Is Czech Republic doing enough to counter BSE menace?
One of the issues affecting the whole of Europe is of course BSE, or mad cow disease, and its human form, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakobs Disease, otherwise known as vCJD. Following the emergence of new cases of BSE in countries previously thought to be safe from the disease, the Czech authorities have come under increasing pressure to reassure the public that Czech beef is safe. The Czech Veterinary Inspectorate has sought to calm public fears on several occasions in the last few weeks, announcing that meat and bone meal--which scientists believe transmits the killer disease--has never been fed to Czech cattle. The Czech Republic has banned all beef and beef-product imports from all EU countries which have reported cases of BSE, and last week Prague said it would be increasing the number of tests on cattle by 10-fold, testing a total of 2,000 animals who show signs of suffering from a nervous disorder. So far there have been no cases of either BSE or new variant CJD reported in the Czech Republic, but are the authorities doing enough? Well on Friday the EU's Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection David Byrne visited Prague for talks with Czech Health Minister Bohumil Fiser. Rob Cameron asked Mr Byrne whether the planned measures were adequate: