Government to fund research intoorganic farmers BSE theory?

03 April 1998

Government to fund research into
organic farmers BSE theory?

THE Government is looking at funding research into an organic farmers claims that organophosphate (OP) pesticides led to the BSE epidemic.

Organic farmer Mark Purdey, from Taunton, in Somerset, has spent 10 years convincing the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) to investigate his theory.

Purdey disclosed at the inquiry into the disease in London that MAFF had called for details of research carried out by Dr Stephen Whatley, a neuroscientist at the Institute of Psychiatry, which has shown that OP pesticide Phosmet can affect prion proteins in humans and animals.

If Mr Purdeys theory is correct it means that measures taken to eradicate BSE were pointless and the real causes remain at large in the environment. MAFF confirmed work was being considered for funding.

Mr Purdey said he didnt agree with the Governments hypothesis that BSE was caused by feeding cattle rations containing the remains of sheep contaminated with a similar brain disease called scrapie.

He said this did not explain why more cattle in other parts of the world fed similar food – much of it exported from Britain – had not fallen victim to the disease.

He believed that Phosmet altered the healthy prion proteins in the body and made creatures more susceptible to disease.

Mr Purdey said particularly high doses of phosmet, used on cattle throughout the 1980s to eradicate warble fly in the national herd, was probably the catalyst behind the BSE disease.

  • BSE caused by toxic farm chemicals, inquiry told, FWi, yesterday (2 April) – Click here

  • The Daily Telegraph 03/04/98 page 13
  • The Independent 03/04/98 page 4

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