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Monday, 2 October, 2000, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
BSE crisis sparks father's anger
Cows in field
Cows had to be slaughtered at the height of the crisis
The father of an Aberdeen woman who is thought to have the human form of mad cow disease has expressed anger at the handling of the BSE crisis.

Billy McIntyre's daughter Donna is in hospital where she is slowly losing her speech and mobility.

A family friend told BBC Scotland that at Easter the 21-year-old was like "any normal young woman", but by July she had begun to exhibit symptoms of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (vCJD)

Mr McIntyre is said to be "devastated and angry" and blames the last Conservative government for it "ineptitude and total arrogance" in claiming British beef was safe.

Report completed

He spoke out on Monday as government ministers received the results of the long-awaited official inquiry into BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

It is thought to contain strong criticism of former Tory ministers and civil servants in charge at the time of the crisis.

The 16-volume report, which has taken two years to compile and is based on evidence of more than 1,000 people, is the widest and most definitive report into BSE ever undertaken.

laboratory testing on cow's brain tissue
Tests were carried out on brain tissue from infected cattle
When it is published in three weeks' time, it is expected to explain how the disease started and why it then spread from cattle to humans.

The report will point to unnecessary secrecy and rivalry among government departments in the previous Conservative administration, which meant the health risks were not published for months and, in some cases, years after they were known.

CJD is a similar degenerative brain condition to BSE in cows and is thought to be transmitted to humans by eating infected beef.

Memory loss

Mr McIntyre is away on business, but a family friend said he was bewildered as to why former ministers did not act quicker when they knew as long ago as 1986 that there was a problem.

She said Donna now needed to be helped to the toilet, and her short term memory was poor. However, she still responds to visits from her father.

The friend said that Donna had received a recorded message of support from her favourite singer Gary Barlow, formerly of boy band Take That.

But she added that Donna had showed little reaction when the recording was played to her at the weekend.

The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee, the official body monitoring the progress of the disease, said in July there were 69 known victims of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (vCJD) in the UK.

The disease can only be identified with absolute certainty after death.

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See also:

18 Jul 00 | Health
Rise in number of CJD victims
15 Jul 00 | Health
CJD scientists probe abattoirs
14 Jul 00 | Health
Warning over rising CJD cases
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