German woman, 41, possible nvCJD death
Earlier German death not announced
Germans check British BSE link
BSE: German concerns deepen
Mad cow cull for Germany
Beef aims to put its mark on burgers
Move to restore confidence after BSE
Breeders oppose slaughter of cattle

BSE in Germany: What happened?
Germany to cull cows over BSE case
BSE: Bonn orders cull following first case
New German mad cow case
BSE deaths herald crisis in Germany
German BSE case: account of Roland Heynkes
German farmer batles officialdom
Muddied waters of German BSE
Scrapie in Norway


26 Jan 1997 Douglas Powell of University of Guelph, Canada, posted the following on FSNET

BONN -- A spokeswoman for the health ministry in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein has stated that a 41-year-old woman who was buried on Saturday may have been a victim of nvCJD. She says, "We are taking the case very seriously...the important thing in this case is the age of the woman. We have never had a case of CJD in this state in somebody so young.

Kiel Univ Correspondent:

The woman had this desease, but we are not quite sure in the moment because the family is against an obduction [autopsy?]. I also live in Schleswig-Holstein, about 60 km from the place where the woman lived. On our local broadcasting station I heard that she lived in England for several years.

German Correspondent

The41-year-old woman in Schleswig-Holstein had symptoms compatible with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The age of 41 is the only relatively unusual fact. But there have been much younger patients with classical variants of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease even before the BSE crisis.

We should wait for the results of the autopsy some days before we start wild speculations.

Interesting in this case was the fact that the German authorities didn't know what to do if the family would refuse the post mortem investigation. I ask myself what this means for the results of our surveillance unit.

30 Jan 1997 ... Dr. Herbert Budka

The Institute of Neuropathology in Göttingen where the brain autopsy is presumably examined is experienced enough to diagnose or exclude v-CJD. Moreover, connections between Göttingen, the Edinburgh SU and other labs seem close enough for me to warrant consultation whenever necessary. European neuropathologists have been knit together by EC-funded clinical and neuropathological Concerted Actions on human TSEs. The CA which I am leading distributed Personal Teaching Slide Sets of 2 v-CJD brains to almost 100 neuropathology labs, so that almost every neuropathologist in Europe should become familiar with the features of v-CJD.

Earlier German death not announced

2 Feb 1997 from a German correspondent

The German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag" reports today that a 59-year-old cattle breeder in the county of Ostfriesland adjacent to the Dutch border died of CJD already in September 1995. This was not published at that time because the family doctor and the pathologist had not met the obligatory registration. The victim's son said that the local authorities had not been interested in the case. It was at the instigation of the victim's family that a post mortem was done in Goettingen. The cattle had been sold without check up after the farmer's death.

Germans check British BSE link

Ian Traynor

Guardian ... 28 January 1997

Germany's hardline position on the beef crisis appeared to be becoming an embarrassment yesterday after Croatia became the first country to ban German beef imports and a 41-year-old German woman reportedly died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Amid plummeting consumer confidence, a political row has erupted over whether Germany is really as BSE-free as the government claims .

Bonn ordered the immediate slaughter of more than 5,000 cattle imported from Britain and Switzerland last week after the death from BSE of a Galloway calf in north-west Germany.

Controversy is focused on the mystery origins of the diseased Galloway, on whether it was born in Germany or whether it was imported with fraudulent certification from Britain via the Czech Republic.

Confusion over the beast's origins and the reliability of its identification tagging have highlighted the lax import controls despite government pledges of vigilance. If the dead calf was imported from Britain, the tough talk of foolproof import controls will be seen to be hollow.

If the calf was born in Germany, albeit mothered by a British cow, the government will be pressed to cull at least another 14,000 cattle and forfeit its claims that the country is BSE-free.

If the dead calf was born in Germany, the impact on beef exports could be dramatic. At the height of last year's crisis, German consumption of beef collapsed more heavily than anywhere else in Europe, including Britain. With the domestic market depressed, the Croatian decision puts the export market under threat.

