Kicking up a stink

I noted with serious misgivings, in your issue of 20 July, a proposal from The Institute of Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University that 'extracts of garlic compound' should be fed to cattle in an effort to reduce methane emissions.

While I'm confident that extended feed trials will confirm the validity of my concern, I trust that the following incident will, at the very least, serve as a cautionary tale.

Some years ago, while managing director of FMC, I visited our wholesaling operation at Doncaster. Accepting the manager's invitation to inspect his box (fridge) I stepped through the sliding door to be assailed by a stench that would have stopped a mad dog at 12 yards. An expletive-charged query as to... "What is it?" met with the response, "Over here!", where a partially quartered beef side was virtually pulsating with pungency. The manager explained that "the farmer had been fee-ding it on garlic bread waste from

the baker's".

Moving outside, I enquired what happened to the other half? To be told, "We persuaded the farmer to buy it back!" I promptly suggested that he should strenuously seek to sell him the second side at a substantial discount, after which we toured the rest of his business. He was a very good manager, but when I telephoned next day to ask whether he'd had any success in shifting the offensive half carcase, he could only report that the farmer's refusal to do further business had been accompanied by an anxious appeal from his wife that we should buy back the bits they'd got left! I believe that, after trading the top bit to a dog breeder, he buried the rest at landfill.

Without wishing to stifle similar scientific research I can confirm that slightly less repulsive results can be achieved by the excessive feeding of onions or fishmeal.