23 April 1996]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Members for Wakefield (Mr. Hinchliffe) and for Pembroke (Mr. Ainger) on 26 April 1996, Official Report, column 325.

Mr. Garrett

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many BSE-infected cow carcases have been dumped in the Attlebridge tip in Norfolk. [27410]

Mrs. Browning

[holding answer 2 May 1996]: Approximately 360 carcases of BSE suspect animals were disposed of at the Attlebridge tip between September 1988 and December 1990. No carcases have been disposed there since 1990. Only three BSE carcases have been disposed of by burial since the end of 1991; these were all on remote sites where the preferred option—incineration in specialist plant—was not practicable.

Mr. Welsh

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate the cost of the slaughter of cattle of five years old and above in herds in Scotland which have had an incidence of BSE. [23364]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson

I have been asked to reply. It is estimated that there are just over 149,000 animals aged five years or above in Scotland in herds which have an incidence of BSE. Slaughtering animals alone at a cost of about £50 per head would cost around £7.5 million. More substantial would be the economic costs to the meat and dairy industries and compensation to farmers for losses of stock and replacement.

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