The agriculture minister, Jochen Borchert, who ordered the cull, is to present his ruling today, but he is under attack from farming officials in some of the country's 16 states.

Public unease strengthened with the case of a 41-year-old north German woman who died at the weekend allegedly from CJD. After initial resistance, her family yesterday bowed to official pressure to allow a post-mortem.

Mr Borchert, attacked by regional agriculture officials as protecting the farming lobby's interests at the expense of public health, insists that German beef is safe.

At a gala party of the political elite on Sunday evening for the pre-Lent carnival holiday, the finance minister, Theo Waigel, was made a gift of a hunk of beef.

"German, of course, not from Great Britain", the presenter announced on live television.

But the government's beef crisis policies are descending into what Munich's Suddeutsche Zeitung yesterday described as a fiasco.

BSE: German concerns deepen

By Ralph Atkins in Elbtal and Frederick St. demann in Berlin
Financial Times ... Friday January 24 1997

Norman, an eight-year-old Galloway bull, was last night gently chewing straw on a muddy German field, a picture of peace as his breath showed up as mist in the winter air. His owner, Mr Jurg Garthoff, who farms at Elbtal in Hessen, was anything but calm.

He bought the 33 Galloways, originally from Scotland, last year. Now they face slaughter following Germany's first locally-borne case of mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and the government order to cull the country's remaining 2,600 imported cattle from the UK and 2,600 from Switzerland.

"It is crazy," says Mr Garthoff. His animals are at least eight years old - too old to be likely BSE victims. Any compensation is likely to be far less than the previous value of the animals.

Elsewhere in Germany there are signs of panic about the BSE outbreak. The farmer in H–xter, North Rhine-Westphalia, whose Galloway cow Candy started the scare this week, has been placed under police protection. Candy died last month and BSE was confirmed on Tuesday. Her mother was thought to have come from the UK.

Another farmer, Mr Hans Stucke from northern Germany, is to send seven Welsh Black bulls to be slaughtered. "People cursed us and asked why we had to bring this problem into Germany in the first place," he said. "But then you might ask why people should drive foreign cars and why we do not just close off the borders altogether and head for economic ruin?"

In Elbtal, populated largely by Frankfurt commuters, there is a suspicion that imported Galloways have been singled out for special attention by a jealous agricultural community. They have often been bought by wealthy professionals looking for an easy-to-keep breed and alternative income.

'Mad cow' cull for Germany

News in Brief
Telegraph ... 29 Jan 1997

The Germany Agriculture Ministry gave orders yesterday for the destruction of 5,200 cattle imported from Britain in a move to guard against the spread of "mad cow" disease. The slaughter - the biggest since the BSE scare began - will begin today and farmers will be compensated with payments of £560-£750 per head.

Breeders oppose slaughter of cattle

by Roger Boyes and Michael Hornsby
Times ... January 30 1997

German breeders of Highland cattle yesterday launched a final legal attempt against the Bonn Government to save their cows from the country's biggest livestock slaughter since the "mad cow" epidemic began. As many as 50,000 suspect cattle ‚ cows and their calves may have to be killed.

An emergency decree went into effect yesterday authorising the slaughter of 2,600 cows from Britain and Northern Ireland and the same number from Switzerland. Teams of veterinary surgeons and pathologists are being set up for the cull. The first cows are likely to have died at dawn today.

However, there was disagreement yesterday between Horst Seehofer, the Health Minister, and Jochen Borchert, the Agriculture Minister, over the cull's scale. Herr Borchert emphasised that the brain of a German-born calf had to be examined thoroughly to determine whether it was infected by its British-born mother. If the calf was even suspected of inheriting the disease, then 14,000 first-generation offspring should be added to the cull .

Herr Seehofer was more radical, emphasising that, regardless of genetic tests, "all the descendants of the imported animals must be slaughtered :". That suggested a total cull of about 50,000. "We have demanded similar moves from the British... and we have to be prepared to carry out ourselves what we demand from others."

The present slaughter was prompted by discovery of "mad cow" disease in a Galloway cow, Cindy. It was only the fifth reported case since 1992, but prompted panic in Germany because of the hazy origins of the mother.

