British Association for the Advancement of Science
BA president Sir William Stewart warned this week that the failure to curb the foot-and-mouth outbreak has highlighted Britain's vulnerability if ever faced with biological warfare.
He told the festival: "It is a timely reminder we must not forget about microbiology. Implications of its effect and how it is used go far beyond the farm gate and the countryside."
Malcolm Ferguson-Smith, of Cambridge University, said the BSE inquiry was in danger of becoming a £26 million "doorstop" because ministers have refused to heed its message.
Professor Ferguson-Smith, an expert in pathology, assisted Lord Phillips in putting together the BSE inquiry report, which ran to 3,200 pages and cost £26 million.