Proposals to change current UK legislation on BSE protection measures - bringing it into line with new measures across the European Union - were issued for consultation this week. The proposals involve specified risk material (SRM) which comprises those parts of animals which may carry BSE infectivity. SRM controls have been in force in the UK under national legislation, since November 1989 for cattle and since September 1996 for sheep and goats. The Decision definition goes further than the current national controls in designating vertebral column (including dorsal root ganglia) of cattle aged over 30 months as SRM, vertebral column has never been regarded as SRM in the UK. In order to implement the Commission Decision, adopted in June this year, the UK will have to introduce EU rules from 1st October 2000 for the removal and disposal of SRM from cattle, sheep and goats; ban the use of "pithing", (the maceration of brains to prevent injury to workers from stunned animals) and introduce from 1st April 2001 EU-wide controls on SRM imports from outside the EU.