In Scotland, George and Rhoda Casson, of Broadlea Farm, Dalbeattie, said that they had been given no proof of claims that their cow, Camelia, exported in 1990, was the mother of Cindy and had transmitted BSE to the offspring.

Mrs Casson said: "Camelia ended up in Holland, where she was slaughtered for meat. She was 100 per cent healthy and did not have BSE... The whole business is very strange."

She added: "It appears the ear tags on Cindy were changed, and we have not been told officially that Cindy was a calf from Camelia. The Germans say the BSE was not caused by feeding infected feed, but how they can know that I am not sure."

Infected meat and bone meal is blamed for most, if not all, of Britain's 165,000 BSE cases.

BSE in Germany

From correspondents

On Saturday 18 January 97 the ministry for environment in Duesseldorf Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany) reported a likely new case of BSE in Germany. The animal died shortly after the first symptomes had been observed in December 1996. It was a Galloway breed calf born in Germany from an imported British cow.

The provisional diagnosis was done histopathologically by the governmental veterinary surveillance unit Detmold and will be confirmed in the German reference laboratory in Tuebingen next week.

In Nordrhein-Westfalen last year meat and bone meal was made from all of the cattle that were known to have been imported from the UK. This meat and bone meal was destroyed in a garbage incineration plant. In contrast to Rheinland-Pfalz, the calves of these cattle weren't included in this action by Nordrhein-Westfalen.

Today the German government said definitively that the Galloway cow that died on 27 December had BSE. Whereas the farmer told me the cow was from 1991, the ministry says it was from 1992. Much more important is the fact that no protein or fat from animals other than from its mother were given to this cow. Therefore this cattle seems to be infected vertically by its mother. It is very interesting that this mother was still alive without any symptoms in1995. In my opinion this is a strong argument against the unproven SEAC conclusions from the Weybridge cohort study.

I was told that the farmer in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Eastern Germany) had not sold his herd in 1995 to a trader but that the herd was sold because the farmer committed suicide. Therefore he can not help us to clarifywhat exactly happened.

We know from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease that people with heterozygosity in their prion protein genes can be at least partially resistant to the disease. Therfore it seems to be possible that a cow can transmit its infection to its homozygote calf, which can than died before the mother. {A good point but there is no known met/val polymorphism in codon 129 in cattle -- webmaster]

We can not verify the identity and the birthplace of this cow. German government officials openly doubt that the BSE-infected calf is German-born. They suggest that there might have been fraud with the eartags. The supposed mother (named Camella and born in 1989 in Scotland) was exported to Germany just before the export ban of March 1990. The animal was kept on a farm in the former DDR. The farmer sold his herd in 1995 to a trader.

According to the German newspaper Die Welt the trader tried to export the herd to Austria, which failed due to insufficient paperwork in which the cattle had to be declared free of leucose [not in Medline]. Ten of the animals were sold to a Westfalian farmer and 42 were exported to the Netherlands in September 1995.

According to the Dutch administrators, the cow was slaughtered in August 1996 after she had given birth to one calf. The cow was inspected at least three times end showed no signs of BSE. The calf has been brought to the Institute for Animal Health in Lelystad where it has been killed for further research.

Camella was one of a group of 42 cows that were imported from Germany to the Netherlands. Except for one all those cows were found. Ten of them are still alive. The 41 cows had seven calves, of them still three alive. All the living animals have been brought to the Institute for Animal Health in Lelystadfor further resarch.

Dutch officials doubt that the Galloway-cow that was recorded as the mother of the BSE-calf is really the mother. They also doubt the possibility of a healthy mother infecting her calf.

Germany decided to kill 2,600 animals of British origin and also 2,600 cows of Swiss origin. Their offspring will be brought under control.

Media reports here today say that yesterday Jochen Borchert, the Agriculture Minister, stated that not only all cattle imported from Britain but also all 7,000 of their offspring have to be killed because "the mother had plainly infected the daughter". The mother was said to have been slaughtered for meat in Holland and no sign of BSE was found. It was also reported, however, that later it was revealed that the ear tag on the BSE cow appeared to have been tampered with.

