Concern grows over transmission of 'mad cow' disease: Can BSE be passed from one generation to another? The case of a cow called Brainstorm has rekindled the debate
The two-and-a-half-year-old animal, called Brainstorm, is the daughter of a pedigree Jersey cow, Birthday, which was confirmed in a post-mortem examination as having contracted BSE. The case therefore raises the possibility that the disease could have been passed by 'maternal transmission' - either at birth or genetically.
Contaminated feed is thought to be the cause of infection in the majority of BSE cases, but government scientists have not been able to rule out maternal transmission as one route of infection. This could alter the Government's predictions over the numbers of infected animals, and the timing of any fall-off in the number of confirmed cases.
In two animals, officials have been unable to identify a link with feed. Both were born after the ban in July 1988 on using ruminant protein in feed for other ruminants.
This latest case will be particularly embarrassing for the ministry because its officials have quarrelled once before with the farmer who owns Brainstorm, Mark Purdey, over his controversial theories on BSE. He believes pesticides against warble fly infestation can weaken the immune response of cattle, making them susceptible to BSE.
Mr Purdey, of Elworthy, Somerset, was unhappy about the ministry's reaction to his attempts to treat another of his cows, Damson, which contracted BSE, with a radical therapy he devised involving oxime - a chemical used to counter the effects of nerve gas.
Brainstorm gave birth to her own calf two weeks ago. The stress of calving, Mr Purdey said, is thought to prompt symptoms of BSE to appear in infected animals. Mr Purdey said yesterday: 'She looks as if she's stoned. She has a spaced out expression . . . that classic glazed BSE look. She often stands with her nose pressed up against the wall. She is reluctant to come into the milking parlour, and will kick suddenly and violently when the milking clusters are on. She sniffs the ground, has tremors under her skin and licks her lips and back more than usual. She has a weird pulse in the carotid artery, which her mother also had.'
Damson and Birthday were in a group of eight cattle Mr Purdey bought from a farm that uses chemical treatments. He farms by strict organic methods and says that Brainstorm, born after the 1988 feed ban, has only eaten feed that he believes contained no animal protein.
A spokeswoman said the agriculture ministry's usual practice was to slaughter suspected BSE cases immediately if they were born before the feed ban. Animals born after the ban are monitored for three weeks before further action. 'MAFF's concern is with trying to confirm whether or not this is BSE through observing clinical symptoms.'
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Chief Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone has contracted the deadly disease himself
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Lana Del Rey: 'I have slept with a lot of guys in the industry'
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned
Chief Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone has contracted the deadly disease himself
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: SOUTH COAST - MARINE / SHIPPING Th...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently looking for a PERMANENT S...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Supply Teachers Would you ...