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 human life.
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