Thursday, 29 November 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
88. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the youngest animals identified regarding cases of BSE reported to date in 2001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30365/01]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): In 2001, 32 animals born in 1996 were confirmed as BSE positive and no case was confirmed in an animal born after May 1996. The number of confirmed cases of BSE has increased this year, as a result of the additional surveillance conducted on fallen and casualty animals over 24 months of age and on animals for slaughter over thirty months of age. Of the 210 cases confirmed this year, 105 were identified under the active surveillance regime while 72 of these were confirmed in fallen animals which would not, in any event, have been intended for the human food chain.
89. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the number of cases of BSE on a county and county basis affecting male and female animals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30366/01]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The following table indicates the number of cases of BSE reported in this country for each year to date since 1989, by county. The sex distribution of the animals is as follows: 786 cows and four bulls.
90. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development when he expects to have in place measures to completely eradicate BSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30369/01]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): A comprehensive range of measures is in place for the control and eradication of the disease. This includes compulsory notification of the disease, the depopulation of the BSE herd and the birth cohorts and progeny of the infected animals, a ban on the use of meat and bonemeal for farmed animals and the removal and destruction of specified risk materials from ruminant animals. These measures have been strengthened by a programme of targeted active surveillance for BSE among fallen and casualty animals. In addition all cattle over thirty months of age entering the food chain are now being tested for BSE.
I am satisfied that this range of measures is proving effective, and that it provides a sound basis for consumer confidence in beef, for the protection of public health and for the ultimate eradication of the disease from the national herd. I do not consider it appropriate to set a target date for the eradication of the disease in Ireland at this stage. However, I believe on the basis of the veterinary advice available to me, that the disease is reaching its peak. While I accept that there may be additional cases this year and next year, particularly in light of the additional surveillance under way, the age profile of cases being identified would indicate that the level of cases should begin to decline thereafter.
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