THE TABLOID press has launched a frenzy of French bashing after the French government refused to lift its ban on British beef. Tory politicians and papers such as the Daily Mail have led the pack. Now others are joining in. The Mirror has launched a ‘Say Non To French Golden Delicious’ campaign. The Scottish Daily Record ran a page article on how France has always ‘betrayed’ Scotland.
Yet, as we show below, the French government is right to be worried about the safety of British beef. There are still 150 new cases of BSE occurring in Britain each month. That’s why Socialist Worker says, ‘Stuff their anti-French boycott!’
MOST MAJOR countries in the world refuse to accept British beef. Some 54 countries still explicitly ban all British beef. Germany and the US have not lifted their bans.
Some 30 local education authorities around Britain still will not serve British beef to our children ‘on medical advice’. Just 22 countries still accept British beef. These include such major powers as the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
NEW LABOUR backs Tory and right wing press claims that British beef is now safe. This is not true. Britain accounts for 99.36 percent of all known BSE cases. That huge percentage amounts to a total of 178,690 cases. France has had 70 cases in all. This year alone there have been 2,461 reported cases of suspected BSE in Britain. Last year there were 3,178 confirmed cases.
We are told that the ban on using ground up dead animal parts in cattle feed stopped BSE. Yet 96 percent of cases this year are in cattle that were born after the feed ban came in. Even the government’s own public health director in Scotland, David Carter, issued a warning earlier this year. Carter said that, despite all the measures the government has taken, ‘BSE cases are not falling as rapidly as we expected.’
MANY in the anti-French campaign have a nerve lecturing about food safety. They are headed by the people who made Britain the European centre of poison food, with BSE, E coli and salmonella. The Tories and their press backers encouraged the deregulation of business and the worship of profit which lay behind these food scandals.
The same Tories and beef barons supported feeding cattle with ground up dead animal parts in a cost cutting drive that caused the BSE crisis. BSE infected beef is believed by most scientists to be the cause of the killer human disease known as ‘new variant CJD’. Already at least 43 people have died in Britain from the disease.
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