Council restores beef to school menus
Government to donate unsold beef to homeless
Mad Seagull Disease strikes
Calf slaughter appalling
Ape colony needed for study
on BSE effects?
MAFF rethink on maternal transmission
Council restores beef to school
by Michael Hornsby, Agriculture Correspondent
The Times ... November 8 1996
Beef returned to the menu for 60,000 schoolchildren
yesterday, in a further sign that public fears over "mad
cow" disease were subsiding.
North Yorkshire County Council voted unanimously, on the recommendation
of its education sub-committee, to lift the ban
on beef in all secondary and most primary schools. Parents were
asked by questionnaire if they wanted it on the menu, a spokesman said.
"In every school where a majority voted in favour, beef is being served
again, but there will always be an alternative." Parents at all 47
secondary schools gave their approval, but at 135 of the 328 primary schools
most voted for the ban to stay.
About 95 per cent of Britain's education authorities removed beef from
menus after the disclosure in March of a probable link between eating BSE-infected
beef and the human brain disease CJD;
75 per cent are thought to retain a ban.
Government to donate unsold beef
by Paul Nuki
Sunday Times ... Sunday 11 November 1996
As Marie Antoinette might have said: let them eat steak. Thousands
of tons of unwanted beef are to be given to Britain's homeless,
writes Paul Nuki.
Douglas Hogg, the agriculture minister, is to approve a government scheme
by which up to 8,000 tons of prime cuts will be
distributed through soup kitchens around the country. Britain
has a growing beef mountain following the BSE crisis.
Charities have agreed to take the beef, which they re gard as a vital source
of winter protein for the homeless, provided they can be assured that it
is from herds which have been given a clean bill of health.
Patrick Henson, head of catering at Waltham Forest YMCA, which looks after
up to 120 homeless people a night, is already writing his Christmas menus.
"I would like nothing better than to serve up a proper beef wellington
but we have quite high standards. We need to be
assured it was not contaminated with BSE," he said.
The charity Crisis, which dished out 35,000 free meals last Christmas,
also welcomed the initiative but warned that the modern poor, while far
from picky, would not eat just anything.
Its FareShare scheme, which provides more than 8,000 meals a week to homeless
people, is supplied with unsold food by Marks & Spencer, which has
created a benchmark in modern food standards.
"If the government is prepared to guarantee that this beef is safe,
then it is not for us to turn it down. We would accept what we could make
use of," said Karen Bradford, FareShare's project manager.
The scheme will be run by the Intervention Board, a government agency more
accustomed to dealing with the processed food industry and pet food manufacturers
than the homeless.
Since the announcement in March of a possible link between BSE
in cattle and CJD, a brain
disease in humans, beef stocks have increased sixfold to more than 33,000
tons following a worldwide ban on exports.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said it is confident that
the meat will be well received. "All the beef is absolutely safe.
It is all less than 30 months old and free of offal. It
is exactly the same beef as everyone else in Britain is eating,"
said a spokesman.
Mad Seagull Disease strikes
London Evening Standard ... Friday 8 November 1996
A disease which causes symptoms similar
to BSE in cattle has left hundreds
of seagulls dead or dying on French beaches this week.
Environmentalists in the Calais area are convinced the birds diet is causing
a disease in the nervous system. The stricken birds lurch along, trying
to fly before plunging back to the beach. They are unable to feed themselves
and sit in the sand waiting to die. We believe the cause is a polluted
food source says a rescuer.
From the Director of Compassion in World Farming
The Times ... Tuesday 12 November 1996
Hidden in the midst of Mr Douglas Hogg's new EU package of "support"
for cattle farmers is an appalling development the extension of slaughter
subsidies to beef-breed calves (News in brief, October 31).
Since April the UK has slaughtered well over a quarter of a million male
dairy-breed calves the ones that would have been exported to continental
veal farms. Now this scheme could double the numbers.
There is an inherent obscenity in mass slaughter of the newly-born. At
the practical level, Compassion in World Farming fears many calves may
receive scant care whilst still on the farm they are, after all condemned
animals. Already we hear of calves bought in the West Country being taken
to the North East, and even Scotland, for slaughter horrendous journeys
for these vulnerable creatures.
What with the growing queue of cull cattle and the increasing level of
calf slaughter, it looks like a winter where welfare provisions for these
animals will be abandoned in the desperate attempt to fill our incinerators
and land-fills, supply our petfood manufacturers and maggot farms and tempt
the carnivorously inclined back to the beef-fold.
Yours sincerely, JOYCE D'SILVA,
Compassion in World Farming,
5A Charles Street,
Apes needed for study on BSE effects
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Daily Telegraph ... Tuesday 12 November 1996
Colonies of apes should be established to investigate the threat
that bovine spongiform encephalopathy
poses to the human population, according to a Government research strategy.
The plan, launched by the Department of Health yesterday, identifies targets
such as discovering the fundamental nature of the agent that causes BSE,
CJD and similar diseases, and how it
is transmitted, by a programme of research that includes the use of animals.
"The work will make an urgently needed contribution to the protection
of public health," said Prof John Swales, the department's director
The Government has spent more than £50 million on research into transmissible
spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), the family of diseases to which CJD
and BSE belong, in the last five years. The report stresses that there
is an "urgent need" for the development of animal facilities
and "careful consideration" should be given to large-scale ape
studies for up to a decade, even though the European Union plans similar
"I hope that Britain would wish to participate in such a study,"
said Prof Lesek Borysiewicz, the chairman of a Department of Health/Medical
Research Council TSE advisory group. He said that the number of primates
required for the experiment is sufficiently large that the work would have
to be co-ordinated across the EU.
The strategy has been difficult to develop because the science is evolving
and experiments take a long time, said Prof Swales.
Rethink on BSE study
News in Brief
The Times ... Tues 12 November 1996
Government scientists may have been wrong
when they decided that cows infected with BSE could pass the
disease to unborn calves. Danny Matthews, a veterinary adviser at the Agriculture
Ministry, said that the study results announced in August were open to
other interpretations, which included the possibility of no maternal transmission