25 NOVEMBER 1938, Page 19


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR]

SIR,—With regard to Mr. Lawson's letter concerning foot- and-mouth disease, I can substantiate his statement that Dr. Crofton has discovered not only a cure for this scourge but also an easy process of immunisation (without any fear of " carriers ") which would quite soon free the farmers here of the serious losses they incur every year owing to the misguided policy of our Ministry of Agriculture. This Department has been vainly trying to make this discovery for the past sixteen years through its Research Department at a cost of about half a million beasts and over £6,00o,00o partial compensa- tion. Because they continue to fail, this policy of despair, viz., slaughter and burn, continues, and the farmers and the nation have to suffer very serious losses in consequence.

Foot-and-mouth has a mortality no more serious than measles and, like it, is endemic in this country. But though the actual mortality (apart from the woeful activities of the slaughter-and-burn brigade) is slight, the disease causes, when not cut short, great loss of condition and a long time in recovery. The disease is due to a so-called " virus," and Dr. Crofton is the first to cultivate it in a visible state and so to obtain the necessary antigen which both cures and immunises. The subject is of very great and practical interest because exactly the same methods are equally successful in practically all human diseases here as well as several of importance to all stock and poultry owners. I have been privileged to have been closely associated with Dr. Crofton's epoch-making work for several years and am happy, as a bacteriologist of forty years' standing, to support his method and claim.—