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Sunday, March 8, 1998 Published at 11:04 GMT

Special Report

BSE timeline
image: [ The UK says its abattoirs are the cleanest in Europe ... but the export of beef is still banned. ]
The UK says its abattoirs are the cleanest in Europe ... but the export of beef is still banned.

November 1986 - BSE first formally identified by Central Veterinary Laboratory.

June 5, 1987 - Chief Veterinary Officer informs government ministers of new disease.

April 1988 - Government establishes the Southwood committee to look into BSE. It concludes that BSE had probably been spread in animal feed.

July 18, 1988 - Ban on feed derived from protein introduced.

August 8, 1988 - Decision to slaughter all BSE-affected cattle.

July 28, 1989 - EC bans export of cattle born before July 1988.

March 1, 1990 - EC restricts exports of cattle to those under six months.

July 14, 1993 - 100,000th case of BSE in Britain.

March 20, 1996 - Government announces suspected link between BSE and human equivalent, CJD.

March 25 1996 - EC announces worldwide export ban on all British beef.

April 16, 1996 - Government announces that all cattle over 30 months old are to be slaughtered

August 29, 1996 - Scientific report suggests that BSE epidemic will die out by 2001 irrespective of action taken.

March 1997 - Cull of 100,000 cattle in UK begins.

May 29, 1997 - Government says it may ban imports of beef from Germany and other EU countries which do not observe Britain's strict abattoir hygiene controls.

June 26, 1997 - European Union begins legal action against 10 member countries, excluding Britain, for breaching EU rules on BSE.

August 21, 1997 - A young woman who had been a vegetarian for 12 years contracts a new variant of CJD.

December 1997 - Farmers demonstrate at ports in Wales and Scotland at cheaper beef imports from Ireland.

December 15, 1997 - Government bans sale of beef on the bone.

December 23, 1997 - Government announces one-off compensation of £85m to beef farmers.

January 26, 1998 - A £2m marketing campaign is launched to attempt to restore confidence in British beef. The EU makes a financial contribution to the scheme.

February 20, 1998 - A neurologist says BSE-infected material may have leaked into water supplies in Kent, south-east England where cases of CJD have been reported.

March 4, 1998 - EU vets approve the removal of the ban on British beef exports from Northern Ireland. The decision has to be ratified by the EC.

March 9, 1998 - Public inquiry into the origin and spread of BSE and its human equivalent, CJD, opens in London.

March 16, 1998 - EU agriculture ministers vote to allow Britain's worldwide beef export ban to be lifted, with meat from herds in Northern Ireland given the all-clear.

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Internet Links

BSE: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

The Official Mad Cow Disease Home Page

The UK Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit

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