It was suggested that the dead cow might have been the mother and not the daughter. Apparently the German Government then announced that for the time being only the cows born in Britain would be killed, and that its experts were not convinced that BSE can be transmitted from a cow to its offspring; they were even more sceptical of a healthy cow passing the disease to a calf.

This is totally correct -- they will try to verify the identity of the BSE-cow by genetical comparison with the sperma of the putative father. It was impossible to draw conclusions from the age of the cow, because its skull has been destoyed immediatly after removal of the brain. They made meat and bone meal from the BSE-cow and burned or want to burn this.

Dutch Correspondent 1.27.96

The Dutch veterinary inspection has traced *all* the 42 Galloway cows that came from the same herd as the German BSE-calf Cindy (born 25 july 1992) and were imported to the Netherlands in September 1995.

Ten of the cows were still alive at the farm of the importer; 32 had been killed for meat. The 42 gave birth to ten calves in the Netherlands. One of those ten was a supposed half-sister (born 26 march 1996) of the German BSE-calf Cindy. The DNA of the halfsisters will be compared, because of doubts about the real offspring [parentage?]of Cindy.

29 Jan 1997 update

The Dutch calf that - according to the paperwork [which could be forged] - had the same mother as the BSE-galloway-calf Cindy has *no* BSE. Research at the Institute of Animal Health in Lelystad confirmed that. [It is no necessarily possible to confirm BSE in an infected but asymptomatic calf.] ENTER>

Germany to cull cows over BSE case

By Denis Staunton January 23, 1997 Irish Times

Germany yesterday ordered the slaughter of 5,200 cattle imported from Britain and Switzerland in an effort to restore consumer confidence following the country's first case of BSE in two years. The cull falls short of a proposal made at a crisis meeting in Bonn by the Agriculture Minister, Mr Jochen Borchert, to slaughter 3,000 British-born cattle and their 7,000 offspring.

The move follows the discovery on Tuesday of a case of BSE in a Galloway calf born in Germany of a British cow. Germany stopped importing cattle from Britain in 1990 and placed previously imported cattle under veterinary observation. The import ban was extended to Northern Ireland and Switzerland in March last year.

Scientists greeted the new BSE case as evidence that the disease can be transmitted from cow to calf as well as through infected feed. Dr Thomas Schlicht, a BSE expert at the Federal Institute for Consumer Health Protection in Berlin, warned yesterday that the disease may be transmitted from cow to calf through milk, raising questions about the safety of dairy products.

"We have long believed that cow to calf infection is possible. Now we have been confirmed in this view," he said.

BSE: Bonn orders cull following first case

By Ralph Atkins in Bonn

Financial Times ... Thursday January 23 1997

Germany yesterday reacted swiftly and severely to the country's first case of "mad cow" disease in an apparently locally born cow by ordering the killing of 2,600 animals from the UK and the same number from Switzerland .

The decision to kill all remaining cows imported from the two countries followed an emergency summit of agricultural and health specialists in Bonn. It came amid widespread fears that Germany's BSE-free status had been jeopardised . Television schedules were last night being rearranged to include special programmes on bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which has been linked with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

The latest incident involves a Galloway cow from H–xter, North Rhine Westphalia, which died in December - although BSE was only confirmed on Tuesday. The cow thought to be its mother was imported from the UK. The rest of the herd was slaughtered yesterday.

If it is found that the diseased cow was born in Germany and not imported, the case would offer powerful evidence that BSE can be transmitted from mother to calf - with implications for the control of the disease in other countries.

But federal and state governments stopped short of ordering the slaughter of the 12,000 immediate descendants of cows imported from the UK and the 2,000 descendants of Swiss cows.

Mr Franz-Josef Feiter, state secretary at the federal agriculture ministry, said further investigations were being carried out to confirm that the BSE-infected cow had indeed been born in Germany. A possible mix-up over markings in the cow's ear has created confusion over its identity.

