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Animal diseases and public health: a better control system for TSE

In a debate during the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg this week, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) welcomed the European Commission's proposals laying down rules for the prevention and control of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (T...

In a debate during the European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg this week, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) welcomed the European Commission's proposals laying down rules for the prevention and control of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The Commission's proposal seeks to create a uniform legal basis for controlling and preventing TSEs of any kind in animals and in animal products - particularly BSE and scrapie. However, MEPs are tabling amendments to the proposal, which will be voted on in Council and the European Parliament through the co-decision procedure. MEPs suggested a number of amendments during the debate, including improvements to consumer protection and to ensuring the European Parliament's involvement in all fundamental decisions on the prevention of TSEs. Other amendments would introduce the option of systematically using rapid diagnostic tests for improved detection of TSEs. Some MEPs called for entire herds to be removed from the food chain if necessary as a strategy for controlling BSE, although British MEPs were broadly against this policy and argued that there is no scientific evidence to kill whole herds and that good animals should not be slaughtered. Others called for the 'geographical area' concept to be clearly defined at EU level and not left to Member States' discretion, and for further strengthening of requirements to keep the Commission informed of any suspicion or detection of TSEs.