Scrapie link with BSE played down
to protect farm exports
VETS told the BSE inquiry yesterday (Tuesday) that the link between the disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep was initially played down for fear of damaging farm exports.
References to scrapie meant an early report on “mad cow disease” was not authorised for publication by the Central Veterinary Officer in June 1987.
Dr Raymond Bradley, who was head of pathology at the Central Veterinary Laboratory and supervised research into BSE, said if there had been confirmation that BSE was linked to scrapie in sheep, then the same embargoes on sheep would be extended to cattle.
It is widely believed BSE emerged after scrapie-infected sheep were ground up and put into cattle feed.
Dr Raymond Bradley said similarities between BSE and scrapie meant there were grave concerns for the export of live cattle, semen and embryos. Because scrapie had been around for years and had not affected humans, then these export concerns far outweighed any fears as to the effect of the disease on human health, he said.
- Financial Times 10/06/98 page 7
- The Guardian 10/06/98 page 7