Animal surgeons from outer space

Extra-Terrestrial Notes
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The Independent Culture
ANIMALS COME very high up the British agenda. We love our pets, and we are sentimental about cute and cuddly farmyard animals. So it is surprising that we have made so little of a phenomenon involving attacks on our domestic and wild animals by an unknown and apparently insatiable predator.

Cows, horses, sheep, pigs, cats, deer, badgers, foxes and even mice are being systematically butchered in a manner that appears, at first sight, to be ritualistic except that the method of carrying out the mutilation seems to be way ahead of any technology known to man.

The corpses are not the messy gory savaged remains of a natural predator kill. They are neat, clinically tidy, with a total blood loss from the animal yet without any signs of blood loss at the site of the wound or on the ground nearby; further, an astonishing catalogue of surgical procedures has been carried out on them. Internal organs have been removed through small cuts, which appear to have been sealed or cauterised. Sometimes the animal seems to have been sedated, and there is usually no sign of disturbance, not even the animal's own footprints, around the scene.

These strange deaths have been occurring not only in Britain, but all over the world. The only major study of them has been carried out in America, where an Emmy-winning documentary, A Strange Harvest, was broadcast in 1980. It was made by Linda Moulton Howe, a respected journalist, who started her investigations when she heard of a few bizarre animal deaths. She surmised that the mutilations might be part of a secret government research programme, possibly monitoring pollution and contamination caused by radiation leak or accidental poison release. She was expecting to unmask a government cover-up.

Instead, she came to realise that, although the US government was aware of the deaths, it was not responsible for them. She reached the conclusion that the deaths are the work of alien visitors to this planet, who are carrying out medical experiments on animal organs.

How can anyone be sure that these deaths are not the work of vandals or animals? Pathology reports in the US have shown that the incisions in the flesh have been made with high heat, which cooked the haemoglobin at the edge of the wound. The cuts have a hardened edge, not consistent with the type of lasers we use today and besides, if lasers were being used, we would be looking at very sophisticated vandals indeed, able to transport power generators to the scenes of the deaths. As the bodies are often found in remote places, with no signs of disturbance around them, this is unlikely.

The mutilations come in clusters, either with individual cases in the same area over a matter of weeks or, more spectacularly, with several animal corpses being found together. Often these are animals which would never be together in nature such as sheep and foxes.

After a spate of sheep deaths in an area of the north-east coast of England, farmers rigged up infra-red cameras triggered by any movement in a particular field. They were positioned so that sheep moving about in the night would not fire them, but if anything taller than a sheep entered the field the cameras would record it. The following morning, they found another mutilated lamb, with the familiar neat holes in its body, the organs removed. But, when the films were developed, they showed only small white clouds on black backgrounds.

The one common factor with the mutilations is reports from farmers of strange glowing lights hovering in the air over the fields the night before. This suggests an explanation: the "night surgeons" are neither human nor animal, but come from one of the billions of stars in the countless galaxies beyond our Solar System.

Tony Dodd is the author of `Alien Investigator' (Headline, 11 March, pounds 16.99)