LETTERS: Science holds key to veal debate

Share
From Professor N. Kurti, FRS Sir: Emily Green's and William Waldegrave's thoughtful and constructive contributions to the "veal debate" (3 January) should be read in contribution with Tom Wilkie's excellent article (10 January) based on a conversation with Professor Chris Polge, of Cambridge, one of the foremost experts in this field. It seems that, by the method outlined below, a dairy herd can be maintained without reducing milk yield or producing calves not suitable for beef.

1. For maximum milk production, a cow must calve every year.

2. On average, dairy cows must be replaced every four years, hence one quarter of the calves born must be, say, Holstein females, while the remaining three quarters should be, say, Aberdeen Angus.

3. It is now possible to separate sperm into its "male-producing" (XY) and "female-producing" (ZX) chromosome components. But the yield is too low for use in artificial insemination.

4. The answer is "in vitro" fertilisation: Holstein embryos and Aberdeen Angus embryos in a proportion of one to three to be implanted into the dairy cows.

5. The success rate at present is only about 30 per cent, but if this could be increased to 70 per cent, the method would become viable.

A couple of years ago Mr. Waldegrave, as Lord President of the Council, in charge of scientific research, offered a bottle of champagne to the author of a brief A4 explanation of the nature and the importance of the "Higgs Boson", the search for which was one of the justifications for the expenditure on the Cern particle accelerator. Now, as Secretary of State for Agriculture, he might offer a similar award to the author of a concise and convincing statement about the possibility and the cost of an early solution of the "veal crisis".

Yours faithfully, N. KURTI Department of Engineering Science University of Oxford Oxford 17 January

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

Special Needs Teaching Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Special Educational Needs Teach...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Actor Brad Pitt  

The over-50s have the real voting and spending power — so why are we so obsessed with youth?

Stefano Hatfield
 

Daily catch-up: unbuilt buildings, the new Establishment and polling on Europe

John Rentoul
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London