BSE identified in UK

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BSE identified in UK

The 1st of November 1986 AD

On November 1 1986 BSE was first identified as a new disease by veterinary scientists working in the pathology department of the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Weybridge . They had carried out tests on the brains of two cows from farms in Southern England which had shown what were then unusual, but not unseen, symptoms indicative of some form of neurodegenerative disease.
In fact such symptoms had been observed as early as 1984. On December 15 1987 it was announced that studies pointed towards meat and bone-meal fed to cattle as a protein supplement as the likely cause of the disease, though there are opinions which differ about this: some have suggested particular types of fertiliser as the source, for example. Similarly some voices have been heard doubting whether what has been stated to be the human version of the disease, variant Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease, is in fact transmitted from beef, cases contracted by lifelong vegetarians at least raising questions about it.
Strangely the meat and bone-meal protein supplement was banned from cattle feed only in June 1988, and it was not until the following year that high-risk offal from cattle was withdrawn from the British market, by which time it is estimated that nearing half a million suspect cattle had been introduced into the human food-chain.


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