Independent Workers Inquiry into the BSE/CJD crisis
Saturday May 17
Lecture Room 1
East Grove Building
Collegiate Crescent Campus
Sheffield Hallam University
The Inquiry is being convened by the Socialist Equality Party and was called following the previous Tory government's announcement of a "possible link" between BSE in cattle and CJD in humans.
Subsequent events - including the fatal outbreak of E-coli in Scotland - have confirmed the need for such an independent inquiry. Public health is being sacrificed in the drive for profits. This is part of a
broader social policy in which all social needs are completely subordinated to the market economy. Just as social gains and welfare reforms have been abandoned, so standards and safety in the food industry have been jettisoned in any orgy of profit-making through deregulation and privatisation.
The Inquiry will be charged with establishing who is responsible for the BSE/CJD crisis and will enable all the scientific, economic and social issues to be examined.
The Inquiry will take submissions and also cross-examine those presenting such evidence. Among those who have agreed to make presentations to the inquiry are:
* Professor Richard Lacey, noted microbiologist at Leeds University and outspoken critic of the government's handling of the BSE crisis.
* Frances Hall, the mother of Peter Hall, who died on February 8, 1996 at the age of 20 from the new variant of CJD.
* Dr Jean Shaoul, University of Manchester, author of the Public Interest Report "BSE: For Services Rendered? - The drive for profits in the meat industry".
There will also be several other important submissions to the Inquiry, including:
* Barbara Slaughter, International Worker investigative reporter, will be presenting a detailed exposure of the BSE/CJD crisis based on her extensive research and interviews with those from the scientific
community as well as the families of many victims of CJD.
* A water industry professional, will be showing how the privatisation of the water industry has contributed to the serious decline in public health, with particular reference to the dangers from meat rendering plants, such as that proposed for Ashford in Kent which was the subject of a three-week government inquiry.
* Chris Talbot from the Central Committee of the SEP will be bringing out the positions of the three main capitalist parties: New Labour, Tory and Liberal, as well as the stance taken on BSE by various
* Andrew Wilde, a public health laboratory worker, will be presenting evidence on the decline in public health standards.
* Sybille Fuchs, from the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (Social Equality Party), the German section of the Fourth International, will be showing how the BSE crisis has been used in Europe to further
trade-war aims and of the necessity for European workers to unite across all national borders in a common struggle to defend their interests.
The Inquiry will be conducted by a panel of Commissioners:
Barry Mason: Will chair the Inquiry. A Social Services worker, he has long record of opposing the erosion of social service provision by Leeds Council. Barry is a graduate in zoology and biochemistry.
June Freeman: June has earned the respect of workers and young people for defending safety conditions in the workplace. Her 17 year old son Simon died in 1992 because of the effects of the chemical he was
working with. Through her tireless efforts and independent research, EU directives concerning young workers safety have been enacted.
Chris Talbot: A Central Committee member of the Socialist Equality Party, Chris has led many of the party's campaigns. A Doctor of Mathematics and a lecturer at Huddersfield University, he is a regular
contributor to SEP publications in Britain and internationally on many subjects, including science.
Keith Livesey: A catering worker in South Yorkshire, Keith has first-hand experience of the appalling working conditions in the food industry. He has a long record of defending workers' rights and opposing the attacks of management.
Trevor Johnson: A software engineer in London, Trevor is widely read in science and has an honours degree in Mathematical Physics. He has made a personal study of the issues relating to the BSE outbreak and has written several articles on the subject.
John Stanton: A council worker and shop steward in GMB Branch 5, Liverpool. John has a long record of defending both his own members interests and those of all working people. He was previously employed
in the food distribution industry.
Following the proceedings on May 17, the Commissioners will retire to consider the submissions and evidence presented to them before delivering their findings to the press and at a public meeting which will be held in Sheffield approximately six weeks following the Inquiry. The Socialist Equality Party will also be publishing the proceedings of the Inquiry, together with the Commissioners' findings. This material will also be made available on our Web site.
We have published many articles on the BSE/CJD crisis, including interviews with leading scientists such as Richard Lacey and Harash Narang, as well as covering the plight of those families who have been
Our Web site contains an archive of all these articles, as well as much other material.
The Inquiry will be a historic occasion - the first truly independent inquiry to enable working people to examine all aspects of the BSE/CJD crisis.