§ Mr. Morley
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research her Department has commissioned into the correlation between the incidence of BSE and the use of organophosphorous pesticides.
§ Mr. Soames
When BSE was first indentified in 1986 a detailed epidemiological investigation was carried out to identify possible sources of the disease. This included an examination of any possible correlation betweeen BSE and exposure of cattle to organophophorus compounds but it was concluded, on the basis of those studies, that there was no such correlation and that the only positive correlation to be found was in relation to animal feed which contained ruminant protein. This resulted in the ban on the feeding of ruminant protein to ruminants in July 1988 which has now resulted in a marked decline in the incidence of the disease in younger animals and an overall 15 per cent. decline in the number of cases reported compared with the same period last year.
In January scientists from the Department, the Department of Health and the Agriculture and Food Research Council met Mr. Purdey to consider his views on the role of organophosphorus in the origins of the BSE epidemic and had a full discussion with him on the evidence that he put forward. Although it was agreed to consider some of the points covered in more detail, no formal research has been commissioned as a result of that very recent meeting.
§ Mr. Hinchliffe
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many suspected cases of BSE 849W were placed under restriction by a Ministry veterinarian in respect of which the restrictions were subsequently cancelled by another Ministry veterinarian, for each month, from February 1992 to November 1993; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Soames
The numbers of suspect cases of BSE in Great Britain which were placed under restrictions by Ministry veterinary officers, and from which restrictions were subsequently removed, from February 1992 to November 1993 are as follows:
Month of report Number February 1992 127 March 1992 146 April 1992 145 May 1992 153 June 1992 159 July 1992 125 August 1992 143 September 1992 173 October 1992 142 November 1992 119 December 1992 146 January 1993 118 February 1993 142 March 1993 202 April 1993 197 May 1993 181 June 1993 144 July 1993 128 August 1993 148 September 1993 153 October 1993 136 November 1993 133
The information as to whether restrictions were lifted by a different Ministry veterinary officer to the one by whom they were served could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The annual fluctuations in the rate at which restrictions are lifted reflect farm management practices which precipitate the onset of diseases with some clinical signs that are similar to those of BSE, but where treatment results in recovery.
§ Mr. Redmond
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cattle have died or been destroyed as a result of BSE since 1990.