More attention has been drawn to cattle aged over 30 months by EU agriculture ministers' suggestion of a scheme to test all these animals for BSE when they are slaughtered. This would be a huge undertaking, involving millions of beasts annually, and will not be started unless Brussels experts are sure it can be technically and economically viable. Yet compulsory testing would still be less draconian than the UK policy of banning nearly all cattle aged over 30 months from the food chain. The UK has a concessionary programme, the Beef Assurance Scheme, allowing some closely monitored cattle to be killed for the beef market at up to 42 months, but according to the MLC it involves "a relatively small number of herds, and very small volume". {{MEAT }}