A single case of BSE has emerged in the Huntly area and has been dealt with resulting in no further risk. Scotland and Northern Ireland were given Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) negligible risk status in May 2017. The last confirmed case in Scotland was in 2002. The last case in Wales was only last year and the last in England was in 2012. England and Wales are not due to have their status reconsidered before 2020 at the earliest.
Previously, the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers submitted the application for re-grading with the help of the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity. In March 2017, they noted:
‘We applaud the work done by Fergus Ewing and his officials in advancing and pursuing ‘negligible risk’ case on the industry’s behalf and look forward to being free to trade under our new status as early as the summer.’
Some readers may remember how BSE started. If not see this from Frederick A. Murphy, DVM, PhD, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California in mad-cow.org:
‘In the early 1980s in England the rendering process (by which livestock carcasses are converted to various products, including protein supplements for livestock feed) was changed. Earlier, a solvent extraction step had been used to extract fats (tallow); this step was stopped when the price of the petroleum-based solvents used to extract fats went up. The infectious agent is solvent-sensitive. Otherwise, the infectious agent is extremely hardy — it can survive boiling and many disinfectants but is readily destroyed by extremely high temperature (such as in an autoclave), or by oxidizing agents, or by solvents.’
The first reported case was in West Sussex in 1986.
Given the likely source of the disease in the ‘unclean’ parts of England or Wales, Professor John Robertson, author of Dirty Globalisation: Drugs, Human Pandemics, Industrial Waste and Mad Cows, has called for a hard border with armed guards to preserve Scotland’s square sausage production chain and, of course, to prepare for Scottish independence post-Brexit.