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AMES, la. If changes in the
ozone layer surrounding the earth
should increase ultraviolet
radiation, more cases of cancer
eye in susceptible cattle and more
severe of the disease
could be expected.
Research here at the National
Animal Disease Center supporting
this conclusion also strengthens
the belief of scientists that ex
posure of such cattle to ultraviolet
beta radiation may induce the
disease, also known as bovine
ocular squamous carcinoma or
A team of Science and Education
produced anatomic changes and
lesions typical of early cancer eye
in susceptible cattle by exposing
the cattle to controlled doses of
ultraviolet-beta radiation from sun
The researchers also suggest an
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Scientists link cattle cancer eye to solar activity
association between solar activity
and numbers of cattle condemned
because of cancer eye at USDA
inspected slaughter plants bet
ween 1950 and 1976.
Cancer eye has been reported in
almost every breed of cattle, but
most frequently in Herefords.
Within the Hereford breed, cattle
lacking any pigment around and in
the eye a genetically controlled
trait —are most susceptible.
Herefords lacking pigment
around the eyes, from a line with a
history of cancer eye, were used
in the study by veterinary medical
officers Kenneth E. Kopecky,
George W. Pugh, Jr., David E.
Hughes, and Norman F. Cheville,
and statistician Gordon D. Booth.
For 22 months, first for 7 minutes
daily and then for periods
gradually increasing to 180
minutes daily, the cattle were
stanchioned facing ultraviolet-beta
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radiation from FS-40 lamps.
During the total exposure of 1,500
hours, the lamps were filtered to
absorb wavelengths below 285
nanometers, so that the radiation
resembled natural ultraviolet-beta
Three of the four animals ex
posed to ultraviolet radiation
developed lesions typical of early
stages of cancer eye. The fourth
animal had deep-set eyes under a
prominent crest, which apparently
protected its eyes. The scientists
ruled out pinkeye and cytopathic
herpesvirus infection as probable
causes of damage to the animals’
A 1950-76 survey of con
demnations for cancer eye by
J. A. SWOPE
Box 121, RDI
Rt. 2, Newville, PA
federal meat inspectors also shows
indirect evidence linking cattle
exposure to ultraviolet-beta
radiation with development of this
disease, according to Kopecky.
Taking into account die annual
increase in number of cattle
slaughtered, the researchers found
that the-percentage of annual
condemnations for cancer eye
doubled over the 16-year period.
Greater awareness of the disease
by inspectors of what is now
USDA’s Food Quality and Safety
Service may have been a factor in
this increase. But Kopecky
believes the incidence of the
disease also rose.
The researchers plotted annual
condemnations, adjusted for
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Uncaster Feinting, Saturday, My IS, 1951— 07
numbers slaughtered, on a graph.
Then they plotted solar activity
shifting solar activity forward 5
years on the graph to account for
apparent delay in development of
cancer eye after exposure. Annual
cancer eye condemnations and
annual solar activity both peaked
on the graph near the same times
. about 1960-62 and again about
The Environmental Protection
Agency partially funded this study.
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