India most secure against Mad Cow disease

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New Delhi, June 7 (ANI): India has been recognized as the most secure status for the deadly mad cow disease.

The recognition came at the World Organization for Animal Health during its 78th General Session held in Paris recently. It recognized India as having 'negligible risk' for mad cow disease, known technically as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

This category represents the most secure status of a country with reference to BSE.

"The recognition is based on a comprehensive evaluation of dossiers submitted by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries of the Union Government by an international group of eminent scientists constituted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)," a Ministry of Agriculture release stated on Monday.

Some other countries, who had applied for similar recognition, were not found fit for similar status.

The latest recognition has been hailed by India's livestock sector and, in particular, by the country's meat industry, which exports about 50,000 Metric Tonne of bovine meat to over 60 countries annually, earning valuable foreign exchange of nearly Rs.5,000 crores.

BSE or mad cow disease is a fatal disease of the nervous system of cattle. It has acquired the 'mad cow' name as one of its common symptoms is aggressive behaviour in the affected animals.

BSE was first diagnosed in cattle in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1986. The disease then occurred in Europe, Asia, the Middle East (Israel) and North America.

There is currently no treatment or vaccine for the disease. The spread of this disease in cattle is caused by feeding rendered material from infected cattle or sheep back to other cattle.

The infectious protein is resistant to commercial inactivation procedures such as heat, which means that it may not be completely destroyed in the rendering process.

The World Organization for Animal Health is the international inter-governmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide.

It was established through an international agreement signed in 1924. It is recognized as a reference organization by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Today it has a total of 176 member countries and territories.

Around 600 participants, representing OIE members and intergovernmental (FAO, WHO, World Bank, WTO, etc.), regional and national organizations took part in the latest General Session.

High ranking authorities and numerous Ministers of OIE Members participated in the deliberations. (ANI)

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