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Ecology and Life
The puppy room easing life's pain in a stroke
Gentle wobblings of a 'foul gull' fulmar
Frigatebird returns to nest on Ascension for first time since Darwin
New to Nature No 94: Canthigaster criobe
Uggie: 'He likes to fly first class'
It's a dog's life in China: sold for £1m or stolen and sold as meat
Malibu residents hire crew to remove rotting whale carcass from beach
Yellowstone's popular alpha female wolf shot dead by hunters outside park
What I miss most in the dead time of winter is the insects
BSE testing on cattle slaughtered for food 'no longer necessary'
Malaysia seizes 1,500 elephant tusks headed for China
The vibrant river was a welcome relief after the bleak, snow-covered fields
TV Review: Miniature Britain; Weight Loss Ward; Rome
Marine conservation group says UK lacks ambition to preserve seas
UK seas to gain 31 marine conservation zones
Live animal exports going via previously unknown routes
When a dozing otter steals the show
Newly discovered slow loris species already threatened
What the male bowerbird can teach us about home furnishings
Could this really be the fearsome, legendary Girt Dog reincarnate?
Overfishing is a solvable environmental challenge for the EU
Life comes cheap for winter wrens
Ash trees consumed by something of the night
Foie gras taken off menu in House of Lords
  BSE testing on cattle slaughtered for food 'no longer necessary'
BSE testing on carcasses of healthy cattle slaughtered for food should end, the Food Standards Agency has advised ministers.

The agency board says the regime is no longer necessary as other safeguards including the removal of the most risky parts of animals from food and banning animal protein in cattle feed should be sufficient to protect consumers.

Testing will also continue on animals that die for reasons other than for human food. The recommendation marks the end of an era, 26 years after the first BSE case was found in Sussex in 1986 and 16 years after the first linked cases of variant CJD in humans were identified.

Huge numbers of cattle were slaughtered because they could not be sold for food. Only animals under 30 months old could be eaten by people in the UK from 1996 until a testing regime allowing for food from older cattle was introduced in 2005. The upper age limit before testing has gradually been raised since and now is necessary only on cattle over six years old.

So far this year, only two confirmed cases of BSE have been reported in the UK. This compares with over 37,000 in 1992. The decision follows the European commission's proposal to allow some member states, including the UK, to decide to stop testing these cattle.

Jeff Rooker, who chairs the agency, said: "The FSA is here to protect the public and, with no new BSE cases in cattle slaughtered for their meat for more than three years, we believe the decision to stop this particular testing requirement is a proportionate measure. However, this is not a green light for the industry to cut corners, so it is imperative the other controls, including the other surveillance measures, are maintained vigilantly."

He added that if ministers agreed to stop testing in January, the FSA would produce a report after six months detailing the results of BSE monitoring and the enforcement of other controls to ensure confidence in the continued effectiveness of the anti-BSE measures. Further reports would be published annually.

In all, 176 people in the UK are thought to have died from vCJD. No one thought to have contracted the disease is still alive.
New to Nature No 96: Oncopodura fadriquei
Animal rights activists plan direct action against beagle imports
How the stink of a waterbuck could prevent sleeping sickness in Kenya
Tatler's dog, Alan, dies in bizarre revolving door accident
Insecticide 'unacceptable' danger to bees, report finds
Freedom Foods 'failing to crack down' on poor salmon farming standards
One in 10 Welsh livestock farmers illegally kill badgers, study suggests
Crab study puts pain on the menu
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New to nature No 97: Ferrisia uzinuri
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An owl swoops down on wings that seem as broad as they are long
Animals: are they good for supper or good companions?
Is human branding an animal-rights stunt too far?
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Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour'
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Solomon Islands villagers kill 900 dolphins in conservation dispute
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Guyana pledges to protect jaguars
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New to Nature No 98: Xerophytacolus claviverpus
Animal astronauts: the unsung heroes of space exploration
Pygmy elephants found dead in Borneo after 'poisoning'
A badger's biscuit-sized footprints in the snow follow the field edge
British moths in calamitous decline, major new study reveals
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The lake is muted under the winter sun, like a faint watercolour painting
Should the RSPCA have pursued the man who ate a live goldfish?
Days of heavy rain have left the ancient woodland sodden
Alice Roberts: Rudolph and our early ancestors a love story
Saving the rhino with surveillance drones
Hunting with dogs ban unlikely to get free vote admit top Tories
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A perfect winter's day for a walk
Meet the woman battling Japan's whaling fleet in Antarctic ocean
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HBO sued by animal rights worker over abuse of horses on Luck
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Cats killed in cattery fire
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