France Stops Killing Whole
Herds Due To One Mad Cow

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Thursday officially abandoned its long-standing policy of automatically slaughtering entire cattle herds in which one animal is found to have mad cow disease.
The decision, which had been widely expected, follows an opinion issued in January by French food safety agency AFSSA that said cattle born after January 1, 2002 could be considered as safe as cattle coming from uninfected herds.
"From now on, when a case of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is confirmed in a herd, only the cattle born before January 1, 2002, as well as the direct descendants of the affected animal will be eliminated," the French farm, health and consumers ministries said in a joint statement.
The ministries also said that in herds where the brain-wasting illness is detected, cows with calves could be kept alive until the calves were weaned.
More than 100 people in Britain, France and Ireland have died or are believed to be dying from the human form of mad cow disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which is thought to be caused by eating BSE-contaminated meat products.
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