TSE Vote Timely And Sensible

06 July 2011
SNP MEP Alyn Smith, Scottish member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has welcomed today's vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy regulations (TSEs), hailing them as being in step with the science, and timely considering current feed price levels.
The final report voted on today demands that any change to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) safety rules must maintain high animal and public health standards, but allows that the ban on feeding animal protein to non-ruminants, such as pigs, could gradually be lifted if further safeguards are put in place. Nevertheless, the ban on cattle and sheep protein being used in animal feed remains in place, in order to prevent another outbreak of BSE.

Changes to current EU laws, which the European Commission is about to review, could include new rules on removing specific risk materials from animal feed, a gradual relaxation of the animal protein feed ban, changes to cohort culling policy and a higher age limit for BSE testing.

Alyn said:

"A sensible decision reached today by the Parliament.

"It is clear that science has to lead the way in scaling back the strict but necessary restrictions imposed in the wake of the BSE crisis, yet we must still make sure that the legislation fits to reflect the best animal and human health advice and best economic interests of the sector. In more recent months it is fair to say that this has not been the case. The sharp fall in BSE cases in the EU shows that the current controls and surveillance systems are working well, and while it is clear that no corners can or should be cut on this, there are changes that can be made safely, subject to strict conditions and safeguards and these will remain in place.

"Nevertheless, given the protein deficit in the EU, combined with the very high feed prices that our farmers are facing at present, I have no doubt that today's vote will be welcomed in rural Scotland. I look forward to seeing what the Commission's review brings us."

For more information on the European Commission's TSE Roadmap 2, see http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/10/335&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en