Letter to The Independent  Dr Jim Hutchison.MD.,FRCP(G).,FRCPath.
(Formerly Director, Public Health Laboratory,Birmingham)


It is surely perverse economy to destroy the greater part of our livestock, in the Canutish attempt to eradicate a disease, to  which humans are resistant, and from which most animals recover, howbeit with some weeks of uneconomic recuperation.

If we allowed the disease to become endemic (and there are plenty that are), the natural selective history of many (most) infectious diseases, is that the progeny of the survivors is statistically more resistant than the rest of the herd from which it was derived. In the long run this benefits later generations of the population. Future outbreaks of the present sort are certain to take place, if only because we cannot prevent bird flocks and wild animals from spreading contagion across borders, for thousands of miles.

The present policy ensures that we keep 'Virgin populations' of animals which, never having met met the disease, are the more susceptible to it. It is high time to have a radical, sensible and economically viable change of that policy.

Dr Jim Hutchison,
(38A Chantry Rd, Moseley , B13 8DJ )