Letter: BSE animal experiments

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The Independent Online
Letter: BSE animal experiments

I AM writing as a person who contributed towards the research by Dr Steven Watley presented at the BSE inquiry last week, to pose a few questions about the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food's research into BSE.

Dr Watley's research has given support to the hypothesis that BSE may be triggered by organophosphate exposure. Will Maff be starting their investigations with totally clean animals? Will they, for example, have taken into account the inevitable exposure to pesticide residues present in conventional cattle rations? Have they considered using certified organic cattle for their investigations? Will control animals remain as pure controls, or will they be subjected to vaccination, de-worming and the host of other invasive procedures carried out routinely in intensive agro-farming?

An obvious observation is that the "experiment" has already been performed on UK farms over the past decade. Perhaps Maff would be better employed in performing an exhaustive epidemiological study, comparing every aspect of the farming practices of BSE-affected versus BSE-free herds. Please note the use of the word "affected" rather than "infected"; the latter assumption is at best only a working hypothesis and nowhere near proven. A toxicological explanation for BSE is not only possible but, in my opinion, probable.