Reporter 458, 6 November 2000

further information to Reporter 458
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Correspondence - Reporter 315, 5 October 1990

More on BSE, Scientific debate and the media

In the last Reporter of last term we published a letter from the academic staff of the Department of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, which specifically referred to public statements made on the subject of BSE by Professor Richard Lacey, Department of Microbiology. Professor Lacey now replies:

Sir, I first heard of the imminent publication of Dr Pickards and colleagues’ flattering letter on Wednesday 10 July from the Press Association - two days before its publication date. There seems to be some slight confusion in their minds over what might be my area of expertise. I thought my main responsibility was towards diagnosing and preventing infections in man. I was also under the impression that we had begun a substantial research project on BSE, and if my memory is still intact, I believe I was invited to give a research seminar to the dynamic Department of Animal Physiology and Nutrition on BSE on 14 February 1990 at the Department’s request. My colleagues tell me that we experienced a friendly and useful debate during which I apparently presented evidence that BSE might infect man. I think I can just about recall concern by the Department over their own BSE cases (in cows).

If Dr Pickard and colleagues do not like television editorial policy and filming in the House of Commons, I suggest they complain to the appropriate authorities. Meanwhile, I would like an explanation as to how and why the Press Association received their letter days before its publication in the Reporter.

Yours Faithfully
11July 1990

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