The European Commission has confirmed that two sheep – one from Portugal, the other from Salamanca – that were thought to be infected with BSE, or ‘mad cow disease’, are in fact infected with a rare type of ‘scrapie’, a disease that can’t be transmitted to humans.
The Veterinary and Medical Society claim they are ‘baffled’ by the test results. “The Portuguese sheep was home bred, had no contact with other animals and lived off pasture. So how did it contract the illness? We need more tests,” said Cardoso Resende. But the National Medical and Public Health Society is delighted with the test results. “This shows that our animal control technique is a success in our country. If we detected the illness before it became an epidemic, something must be right,” said Mário Durval, president of the association.
Meanwhile, Deolinda Loureiro, the owner of one of the scrapie-infected sheep, says she is outraged. “I sold one of my sheep to a man who says that he was visited by some doctors and they killed all of his sheep. All of my sheep were killed and now I’m left with nothing. I don’t know if they are even going to pay me,” she explained.