The BSE Inquiry was set up to: establish and review the history of
the emergence and identification of BSE and variant CJD in the
United Kingdom, and of the action taken in response to it up to 20
March 1996; reach conclusions on the adequacy of that response,
taking into account the state of knowledge at the time; and to
report on these matters to the Government. This executive summary
presents the overview of the key findings and conclusions. BSE
developed into an epidemic as a consequence of an intensive farming
practice - the recycling of animal protein in ruminant feed. The
report states that in the years up to March 1996 most of those
responsible for responding to the challenge posed by BSE emerge
with credit. However, there were a number of shortcomings in the
way things were done. The Government took measures to address both
the hazard to animal health and human health, but these were not
always timely nor adequately implemented and enforced. The Inquiry
found that the rigour with which policy measures were implemented
for the protection of human health was affected by the belief of
many prior to early 1996 that BSE was not a potential threat to
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