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Red beef is safe to eat: Letter

Sir: Which is less justifiable, the ritual slaughter of sheep for religious reasons (report, 29 April), the carcasses being eaten, or the slaughter of tens of thousands of cows for commercial reasons, the carcasses being incinerated?

Societies truly compassionate towards animals would not so readily accept the condemnation of sheep slaughter, which at least conforms to deeply held convictions, while accepting the proposed massacre of healthy cows on the basis of commercial pressure but equivocal scientific evidence about health hazards.

A compassionate society would not accept that the only reason for a cow to live is to yield a profit.

Raj Bhopal

Professor of Epidemiology

and Public Health

The Medical School

University of Newcastle

upon Tyne