A new documentary featuring Portsmouth journalist and campaigner Christine Lord was released on 31st March 2019, investigating how BSE-infected material entered the human food chain and its devastating consequences for families across the UK. Sarah Cheverton reports.
Cows, Cash and Cover-ups? is by Partickular Films, is narrated by Eastenders and Outlander actor Ian Reddington, and revists the BSE crisis of the 1980s, interviewing experts, farmers and animal rights campaigners alongside families who have lost loved ones to vCJD.
Filmed in both the US and UK, it investigates how materials infected by the disease entered the human food chain, including an interview with a farmer giving an insider’s view of the malpractices that took place in the UK during the BSE crisis. The film also tells the story of the victims of vCJD, including exclusive interviews with a family talking for the first time about the impact of vCJD on their lives and their experience of being refused medical treatment by the NHS, and interviews with parents and siblings of vCJD victims who have never before told their personal stories.
The documentary’s director Joseph Andrew Mclean told S&C last year, ‘I was motivated to make this film after filming an interview in Scotland with Tommy Goodwin, who lost his son Grant to vCJD in 2009. Tommy started talking about other families across the UK who have lost loved ones to this horrible disease.
‘I realised that my short documentary would soon be expanded into a feature length project, as more and more families agreed to be interviewed. I wanted to give the families an opportunity to tell their story and to reach as wide an audience as possible, in the hope that it reminds people this is a disease has not gone away; it’s not confined to the history books and the families can’t have closure until they know exactly what killed their children.’
Christine Lord, a Portsmouth-based journalist and campaigner, whose son Andy died of vCJD in 2007 aged 24 years old, was part of the film.
In an interview for Star & Crescent in 2015, Christine said, ‘My son was killed at the altar of greed and money.’
Her campaign – Justice 4 Andy – aims to get justice for her son and all victims of vCJD and, she says, ‘is part of a broader fight for safer food and health policies and for full accountability for the victims of vCJD’.