Hogg offers to double beef slaughter

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Douglas Hogg, the Agriculture Minister, yesterday offered to double the Government's slaughter programme in a bid to persuade other European countries to begin lifting the ban on British beef.

He will formally propose at Monday's meeting of European Union agriculture ministers a plan for the selective slaughter of an estimated 80,000 cattle, instead of the proposal to cull 42,000 rejected by Britain's European partners at the end of April.

An outline of the plan, which appears to be a significant concession to the objections of other governments, was communicated to Brussels yesterday. Mr Hogg had promised to trace and destroy all cattle related to cases where BSE had been diagnosed. Yesterday he promised to continue the process for all new cases of BSE diagnosed in future.