My Department's surveillance programme for BSE is a key cornerstone in the robust controls on BSE and is made up of active and passive surveillance components. The programme is applicable to bovine animals in Republic of Ireland only.
The active surveillance component involves the testing of all fallen (died on farm) cattle over 48 months of age for BSE. This is carried out in a network of knackeries across the country by DAFM veterinary staff from the local regional veterinary offices. In the event of a positive result, the carcass is transported to the Regional Veterinary Laboratory in Athlone for further sampling and samples are sent to the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Backweston for further testing. Progeny and age cohorts of any positive animals are culled as a precaution and tested for BSE.
As all positive BSE carcasses are transported to Athlone RVL for sampling, there is no limit on the distance the carcases can be transported.