Dáil Éireann - Volume 473 - 22 January, 1997

Written Answers. - Meat and Bone Meal Feeding.

559. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the cases and amounts of BSE compensation paid where he has deducted money for any irregularity including the feeding of meat and bone meal by county; the total amounts paid out; the amounts deducted; the reason for the deduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1654/97]

561. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the number of cases investigated by his Department into the feeding of meat and bone meal to animals after the 1990 ban; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1656/97]

562. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the number of prosecutions initiated by his Department in each year since 1990 in view of the feeding of meat and bone meal to animals after the 1990 ban; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1657/97]

563. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the number of convictions secured on the grounds of feeding meat and bone meal to animals after the 1990 ban; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1658/97]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): I propose to take Questions Nos. 559, 561, 562 and 563 together.

The epidemiological study carried out in each case of BSE involves, inter alia, investigations of the feed system used in the herd. As the average age of the onset of clinical symptoms is five years, the historical information available in regard to feed used in calfhood is not regarded as being entirely reliable. No prosecutions in relation to a breach of the ban on feeding of meat and bonemeal have been initiated. Legal difficulties could [1303] arise in sustaining such a prosecution. In the case the Chief State Solicitor has sought a direction from the Attorney General as to whether a prosecution should be initiated. Furthermore in one case in County Cavan a deduction of £9,000 on the market value of the herd was made due to the failure of the herdowner to take reasonable precautions to protect against the disease; the sum paid in compensation in the case was £81,000.