Letter: BSE is rife in dairy herds so why don't we worry about milk?

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: My company has marketed around 13,000 fat steers and heifers since the outbreak of BSE and we have not had a single case of BSE. I understand that the occurrence of BSE in cattle slaughtered under two and a half years old is extremely low.

Around 160,000 cases of BSE have been confirmed and very nearly all of these are in dairy cows which had been fed meat and bonemeal concentrate during the 1980s.

The cattle we fatten are, and always have been, fed pure feed, ie, grass, silage, maize, barley and minerals, as are very nearly all beef cattle in the UK. These cattle are marketed as "clean cattle" because they have not been used for breeding and I have not heard of anyone having had a "clean animal" go down with BSE. The vast majority of these animals would be slaughtered under two and a half years of age.

It seems rather harsh to throw these cattle into the barrel with old dairy cows and say "there is an unquantifiable risk in eating beef" because the Government or scientists cannot give a zero risk statement on the safety of beef.

When I inspected my cattle this evening they, as always, looked a picture of healthy thriving animals and I cannot help but wonder what "bungling" has gone on by scientists, government, media, whoever?

If the disease comes from feeding meat and bonemeal to the cattle and meat and bonemeal have been banned for seven years, how can "clean" cattle, slaughtered when they are two and a half years old, (born four and a half years after the ban) be infected with BSE?

John Smith


The writer is using a pseudonym.