Commenting on this proposal, David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: "The scientific advice provided to the Commission confirms the need for the ban which has been in place for the past decade and which is fully supported by the Member States and the public. Animal health and welfare will both be better protected as a result". Mr Byrne rejected allegations of protectionism. "Imports of milk and meat products are unaffected by the ban. The EU has simply given a higher priority to animal health than to lower cost milk production."Risks.Prior to submitting the proposal to the Council, the European Commission consulted the two scientific committees which had submitted their proposals in Mach 1999 - namely, the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (1), and the Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health (2). For its part, the SCAWAH reported that the use of BST increases the incidence of foot and leg disorders and that it can affect adversely reproduction as well as induce severe reactions at the injection site.The Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures relating to Public Health (SCVPH) acknowledged in its Opinion of March 16, 1999 that significant gaps exist in scientific knowledge on the possible effects of the use of BST on public health and asked for further studies. The Commission is aware that there remains scientific uncertainty concerning human health implications and its intention is to pursue these matters through further scientific studies and research and if, necessary, by requesting at the appropriate time a new opinion from one of its Scientific Committees.Protecting livestock.Council Directive 98/58/EC concerning the welfare of animals kept for farming purposes states that no other substance with the exception of those given for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes shall be administered to an animal unless it has been demonstrated by scientific studies of animal welfare or established experience that the effect of the substance is not detrimental to the health or welfare of the animal. BST is not used in cattle for therapeutic purposes, but only to boost milk yields. Therefore it results from the opinion of the SCAHAW that BST should not be used in dairy cows.--The European Union had already banned the marketing and the use of BST in dairy cows in 1990 when the Council adopted Decision 90/218/EEC on the marketing and administration of BST. The...

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