Mark Purdie's observations on environmental factors affecting scrapie are most interesting.

I have kept sheep now for 12 years. The original flock came from a farmer who now scrapie genotypes his flock and who previously had not ever observed a case of scapie on his farm. However, we have added to our flock from several untested sources over the years and have Cluns, Texels, Suffolks, Lleyns, and Mules - and every combination in between! Many of our sheep are over 8 years old - indeed all my rams are kept for life. I feel confident that we have not had any sheep showing signs of scrapie in our time here.

In our village there are farmers and stockmen who have also worked on our land (prior to our ownership) and in the surrounding area. They freely brought in sheep of various breeds from both within and outside the locality but have never seen any signs of scrapie. The eldest of these stockmen has had a working life spanning more than 50 years.

Have we been lucky? Or does this support Mark's theory?

I have e-mailed the National Scrapie Group asking for a breakdown of the scrapie cases in 2000/01 as to genotype, but as yet have not received any reply. The NSP does seem to me to be a most unscientific way of proceeding. By all means examine the genotypes of sheep kept on every farm where cases are found and replace those with less susceptible stock. Surely, you study the conditions that predispose to scrapie on those farms before you spend enormous sums of public funds on eliminating so-called susceptible sheep from the thousands of farms where scrapie has never been seen?

Is there out there any scrapie expert that has the courage to explain on this website exactly why any of my stock should be culled for a disease they do NOT have?

Best wishes,

Janet Thain