Letter: Stifling the real debate on BSE

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The Independent Online
Sir: On BSE and CJD the Government began by hiding behind an inappropriate use of science and now puts up an anti-European smokescreen. But why are the media colluding?

The main political issues surely are the alleged failure of (reduced) state regulation to protect public health, the best means of limiting risk and damage, whether and how beef producers (unlike others) should be compensated, and so on. Where is the debate on these issues? Does a petty nationalism somehow reduce government responsibility for the nation's well-being? Do commercial interests prevail, with our present rulers, over the health of citizens?

The European Commission appears to be trying to protect other EU producers and consumers while helping to compensate the UK industry. If there were some fatal disease plausibly linked to food supplied from, say, Hampshire, would we not expect the British government to act exactly in this manner on behalf of the remainder of the country?

Peter Robb

London N1