HORIZON: MAD COW DISEASE
Investigates so-called 'mad cow disease' and asks how much is really known about BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). First reports of a mysterious brain disease threatening Britain's cows appeared in 1987. Three years later, a Siamese cat died of BSE, the first reported instance of the disease's transfer to another species. Accurate diagnosis of the disease and the true risk to humans were still unknown when the programme was made. The programme makers also uncovered at least three loopholes in the precautions being taken at the time by the British government. Participnts include: the Chief Veterinary Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, neurologist Dr. Helen Grant, Dr. Richard Kimberlin (a world authority on scrapie, the sheep equivalent of BSE), and the veterinary epidemiologist who first identified meat-and-bone-meal as the source of transmission from sheep to cattle. Also interviewed is Dr. Robert Will, the neurologist responsible for monitoring every case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human disease with similarities to BSE.
An investigation into BSE disease in cattle and its recent alarming transference to other species.