Letter: BSE crisis: blame the supermarket chains, not the farmers

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Sir: Will ministers now encourage informed debate on the risks to human and animal health of BSE by a demonstration of open government? In particular, will all government departments now publish all the advice they have received from the scientific community relating to (a) the policy decision in 1980 that changed the procedures for rendering animal products for feedstuffs and (b) policy decisions following the discovery of BSE in UK cattle and of an apparently new form of CJD in humans.

There can be no justification for not making these documents available. They will not only inform the public of the risks of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies to human health but also increase confidence that no decisions have been made for reasons of political expediency.

Professor Michael Ashburner, FRS

Professor of Biology, Cambridge University