28 March 2000
Farmer seeks funding for BSE theory

By FWi staff

ORGANIC farmer Mark Purdey is due to meet MAFF officials in a bid to secure funding for research into his controversial theory about the cause of BSE.

Mr Purdey believes that the disease results from a chemical imbalance in cattle and not, as is widely accepted, meat and bonemeal fed to livestock.

He claims that phosmet, an organophosphate used to treat warble fly, creates a copper deficiency, which is compounded by an excess of manganese to cause BSE.

Mr Purdey has been pushing for funding for 15 years. He has grown increasingly angry at MAFFs refusal to acknowledge to acknowledge his theory.

The ministry has so far spent 76.4 million on around 200 BSE projects. Mr Purdey will attempt to secure funding for his project on Wednesday (29 March).

The Somerset farmer hopes the weight of research behind his hypothesis will finally convince the government he has a worthy case for a share of future money.

Last December, he met food safety minister Baroness Hayman and Tory MP Tom King to discuss his work.

His theory is backed up by research into BSE and CJD, its human equivalent, in Canada, Iceland and Slovakia.

Research from Cambridge University shows manganese can turn normal proteins into the “rogue” prion protein widely identified as the cause of BSE.

His theory has major political implications as it raises serious question marks over the link between BSE in cattle and CJD in humans.