15 October 1999
‘BSE started in 1970’

DID BSE start in the West Country in 1970? This is one of the questions asked yesterday at the BSE inquiry in London.

Professor Roger Brown, giving evidence by video link from New Zealand, suggested this may be the case, reports Radio 4s Farming Today programme.

If so, this would be 10 years earlier than previously thought.

Prof Morris has produced a report, not yet published, arguing that BSE may have had its origins in a single cow in Dorset or another south-west county 30 years ago.

He is reported as suggesting that rendered remains of infected cattle fed back to other cattle gave rise to such a build up of the BSE agent that it sparked off the epidemic.