On Wednesday the 20th of March, the UK government finally admited that eating beef can kill you. They conceded that the most likely explaination for a new strain of CJD^ (an incurable brain disease that kills humans) is that the infective agent present in BSE* (an incurable brain disease that kills cows) infected cattle had been passed into the human food chain and eaten by humans.
Of course the evidence has suggested this for years but protecting the meat, diary and farming industry has until now, apparently been more important to the UK government than informing the public of the possible risks.
Despite the admission that BSE and CJD are almost certainly linked, the government is STILL claiming that British beef is 'safe' to eat because of regulations introduced in 1989. These regulations were supposed to ensure that all cattle diagnosed as having BSE would been destroyed and specified bovine offal's, thought to contain the infective agent, would be removed and not passed into the human food chain.
Reassurances have not prevented millions from stopping eating beef, or over ten thousand schools from taking beef off the school menu. On Monday 25th March the European Union voted to ban the export of British beef to anywhere in the world (although it can still be sold in Britian itself).
Perhaps one of the reasons that many people are ignoring the government's reassurances is that the government's own figures show that for every one infected cow discovered and removed before reaching the slaughter house, at least two more infected cows get passed as safe and do enter the food chain, this has been confirmed by independent studies.
Some scientists have also begun to say that the infective agent is not limited to the specified bovine offal's but is found throughout the carcass and maybe even in cows' milk.
It is clear that whatever the government choose to tell the public or what reassurances they try to give, British beef is NOT safe to eat.
Pressure from the McLibel Support Campaign helped to force McDonald's to announce a ban on british beef within the UK on Saturday 23rd. Wimpy and Burger King were forced to follow suit by Monday. They will all be using imported beef for the time being.
Yet the whole 'BSE / Mad cow' scare can be considered pointless since whether or not BSE is a serious threat to human health, it is clear that eating meat is already killing hundreds of thousands of people each year, with heart disease and cancer. Saturated fat, cholesterol, dioxins, hormones, etc. are the real killers.
For more information about meat and ill health in general, see the Vegetarian Pages on http://www/veg.org/veg/ and also see the ARRS on http://envirolink.org/arrs/