LETTER: BSE: slaughter infected herds, not old cattle

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am not reassured by the government policy to exclude the meat of older cattle from the food chain. As a consumer, what I understand of the current state of knowledge is:

1) There may be a link between BSE and CJD.

2) BSE may be passable from one generation to another and may therefore be latent in young cattle.

3) BSE may be present throughout the meat of infected cattle through the nervous system.

4) There are a large number of herds which have never been affected by BSE.

What would reassure me is a policy of selective slaughter of infected herds and promotion of healthy ones. I spoke recently to a farmer on the island of Coll, who said that he buys his cattle from Ireland, where this selective culling policy has been in force. I would be happy to eat his cattle but at present have no means of distinguishing it from other beef on the market.

Susan Carstairs

Arisaig, Inverness-shire