BIV is found in cow test

BLOOD tests on cows belonging to a Cheshire dairy farmer have confirmed that an Aids- like virus could be responsible for an outbreak of inexplicable illnesses in the herd.

Scientists from the Government's Institute for Animal Health in Berkshire have reported that between 85 and 98 per cent of the cattle are positive for antibodies to bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV), a relative of the human Aids virus.

However, the researchers need to carry out two further tests over the coming months to make sure the animals are really positive for BIV, which would be the first time the virus has been confirmed in Britain.

Tim Blything, the dairy farmer, said the results show that the virus is infectious and he wants the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to quarantine the herd and pay compensation.

Ministry officials, however, said there was no evidence that BIV could be passed easily between livestock, and experience in the US suggests it is not dangerous to either cattle or humans, and that drinking milk from BIV-infected cattle is harmless.

The Milk Marketing Board, has nevertheless written to Mr Blything saying it will not collect milk from his farm because of its concern 'that the general public's image of milk should not be tarnished' and it felt 'a duty . . . to prevent a public scare'.

Mr Blything's wife, Linda, said the results of the blood tests showed that animals born on the farm and kept separate from cows imported from the Netherlands and Germany remained free of BIV. Others that mixed with the imported cows were positive, which showed that the virus appeared to be highly infectious, contrary to the Ministry's assertions, she said.

Joe Brownlie, the BIV specialist at the Institute for Animal Health, said he could not comment in detail on the results.

'There seems to be a growing awareness of an association between a high level of BIV antibodies and general ill- health in cattle in certain herds. The overall feeling is that there is a high level of antibodies to BIV in this herd.'

Keith Meldrum, the Government's chief veterinary officer, said he had approved further research into the herd to find out the precise relationship between BIV and the illnesses seen in the cattle.

Every animal in the 100- strong herd has developed some form of sickness. Many of the symptoms, such as muscle- wasting, ulcers, skin lesions and respiratory difficulties, are similar to human Aids.

Mr and Mrs Blything first noticed the problems last year after the imported cattle arrived on the farm.

They called in government vets last autumn, but it was only in February - after an article in the Independent on Sunday - that their predicament came to light.

Mr Blything's family has been farming for five generations and he can find no apparent reason why his livestock should suffer such severe debilitating illnesses that the animals cannot seem to recover.

Officials at the Ministry of Agriculture said that animals with BIV make a full clinical recovery, but Mr Blything has witnessed the death of many of his prize animals.

He now faces financial ruin because of the Milk Marketing Board's decision to stop paying for milk from next month.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star