IRELAND – A County Louth cow confirmed as having bovine spongiform encephalopathy last week has been described as showing “neurological signs” as well as reduced health prior to being euthanized.
A World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) report said the 65 month old animal had lost body condition, had a reduced milk yield and displayed “nervousness and hyperexitability” approximately six weeks prior to death.
The animal fell ill twice, once in February and again on 6 June, before the farmer opted to have it euthanized after it showed no recovery.
The Rotbunt cow was born and spent its entire life on the same holding near Tully, Dundalk, County Louth.
All animals that could have consumed the same feed as the positive cow have been identified and slaughtered. The 'cohort' group of 67 animals were identified on the farm born from 2009 to 2011, of which 63 were still alive.
All four of the cow’s progeny have been identified and were slaughtered on 22 June.
The dam and grand-dam were slaughtered as healthy animals in 2006 and 2013, both testing negative for BSE, said the OIE.
For farmers suffering low beef prices, the case must not be used to drive down beef prices.
Speaking after a long awaited increase in beef prices last week, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association President, Patrick Kent, warned processors not to use “an isolated one-off case, as a stick to hammer farmers with”.
He added: "It is likely that the case will have little or no impact on Irish exports, and we don't expect to see any impact on farmgate prices either."