Government officials have all but ruled out the possibility that the cow was the victim of infected local feed.

Mr Feiter said that if maternal transmission was confirmed, there would have to be a pan-European Union look at whether further measures to protect consumers would be required. But there is little doubt that German public opinion would be in favour of the swift killing of all descendants of UK and Swiss cows .

Farmers are expected to be offered between DM1,500 ($943) and DM2,000 compensation for each imported cow which now faces slaughter.

The alleged mother of the diseased cow was slaughtered, without showing symptoms of BSE, in the Netherlands last year and it is possible the flesh was sold in Germany. It had been transported to Germany before 1990, when Germany banned the import from the UK of live cows over six months old. Younger cows, as well as beef, have been prohibited more recently.

Last summer, when the first evidence emerged of possible transmission of BSE from mother to calf, strict controls were applied to descendants of cows imported from the UK. The four previous cases of BSE in Germany have all involved cows imported from the UK .

New German mad cow case

News in Brief

Financial Times ... Wed 22 Jan 97

Germany confirmed its fifth case of "mad cow" disease since 1992, all of them in cattle of British origin . In France a parliamentary commission accused Britain of hiding the full facts about "mad cow" disease and of trying to blackmail its European neighbours in the 10-month-old crisis.

BSE deaths herald crisis in Germany

The Independent 23.1.97 and Dealler's Gossip Section

Germany has ordered the slaughter of all cows imported from Britain and Switzerland, and has imposed tighter restrictions on their offspring, after a crisis meeting of ministers. Following the death last week of the fifth German-born cow [really the first, the other 4 born in UK - Ed] to fall victim to BSE, apparently passed on from its UK born mother

Some 5,200 cows are to be destroyed; another 7,000 calves born in Germany were reprieved although they will not be allowed to be slaughtered for meaty, in a similar pattern to Portugal.

The Times 23.1.97

A similar article but including more information about the mother of the cow. It appears that it was a Galloway bought from a herd in Holland; the mother having no symptoms of BSE. This is not clear currently and talk is going on as to whether really it came directly from the UK.

Die Welt 23.1.97

Now 10,000 cattle are to be slaughtered due to BSE. This followed the German Agriculture Ministry's decision to slaughter all of the cattle born in the UK and Switzerland. On German TV they showed the cattle actually being slaughtered on the farm the cow came from. It also seems that the cow was isolated as having BSE 3 weeks ago and the media are furious that it has only just been released as news.

The German Government does not want to release details of the latest BSE. Exactly the reason is not clear as it was bound to come out. Apparently it was 3 weeks before the information was released to the press.

Farmer is attacked.
The farmer in Germany that admitted he had a case of BSE recently was lambasted by his local peers who demanded that he must have fed it some meat and bone meal. He was determined that he did not and refused to take their taunts. This was all over the TV in Germany and cannot have been good advertising for any other farmer to let out the facts.

The BSE case of Brakel

Posted 22. January 1997, expanded 26. Januar 1997 by German expert Roland Heynkes

Eine Galloway-Kuh lag Anfang Dezember auf der Wiese fest, hatte den Kopf fest in den Nacken gelegt und strampelte hilflos. 1-2 Minuten nachdem der Landwirt dem Tier Vitamin B in den Halsmuskel gespritzt hatte, stand es wieder auf und verhielt sich in den folgenden 3 Wochen scheinbar normal. Die Kuh wurde allerdings schon länger von der Herde abgedrängt und war relativ klein und schwächlich. Am Ende reagierte das Tier übernervös, wenn jemand auf die Weide kam. Es ließ sich auch nicht zur Verabreichung einer weiteren Vitaminspritze einfangen. Das Tier starb am 27.12.97. Der BSE-Verdacht wurde zunächst histopathologisch und am 21.1.97 endgültig immunologisch in der Bundesforschungsanstalt fürViruskrankheiten der Tiere bestätigt.

