Select Committee on Agriculture Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from Mrs Ruth Burrow (J6)

  I would be grateful if the following could be brought to the attention of the Agriculture Select Committee as a submission for TB.

  It has been brought to my attention that a leading UK professor in the food industry (Prof Hugh Pennington) is perplexed at the adamant stand taken by government in proceeding with the Krebs trials. A quicker alternative, using modern technology is at their fingertips: namely DNA.

  Through DNA testing of the badgers taken in high risk TB areas (enough are being taken in the trial areas) and also DNA test the TB reactor cows, taken in those identical areas, the DNA strain could easily be identified. That would quickly identify if the same strain was present in both mammals.

  If proven to be the same strain, they would then be in a position to predict how TB would spread geographically by DNA testing badgers and cows in clean areas. The cows could very easily be done, when routine blood testing was done, eg brucellosis testing. As RTA badgers, are again being collected for testing at Veterinary Investigation Centres, the testing of badgers would not mean extra culling to accomplish this. Should the badgers, in this supposedly clean area, be the first to show positive readings to DNA testing, and if that same strain was eventually passed onto the cattle, then the evidence would be conclusive, to illustrate that the TB appeared first in the badgers, followed by the cattle.

  Sounds simple, but I am not a scientist, just a dairy farmer's wife who is sick of watching TB spiral out of control, and all the "science" to prove any link, not utilising DNA, to help answer the many questions that need answering in relation to TB. Something has to be done, and done quickly.

12 September 2000

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