LETTER : BSE: who will care for the thousands of victims?

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Sir: Nature seems to have a way of telling us when we have pushed the boundaries too far. "Mad cow disease" comes after 200 years of applying to the production of beef our determination to have everything we want, and as much of it as we can cram into our mouths.

Beef eaters happily ignore the ecological consequences of cattle herding - the devastation of huge areas of land, the contribution to ground water pollution and the ruination of many less "fortunate" peoples' rural economy. They ignore the fact that beef production is the most resource-hungry way of providing protein, taking up millions of acres which could be used for growing foods more easily transported and stored.

They ignore the cumulative effects of taking in hormones and antibiotics through farming policies based on greed for profit rather than need.

Margaret Nelson

Ely, Cambridgeshire