Seitdem steht der Besitzer des an BSE gestorbenen Tieres unter Polizeischutz, weil er anonyme Morddrohungen erhielt. Selbst vor laufender Kamera wird er von anderen Landwirten verbal angegriffen. Diese sind offensichtlich nicht wegen der Gesundheit der Bevölkerung, sondern allein um ihre eigenen Einkünfte besorgt. Dies läßt die Frage aufkommen, was diese Bauern wohl mit BSE-verdächtigen Tieren auf ihren Höfen täten. Leider haben zahlreiche Skandale gezeigt, daß einigen Landwirten nicht nur die Gesundheit ihrer Tiere, sondern auch das Leben ihrer Kunden völlig egal ist. Kürzlich mußten wir zur Kenntnis nehmen, daß ein Landwirt seine an der Schweinepest gestorbenen Schweine einfach heimlich auf dem eigenen Hof vergraben hatte. Angesichts der Stabilität der Erreger von BSE und Scrapie wäre entsprechendes Verhalten bei BSE-Rindern fatal.

Die Bedrohung eines ehrlichen Landwirtes ist ebenso beunruhigend, wie die wirtschaftliche Vernichtung einer deutschen Tierärztin durch deutsche Behörden. Sie beging den Fehler, die Öffentlichkeit über den verantwortungslosen Umgang ihrer Vorgesetzten mit BSE-verdächtigen Rindern in einem deutschen Schlachthof zu informieren. Auch deutsche Behörden lieben Bürgerinnen mit Zivilcourage nicht und das haben nun alle Tieräzte in unseren Schlachthöfen begriffen.

Am 22.1.97 beschlossen Fachleute aus den verantwortlichen Ministerien des Bundes und der Länder, 5.200 direkt aus Großbritannien und der Schweiz (2600 plus 2600) importierte Rinder töten zu lassen. Sie werden allerdings nicht wie in England üblich direkt verbrannt, sondern zunächst zu Tiermehl verarbeitet. Dabei scheinen die amtlichen Fachleute die Gefahr einer Verseuchung von Tierkörperverwertungsanlagen zu übersehen.

Die Nachkommen der aus Großbritannien importierten Rinder sollen zunächst nicht getötet werden. Ihre Tötung hält man für nicht verantwortbar, solange es noch Zweifel an der Übertragung der Krankheit von der der Mutter auf das nun an BSE gestorbene Tier gibt. Die Kohortenstudie im englischen Weybridge reicht den deutschen Ministern offensichtlich nicht als Beweis für die Übertragbarkeit von BSE von der Kuh auf ihr Kalb.

Glücklicherweise stehen nach amtlichen Beteuerungen die Nachkommen britischer Rinder unter Beobachtung und dürfen seit dem letzten Herbst nicht mehr geschlachtet werden. Allerdings wußten nach Angaben des jetzt von der Seuche heimgesuchten Landwirtes weder er noch sein Kreisveterinäramt davon. Außerdem stellten die Kontrolleure jetzt fest, daß sie weder über die Identität der BSE-Kuh, noch über den Verbleib ihrer Mutter sichere Angaben machen können. Ohrmarken werden nämlich legal und illegal ausgetauscht und lassen Herkunftsnachweise zur Makulatur werden. Auch die Gesetze nach denen ausländische Rinder und ihr Fleisch legal deutsch werden, dienen lediglich der Verbrauchertäuschung. Nicht unter Beobachtung stehen übrigens Rinder aus anderen Ländern mit kaum weniger BSE-Fällen, als sie die Schweiz hatte.

Nach dem bisherigen Kenntnisstand deutscher Behörden wurde die BSE-Kuh von Brakel 1992 auf einem Biobauernhof in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern geboren und erhielt weder Milchaustauscher, noch Futter mit Tiermehl. Ihre Mutter Camella soll nach den vorliegenden Dokumenten 1989 in Schottland geboren und im Februar 1990 an den Biobauernhof in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern verkauft worden sein. Dieses Muttertier soll 3 Käber geboren haben, von denen die jetzt an BSE gestorbene BSE-Kuh das mittlere gewesen sein soll. Nachdem der Besitzer der Herde Selbstmord begangen hatte, soll 1995 die ganze Herde an einen Viehändler verkauft worden sein. Dieser soll wegen fehlender Leukosebescheinigungen vergeblich versucht haben, sie nach Östereich zu verkaufen.

