Readers’ letters - September 30

The cull of cattle was worth it if it saved people from getting CJD, says one letter writer
The cull of cattle was worth it if it saved people from getting CJD, says one letter writer

Horror of CJD illness

I read your article about CJD (WEP, September 25) and had to write as my husband died of this horrific disease.

He first became ill in July 2009 with symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s, but every day he got distinctly worse.

It was the most distressing thing for my family and I to witness – soon he could not remember how to get home.

He was in and out of hospital so many times for investigations, but no one could diagnose exactly what was going on. Eventually, he became so bad he had to be admitted to hospital.

To cut a very long, harrowing story short, when he died in March 2010, he could not walk or talk or do anything for himself – he was as vulnerable as a newborn baby and he weighed about five stones.

I insisted on a post-mortem, which proved to be inconclusive, and I was contacted by the coroners’ office for permission to send his brain to the CJD research centre in Scotland.

After a couple of weeks, we had the result – it was variant CJD. He was just 62.

So, if the slaughter of all the cattle saves someone getting this savage disease, it will be worth it.

Name and address supplied

Free range healthy meat

October 1 marks an important day in the countryside calendar– the start of the game shooting season proper. From first light this morning until February 1, groups of “guns” will be out at the thousands of shoots across the county, hoping to bag themselves pheasant, as well as other game that is already in season.

In Britain, we should be rightly proud of our shooting sports as we have something that is truly special. Game management and conservation have helped shape and enhance our landscapes for generations, and that management is now involved in some two thirds of the rural land mass of the UK. Within that area, nearly two million hectares are actively managed for conservation, with the equivalent of 16,000 full time jobs spent on that conservation each year. Two million hectares represents 12 per cent of the UK’s rural land, which is more than 10 times the total area of all national and local nature reserves.

As a result, wildlife thrives where land is properly managed for shooting – a sport that is worth £2bn to the UK economy and involves more than a million people. The contribution that it makes to the rural economy is enormous, and it is frequently in places where other sources of income are few and far between.

There are also real health benefits to eating game. Venison is high in protein, low in saturated fatty acids and contains higher levels of iron than any other red meat, and pheasant and partridge also contain a high level of iron, protein and vitamin B(6). The fact it is also a wild, free-range alternative to farmed meat, just adds to its attraction, and its popularity just keeps increasing.

So whether you enjoy crisp, winter days out in the field, with your dog and friends, or if you want to once again enjoy fresh free-range game at its best, be thankful that the shooting season is here again.

Adrian Blackmore, director of shooting

Countryside Alliance

Pyjama time

I’d like to tell your readers about an important children’s charity event which I am supporting this October.

Humphrey’s Pyjama Week, in aid of The Children’s Trust, is an annual fundraiser from October 5 to 9, for everyone, including nurseries and primary schools, to get involved in. Youngsters will be encouraged to spend the day in their favourite pyjamas or onesie and make a voluntary donation of £2 to help children with brain injury. So, why not spread the word to your children’s teachers? Money raised will benefit children who receive rehabilitation at The Children’s Trust, the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury.

Register at www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/humphrey.

Sid Sloane,

Children’s television presenter and star of ‘Let’s Play’, on behalf of The Children’s Trust