Letter: Publish the scientific facts on beef

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The Independent Online
Publish the scientific facts on beef

Sir: The Government asserts that its actions over beef are in accordance with the scientific facts ("John Major does a Margaret Thatcher", 22 May). So far they have been remarkably successful in concealing these facts from the rest of us and from our Continental colleagues. What is so clearly missing is a comprehensive written statement of what is known; and - just as important when considering policy - of what remains obscure.

Where these facts are known they need to be easily available to the public, and updated regularly, so that the public can draw its own conclusions about the uncertainties.

The blame for allowing this essentially technical matter to become violently political does not lie at Europe's door; it is our own failure to deal with BSE over the past decade. Import bans imposed half a dozen years ago by the USA, Canada and New Zealand should have provided sufficient warning. If we are to proceed more rationally we first need a comprehensive Green Paper. Preparing it might be a useful education for Ministers and their officials.

TERRY PRICE

Jordans, Buckinghamshire

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