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Friday, 16 February, 2001, 15:25 GMT
Europe's BSE crisis
Ireland United Kingdom Netherlands Denmark France Portugal Spain Belgium Switzerland Germany Italy

Countries all over Europe are urgently stepping up cattle testing as the spectre of BSE spreads. Click on the map above to find out what is being done to fight the disease.



  • 596 cases of the disease since 1989, 150 of them in 2000. Numbers of affected cattle have been steadily rising since 1996.

  • Strict controls - meat and bone meal are banned from cattle feed, and factories are subjected to clinical tests.

  • All cattle over 30 months old subjected to a mandatory test using a technique pioneered in Ireland.

  • Many animals destroyed as a safety measure - so much so that Ireland may soon build its first big animal incinerator.

  • One person known to have died from new variant CJD, caused by eating BSE-infected meat.

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  • First cases of BSE-infected cattle recorded in 1986.

  • Feed containing sheep carcasses banned in 1988, but BSE cases rocketed, reaching a peak of over 36,000 in 1992.

  • Public concern reached a climax in 1996, when the government admitted it had covered up research pointing to a link between BSE and CJD.

  • The EU reacted quickly, imposing a strict export ban on British beef and related products. Cattle over the age of 30 months banned for human consumption in the UK since 1996.

  • UK's beef industry suffered huge losses from which it has still not recovered.

  • Cases of BSE still dwarf that of any other country - 179,500 cases reported since 1991.

  • But cases declining every year - 1,415 in 2000 compared to 2,280 in 1999 - while in several European countries the disease is on the increase.

  • Far more incidences of human new variant CJD than any other country - over 80 confirmed deaths.

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  • Relatively low levels of BSE infection.

  • First Dutch case occurred in 1997, and up to 10 cases now reported.

  • Government intends to step up testing through 2001, conducting about 12,000 tests compared to several hundred in 2000, focusing on sick or dead animals.

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  • Banned animal-based cattle feeds in the early 1990s, and banned the sale of beef in February 2000, when the first case in a Danish-bred animal was discovered.

  • The only previous known case, in 1992, was in an imported Scottish highland cow. A third case was discovered in January this year.

  • Norway and Lithuania banned imports of Danish beef as soon as the first case was reported.

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  • Became the centre of BSE fears spreading across Europe when the crisis erupted there late in 2000.

  • So far up to 262 cases found, and the number has been steadily rising.

  • All cattle over 30 months old now tested for BSE.

  • Government pledged a $426m (FF3.24bn) package of measures to help the meat and farming industries recover from the crisis.

  • So far, two human deaths from CJD have been reported, and a third person has the disease.

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  • 522 cases of BSE reported in total. Levels have increased each year.

  • No cases reported for cows born since 1995, when use of meat and bone meal in animal feed was banned.

  • Stringent tests and preventive measures in place - Portugal is expected to destroy 50,000 animals this year.

  • Cases peaked at 170 in 1999, but the agriculture ministry says the disease is now declining - only 136 cases were reported in 2000.

  • Not yet recorded a case of variant CJD, but is still banned from exporting its beef to the European Union because of the relatively high levels of BSE.

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  • First two cases uncovered in November 2000. Another 10 have already been reported in 2001.

  • The discovery followed Spain's banning of French cattle and beef exports.

  • BSE panic has now hit Spain, and two politicians have resigned.

  • Government is considering a ban on sale of meat from animals in bullrings - considered a national delicacy. Breeders say they will lose up to $15m dollars in earnings.

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  • Recorded its first cases of BSE in 1993.

  • A total of 22 cases found so far, but experts warn that the likely infection rate is much higher.

  • EU Commission report warned that cattle may have been exposed to contaminated animal feed imported since the 1980s.

  • Introduced computerised monitoring system of cattle in 1997.

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  • Recorded 367 cases of BSE to date and, along with Ireland and Portugal, has seen one of the most rapid increases in the disease.

  • The only country to test for "hidden" BSE in the carcasses of cattle that did not show any signs of the disease prior to death.

  • These results have doubled Switzerland's previous total, and prompted fresh concerns that substantial numbers of cases are escaping detection elsewhere in Europe.

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  • For years, Germany considered itself an oasis of BSE-free beef in Europe.

  • But last year, the country discovered its first case, triggering widespread public concern and anger. To date, including animals imported into Germany, 31 cases have been reported.

  • Allegations that government ministers knew for almost a year that German beef was not safe forced two cabinet ministers to resign.

  • Germany banned animal products from cattle feed seven years ago, but until December 2000 it was still legal to feed meat and bone meal to pigs and poultry.

  • Government announcement on 26 January 2001 stated that animals should be tested from 24 months old, prompting calls for the same to happen throughout Europe ( the current age limit is 30 months).

  • Cabinet approved a decision 31 January to slaughter 400,000 cows over 30 months old.

  • Meat industry sent reeling by the crisis - beef sales currently down 45% from October 2000.

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  • First case in Italian-born cattle reported in January 2001.

  • Banned imports from France in November - Italy is France's biggest beef customer - but the ban has recently been lifted.

  • Butchers now have to display country of origin and place of slaughter on all fresh meat. Many restaurants followed suit.

  • New regulations to improve veterinary monitoring in slaughter houses and a ban on bonemeal being fed to cows and sheep have recently been introduced.

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    Figures of BSE cases are provided by the European Commission and indicate cases reported up to the end of January 2001.

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