Daraufhin sollen 10 Tiere einschließlich der jetzt verendeten Kuh nach Brakel verkauft worden sein, während ihre Mutter mit den restlichen 41 Tieren nach Holland verkauft worden sein soll. Dort hatte die in den Dokumenten Camella genannte Kuh ein drittes Kalb und wurde nach mindestens 3 Untersuchungen ohne Befund im August 1996 geschlachtet. Das Kalb wurde ebenfalls geschlachtet und soll im Institute for Animal Health in Lelystad untersucht werden. Natürlich ist bei einem so jungen Tier nicht unbedingt mit einer Diagnose zu rechnen.

Von den 42 nach Holland exportierten Tieren wurden 41 gefunden und 10 lebten noch. Diese 41 Kühe hatten in Holland 7 Kälber, von denen 3 noch leben sollen. Alle noch in den Niederlanden lebenden Nachkommen der ursprünglichen Herde wurden in das Institute for Animal Health in Lelystad gebracht. Da frühere Besitzer nicht mehr wegen eines zusätzlichen Loches im Ohr der BSE-Kuh, ihrer Fütterung und dem Schicksal ihrer Mutter befragt werden kann und das Alter des BSE-Tieres nicht ermittelt wurde, werden die Umstände dieses Falles wohl nie restlos aufgeklärt werden.

German farmer fights for cow

By Andrew Gimson in Berlin

Telegraph ... Wednesday 5 February 1997

A German farmer is determined to save the life of Elizabeth II, a Highland cow descended from a royal herd at Balmoral.

Horst Seehofer, the German Health Minister, wants to slaughter all cattle imported from Britain, and also all descendants of those cattle. Elizabeth II would be doomed by this policy. Although she was born in Germany, her mother comes from the royal herd in Scotland.

But her owner, Gunter Nolte, is determined not to allow any of his 60 Highland Cattle, all of whom are of Scottish descent, to be slaughtered and has already started legal action against the German government to protect the three that were born in Scotland.

"I will fight to the highest court in the land to save my Highland Cattle," he said yesterday. "There is absolutely no danger of infection for either man or beast from these animals. They come from completely reputable breeders in Scotland and graze all the year round in my fields rather than eating infected food in sheds."

If his case succeeds, Elizabeth II should be safe to go on living in her meadow near Berlin. Mr Nolte describes her as rather shy - "unlike a lot of my cattle, she doesn't easily let herself be stroked" - but says she has a beautiful blonde coat and has been a good mother to her two calves.

Farmers from four German provinces started legal proceedings against the German government to prevent the slaughter of all the 3,600 cattle in Germany which were born in Britain. But a case brought by a breeder in Lower Saxony has already been lost, and the ruthlessness of the authorities should not be underestimated . In Brandenburg, where Mr Nolte farms, 100 cattle born in Britain have been slaughtered in recent days, and only the 33 cattle, mostly Galloways belonging to breeders who have gone to law, are still alive.

The killing was ordered by the Agriculture Ministry in Bonn as part of its reaction to the news that a Galloway cow called Cindy in Westphalia had been found to have BSE, or mad cow disease - only the fifth case to be confirmed in Germany . Last weekend, as German ministers launched fierce attacks on the European Commission in Brussels for mishandling the BSE problem, it emerged that a cattle farmer from East Friesland, on the North Sea coast, had died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease , the human equivalent of mad cow disease, and that none of the German authorities supposed to monitor such cases had taken the slightest interest. The German press has begun to ask how Bonn can demand immaculate supervision of the beef industry in Britain, when such supervision plainly does not exist in Germany.

ï The BSE crisis cost the Government £855.1 million between April 1 and Dec 31 last year. Angela Browning, junior Agriculture Minister, said in a Commons written reply that £553.3 million had gone to farmers as compensation and £161.8 million had been paid to abattoirs.

