Keywords: risk management frameworks, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, Canada, risk estimation, risk assessment, prion diseases, risk perception, psychosocial impacts, public policy, mad cow disease, decision making
Managing the risks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy: a Canadian perspective
This paper reviews the history of the risk management challenges faced by many countries and regions of the world which have had cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) from 1986 to the present. The paper first summarises the nature of prion diseases from a scientific perspective, and then presents an overview of the findings of an extensive set of country case studies, devoting special attention to the Canadian case. It derives from these studies the need to reconstruct the frameworks which have been guiding risk management decision making, using forma schemata based on a step-by-step approach. The paper presents and illustrates a revised format for an integrated risk management framework, including a set of specific and explicit objectives that should guide the use of this framework in practice, and concludes by raising policy issues that are currently outstanding with respect to the management of prion disease risks.