mad cow disease
A case of mad cow disease has been found on a farm in Wales (cow not pictured) Reuters

A case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as mad cow disease, has been identified in a dead cow at a farm in Wales. The Welsh government said the disease did not enter the food chain and there is no threat to humans. This is only the fourth time BSE has been identified in the UK since 2013.

"Identification of this case demonstrates that the controls we have in place are working well," Rebecca Evans, deputy minister for farming and food, said.

A Welsh government spokesperson added: "Officials are working closely with DEFRA and the APHA to investigate the circumstances of this case."

"Whilst the disease is not directly transmitted from animal to animal, its cohorts, including offspring, have been traced and isolated, and will be destroyed in line with EU requirements.

"In addition to the measures we have in place for fallen stock and animal feed, there is a strict control regime to protect consumers. This includes the removal of 'specified risk material' such as the spinal column, brain and skull from carcasses.

"Identification of this case demonstrates that the controls we have in place are working well. Beef across the UK continues to be produced in compliance with the World Organisation for Animal Health rules."

BSE is fatal to cows and humans are vulnerable to contracting a similar deadly brain disease, Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease(vCJD), by eating meat from infected animals.

BSE was first identified in Britain in 1986, with an outbreak in the early 1990s effecting tens of thousands of cows having to be destroyed.