Cindy and Rita cover tracks in muddied field of German BSE

from Roger Boyes in Bonn

Times ... February 4 1997

British cows, shunned by Europe because of BSE, are coming out of the cold as farmers deploy tactics normally associated with deep-cover espionage agents.

German agriculture officials yesterday admitted that at least one German Galloway cow had thrown investigators into confusion by switching identities in a technique borrowed from Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal.

"We still do not know the true identity of Cindy," conceded Franz Josef Feiter, the junior Agriculture Minister. "We are hoping to gain some clues from our contacts in the British Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries."

Cindy sent the already depressed German beef market into a spin when the Galloway ‚ apparently German-born ‚ was found to have "mad cow" disease. Domestic beef demand dropped dramatically and several countries stopped all imports of German livestock and beef products ‚ this from a country that has reported only five cases of BSE since 1992 and been particularly stringent in its controls.

Cindy slipped through the net. Or was she really called Rita? The transformation of Rita into Cindy follows sequence by sequence the method used by Forsyth's fictional assassin. He sought out the name of a dead child with approximately the same birth date as himself. A birth certificate was acquired and the agent applied for a passport in the child's name; similar techniques are still used in the espionage world.

The most plausible explanation for Germany's latest mad cow is as follows: a British-born Galloway cow called Camelia gave birth in July 1992 to a still-born male calf . Three years later the identity papers were adjusted to record the dead calf as a living female called Cindy . She was given an appropriate ear tag. Under German rules, there was nothing to stop the sale of Cindy, Camelia's daughter. The cow passed from an east German farm to North Rhine-Westphalia, where she died of BSE last December. However, investigators believe that Cindy may never have existed : she was, in the best tradition of the Cold War thriller, a decoy.

Cindy, according to this version, was in fact Rita , imported from Scotland. This would have been illegal . It would also show that German controls are not all they are cracked up to be. If Cindy is Rita , however, Germany can still claim to be free of domestically bred BSE. Like all good spy stories, there are intricate subplots. "There are three possibilities," said a senior agriculture official. "First, Cindy really is the daughter of Camelia . Or Cindy is Rita and is a direct import from Britain. Or Cindy is the daughter of another unknown mother ."

Last week it was even suspected, in all seriousness, that Cindy was her own mother .

German officials are utterly frustrated. "I cannot possibly position a policeman or a vet behind every cow's bottom ," said Martin Brick, the Agriculture Minister of Mecklenburg region. The Bonn Agriculture Ministry said yesterday it was sticking to its plan to slaughter 5,200 cattle imported from Britain, Northern Ireland and Switzerland, and the future of the next generation of calves would depend on genetic and blood tests on brain samples from the slaughtered cows. The Health Ministry is continuing to press for a radical solution, involving the cull of perhaps 20,000 cattle from two generations of British origin.

It is difficult to see how the Germans can come out well from the Cindy affair. If it turns out that she was German-born, the country's export market will suffer permanent damage. If she is found to be English or Scottish-born, the flawed German control system is likely to cause lasting harm to consumer confidence.

New security measures will include chips implanted in every animal. Germany is also pressing hard for a European passport for cows ‚ although Forsyth fans know passports are far from infallible.

Scrapie in Norway

Ulvund MJ. Department of Sheep and Goat Research
Norwegian Colllege of Vet Med.
Box 264, 4301 Sandnes, Norway.

Presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the European Assn for Animal Production, Lillehammer, Norway, 25-29 August. 1996

Scrapie was very rare, with the first case reported in 1981. There has been a pronounced increase in cases over the past 3 years, with 21 new flocks affected up to 29th August 1996 i.e. it is rising epidemically. The reason for this is unclear. Farms are emptied of sheep, the meat not used, the sheep slaughtered, and farms left empty for 2 years. Certain breeds are particularly affected and an affect has been seen due to the anxiety resulting from BSE in the UK. The rise is not felt to be purely due to BSE anxiety and under-reporting