20 October 1999
BSE boffins probe abattoir link

SCIENTISTS are investigating a possible weakness in Britains slaughterhouses which could lead to cattle becoming contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The team from Bristol University Veterinary School is looking into the possibility that the captive bolts used to kill cows can discharge brain material into the animals bloodstream.

In the magazine Veterinary Record they report that samples of brain material were found in the jugular vein of four out of 15 cattle slaughtered with a captive bolt.

The scientists say there is a “potential risk” in such a method.