To the editor:
This is a reply to the article on Dugway by Jim Keetch, division chief of test conduct, on June 7.For him to state that Dugway testing could have been partly responsible for the death of the sheep is totally incorrect. He stated that the sheep were affected but not the shepherds. The herders were in the camp wagon when the agent drifted over Cedar Mountain during a March snowstorm.
The camp horses were blanketed and were fed baled hay, which was stored in a covered commissary wagon. They did not forage on native grasses and were tied up when not in use. Sheep get their water from snow when it is available. They were in the hills eating browse and snow and were ingesting the agent from both sources.
To further prove the theory, I obtained four sheep from a herd 40 miles from the two affected herds at White Rock and the Skull Valley Indian Reservation. I painted them so they could easily be identified and put them in the affected area. Four days later, we recovered three of the sheep and they had the same symptoms.
They were turned over to the various investigating agencies. Jack rabbits were similarly affected. You could pick them up with no trouble. They also were turned over to the agencies.
At the suggestion of Gen. William Stone, I moved the reservation herd eight miles south to an area that was unaffected. There were 1,100 sheep that did not die and were taken to the spring lambing ground near Evanston, Wyo. The ewes gave birth to normal lambs. The Army periodically inspected and bled the sheep during the summer. The Army insisted the sheep be destroyed that fall. (They were.)
I watched Dr. D.A. Osguthorpe, who was representing the Utah State Agricultural Department, inject several sheep with atropine. The results were remarkable in their recovery. Still, the Army would not concede that it was responsible for the sheep's symptoms and ultimate deaths.
To the best of my knowledge there was no pesticide spraying in the valley for grasshoppers at that time. Certainly not in the vicinity of White Rock and the Indian reservation.
At the time of the incident, I was general manager of the livestock operation and was involved in all aspects of the investigation.