BSE crisis in 1990s caused havoc in industry
Published 12/06/2015 | 02:30
It has taken the farming industry 16 long and costly years to get beef back on the menus in the US.
It is hard to quantify the exact cost of the BSE crisis in the 1990s, with economists reckoning in the early days that it could cost the Irish economy over a billion in then Irish punts. That figure now seems conservative, as at that point they could hardly have forecast that almost two decades later the ripples would still be felt.
At the time it caused havoc through the farming industry, with prices for cows taking a severe knock, some slaughtering plants closing and people turning off beef.
The first confirmed case in cattle in the UK was recorded in 1986. But Britain's BSE crisis went on to become Ireland's beef crisis. Three years later, it was first discovered in Ireland.
Ireland began culling herds, with 152 herds including over 22,400 animals killed at a cost to the State of €23.8m by 1996.
Experts agreed that it was most likely spread by cattle eating feed that contained contaminated meat and bone meal, and a ban on meat and bone meal was introduced.
Then a further blow was dealt with beef consumption sliding further with the suggestion in 1996 that a link between BSE and vCJD, which was impacting people, could not be ruled out.
Ireland again moved to significantly strengthen its rules in 1996.