Boiled brains and BSE for Easter

April 16, 2001 Universal News Services

Greens advise PM: if you burn these cattle, you MUST minimise the risk of spreading BSE through the smoke

PR Newswire, London, April 16. This press release is transmitted on behalf of The Green Party

"Burning 100 cows can release between 6 and 30 lethal doses of BSE through smoke," says Green medical advisor

On Easter Monday a Green Party medical advisor will urge the Prime Minister to accept technical advice on burning cattle, in order to reduce the risk of spreading BSE and vCJD (the human form of mad cow disease).

Dr Richard Lawson, a West Country general practitioner and writer on public health, who is also the Green Party's foot-and-mouth campaign coordinator, explains: "When the cattle are burned in these foot-and-mouth pyres, their brains literally boil. This results in a spurting of potentially BSE-infected matter up into the plume of smoke. BSE agent is extremely heat-resistant, so there is a significant risk of spreading deadly diseases from these pyres."

The Greens have been arguing for vaccination rather than the mass slaughter of healthy animals, and for a revolution in farming and animal welfare in order to minimise the spread of foot-and-mouth in future. But they are now turning their attention to ways minimising the dangers posed by the government faulty crisis-management.

Dr Lawson continued: "The government shouldn't have created this disposal problem in any case. But since it has, we're urging Tony Blair to order that the cattle must be burned in the least dangerous way.

"This means constructing the pyre so that the cows' skulls are facing into the pyre, not upwards or outwards, so that the boiling brains are less likely to spurt potentially deadly material into the air to spread with the smoke."

Dr Lawson has described some of the government's advice on BSE in pyres smoke "scientific balderdash."

The Green Party has made other recommendations including protective gear for slaughterers and fire tenders, evacuation of children and young people from areas where the smoke is appreciable as a mist in the air, an end to the mass slaughter policy, and an emergency vaccination programme.


Contact: Dr Richard Lawson, 01934 835140 or email or Spencer Fitz-Gibbon, Green Party press office, 0161 225 4863 or email


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