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Contaminated feed ‘most likely source’ of BSE infection
EFSA concluded that contaminated feed is the most likely source of infection
Isolated cases still being reported across the EU

Food safety experts have confirmed that exposure to feed contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is the most likely reason why isolated cases of the disease are still being reported in the EU.

Between 2005 and 2015, some 73 million cattle were tested for BSE in the EU, of which 1,259 tested positive for classical BSE. Of these, 60 were born after 2001, when the EU implemented a ban on the use of animal proteins in livestock feed.

The European Commission asked the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) to investigate the origin of these cases to see if they were caused by contaminated feed, or whether they occurred spontaneously.

EFSA concluded that contaminated feed is the most likely source of infection, because the infectious agent that causes BSE has the ability to remain active for many years.

“Cattle may have been exposed to contaminated feed because the BSE infectious agent as present where feed was stored or handled,” it said in a statement.  “A second possibility is that contaminated feed ingredients may have been imported from non-EU countries.”

Due the the difficulty of investigating individual cases, experts could not rule out other causes. Some constraints are the long incubation period of the disease and the lack of detailed information from farms at the time of the investigation.

In its report, EFSA makes a series of recommendations to maintain and strengthen the EU monitoring and reporting system, and to evaluate new scientific data that become available.

It notes that the number of classical BSE cases has dropped significantly in the EU over time, from 554 cases reported in 2005 to just two in 2015 (born after the ban).

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Campaign highlights ‘devastating impact’ of smoking around pets

News Story 1
 Leading vet charity PDSA has launched a campaign highlighting the ‘devastating impact’ that smoking can have on pets. The launch coincides with National No Smoking Day (14 March 2018) and aims to raise awareness of the risks of passive smoking and how to keep pets safe.

“Recent studies highlight that this is a really serious issue, and we want pet owners to know that they can make a real difference by simply choosing to smoke outdoors away from their pets,” said PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan. “We want pet owners to realise that, if they smoke, their pets smoke too.”  

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Voting opens for RCVS council elections

Eligible veterinary surgeons can now vote in this year’s RCVS Council elections. Four out of the 10 candidates are already on council and are standing for re-election: David Catlow, Mandisa Greene, Neil Smith, Susan Paterson. The remaining six candidates are not currently on council: John C Davies, Karlien Heyman, John Innes, Thomas Lonsdale, Matthew Plumtree and Iain Richards.

Further information on the candidates can be found on the RCVS website: