Contingency plan in place

Published: Sunday 30 June 2002

On death row? The fear of an epidemic is sweeping Israel with the first case of mad cow disease having been reported in the country. The disease was found in a cow in a farming settlement in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. However, to allay apprehensions, officials contended that no infected meat had reached the market. An emergency plan is being implemented to examine all cattle over the age of 30 months that are transported to the abattoir before entering the market. Besides, the internal organs of slaughtered cattle over the age of one year would be destroyed.

The Israeli agriculture ministry said three cows of the same age group of the infected animal and two of its offspring, now in quarantine, would be culled. A brain biopsy performed on the 10-year-old cow by the World Organisation for Animal Health in Switzerland showed bovine spongiform encephalopathy (bse), commonly known as mad cow disease.

According to experts, the cow which caught the disease was probably infected by poultry fish meal imported from Europe. The Israeli agriculture ministry is evaluating the risk of the disease spreading throughout the country, especially in the meat market.

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