§ Mr. Flynn
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many cases of scrapie have been recorded in each of the last five years; 
(2) what assessment his Department had made of the reported number of scrapie cases in sheep prior to his commitment to compensate affected farmers; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 24 June 1997]: Scrapie became a notifiable disease on 1 January 1993. The confirmed cases in Great Britain year by year since the disease became notifiable were:
Year Number 1993 328 1994 235 1995 254 1996 453 19971 (until end May) 213 1Until end May.
The Government's independent advisory committee, SEAC, has concluded that there is a probably a problem 545W with under-reporting. Other countries face similar problems with this disease. The French Government has recently introduced compulsory slaughter and compensation measures, similar to our own proposals. It is likely that the increase in notifications in Great Britain over the last 18 months has been due to payments being made to farmers by research workers for material from scrapie affected sheep, as in the early 1990s when a research project in force led to a number of cases brought to the attention of the authorities, though at that time the disease was not notifiable.
§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 24 June 1997]: Agriculture Departments are consulting interested parties on draft measures for the Compulsory Slaughter and Compensation Scheme for sheep and goats affected by Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). The consultation period ends on 30 June and we will then carefully consider all the comments received.