New research has virtually eliminated the possibility that BSE can be passed through cattle via maternal transmission. Lead researcher Professor John Wilesmith, head of epidemiology at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, revealed that he is convinced that the only way for cattle to acquire the disease is through eating contaminated meat and bone meal (MBM). Around 13 cows have been born with BSE since August 1996; the date when all use of animal feedstuffs containing MBM was banned.